Ceremony to mark Jewish Orphanage
A special ceremony will remember a Jewish Orphanage that helped hundreds of vulnerable children during the late 19th and early 20th century.
A blue plaque will be unveiled on the wall of the new West Norwood Health & Leisure Centre that sits on the site of the orphanage, which was opened in 1866 and demolished in 1961.
Many former residents of the orphanage will attend the ceremony, organised by the Norwood Old Scholars who have worked tirelessly to keep the memory of the building – and the positive impact of its work – alive.
The Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Saleha Jaffer will also be in attendance and make a short speech.
The former orphanage infants’ house is still standing and forms part of the recently built Julians Primary School.
Local ward councillor and Lambeth Cabinet Member for Families and Young People, Cllr Jane Pickard, said: “The Jewish Orphanage helped young people from all over the country whose families had fallen on hard times.
“They came for shelter, food, care and education – and they were well looked after.
“It is important to ensure that the building will never be forgotten and pay tribute to the great work of the Norwood Old Scholars group and the Norwood charity who not only keep the memory of the building alive, but continue to support many vulnerable people to this day.”
Jack Matthews, Chairman of the Norwood Old Scholars Association, said: “When it opened its doors in 1866, over 200 children were able to call this large purpose built Victorian building home.
“These children soon settled in and were quick to appreciate the improvement: a large outdoor playground, and underground playground, a dining hall able to accommodate all the children and staff, school rooms with individual desks, a library, large dormitories and a synagogue.
“This plaque commemorates the 100 years this site provided food, shelter, recreation and education to thousands of children.”
The West Norwood Health & Leisure Centre will also be hosting an exhibition on the Jewish Orphanage, including old letters and photographs on Sunday 11 September at 12.30pm.