Children’s charity marks 175 years with cathedral service

The Reedham Children’s Trust, a children’s charity based on Purley’s Old Lodge Lane, will celebrate its 175th anniversary next week with a special thanksgiving service at Southwark Cathedral.

Between 1814 and 1854, Reedham’s founder, Dr Rev Andrew Reed, established six children’s charities.

It was Reed who once said, “A good education is a fortune a child can never spend.”

In 1844, the Asylum for Fatherless Children opened, with an orphanage first located in Richmond. But with the number of applicants growing very quickly, the Richmond house was soon outgrown.

After touring the country to raise funds, Reed announced, “At long last we have purchased an estate three miles from Croydon on the trunk line of the Dover and Brighton Railway. It is paid for. We shall put our Asylum on the crown of the hill.”

Andrew Reed founded six children’s charities

And so, after paying the enormous sum for the time of £3,895, Reed’s association with Purley had begun.

The purpose-built orphanage was officially opened in 1858, with a capacity of 300. When Andrew Reed died in 1861, the asylum’s name was changed to Reedham in his honour.

The local railway station, opened in 1911 and it took the Reedham name, as did the village that grew up nearby. The home was closed in 1980 and sold for redevelopment. The proceeds established Reedham Children’s Trust and the oprhanage’s Purley site is now occupied by Beaumont Primary School. The Reedham Trust’s offices are the original gatehouse to the orphanage.

Reedham has enjoyed royal patronage since 1850, and that continues with Queen Elizabeth II as the patron today.

The high point of the anniversary year will be a service at Southwark Cathedral on May 21, led by the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark.

The purpose-build orphanage was opened in 1858, the site sold in 1980

“The historic cathedral will provide a perfect backdrop for this milestone – 175 years of service to vulnerable children and young people,” said Michelle Blythe, from the Reedham Children’s Trust.

“Plus it will be an important opportunity to thank our growing number of supporters including corporate partners, our Reedham Guardians, our Champions, individual fundraisers, volunteers and community organisations who collectively help us to make a huge difference to the young people and families we support.”

The Reedham Children’s Trust continues to attend to the care, education and recreational needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, and to mark the important anniversary it plans to announce an expansion to its services.

For more information about the Reedham Children’s Trust, visit their website here.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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