BEECHOLME SURVIVORS GROUP
Having assisted this group behind the scenes, I thought I should do a quick blog post with relevant information and links.
The group are making an appeal for anyone with any information on the abuse that occurred at Beecholme Children’s Home in Banstead, Surrey, to come forward and contact them.
Links to contact details are further down this post. Survivors of abuse (physical and sexual) that occurred at Beecholme are coming forward all the time so if you are one of those, you are not alone. The man who runs the group – Graeme – is a lovely guy.
Surrey Police have confirmed that they are presently investigating allegations of abuse at Beecholme between 1954 and 1974.
BEECHOLME CHILDREN’S HOME
Beecholme was situated in Fir Tree Road, Banstead, Surrey. From 1930 it was initially run by the London County Council (LCC) before then being taken over by Wandsworth Council following the abolition of the LCC in 1965 until it closed in 1974. Children were sent to Beecholme from London boroughs.
Beecholme was referred to as a ‘village’, as it was set in large grounds with 24 different houses given different names. So far, four of these homes are being investigated following allegations of abuse, not just by staff, but by older children too.
Police were initially approached in 2013 with allegations of abuse but failed to take a statement. The IPCC have confirmed they are not investigating this failure. However, they are now taking allegations seriously – so much so they have already had four meetings with Wandsworth Council and arrested some former staff in connection with allegations of abuse. (See Further Reading below)
Members of the group have also set up a meeting with Wandsworth Council and are asking as many survivors to come forward as possible – the more information they have, the further it can be researched.
Councils who sent children to Beecholme include:
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
When Beecholme was demolished, records of staff were destroyed and not retained. It has therefore been very difficult to piece together the names of staff. I have, however, managed to obtain as many names as I can, which has been provided to the group. If you stayed at Beecholme – even if you never experienced abuse – but can offer the group further information on the village, please contact them. The smallest piece of information can make the biggest difference.
What has become apparent is that some of the staff who worked at Beecholme went on to Shirley Oaks children’s home run by Lambeth council which was, as we now know, infiltrated by paedophiles. Islington is another council that sent children to Beecholme and who also had a huge issue with paedophiles in their ‘care’ system. The lovely Liz Davies has fought tirelessly for years to expose the networks in Islington.
There were also a few other homes connected to Beecholme. These include:
- Earlsfield House Receiving Home, 1 Swaffield Road, Wandsworth
- Gayfere House Boarding Out Home, Tollers Lane, Coulsdon
- 5 North Drive (1951-1955)
- 94 Oakley Street (1958-)
CONTACT DETAILS – BEECHOLME SURVIVORS
CONTACT DETAILS – SURREY POLICE
- Call 101 and ask to speak to the Complex Abuse Unit
CONTACT DETAILS – SHIRLEY OAKS SURVIVORS ASSOCIATION (SOSA)
CONTACT DETAILS – ISLINGTON SURVIVORS NETWORK
CONTACT DETAILS – CRAIG SIMPSON
Craig Simpson is the journalist at Surrey Mirror who has been writing the articles regarding Beecholme. You can find him on Twitter, here.
The Surrey Mirror are running a number of articles on Beecholme and survivors stories.
- Surrey Mirror, 4/8/2017 – Children allegedly raped and beaten at Beecholme…
- Surrey Mirror, 7/8/2017 – Graham Sergeant’s story.
- Surrey Mirror, 24/8/2017 – James Reeves’ story.
- Surrey Mirror, 6/9/2017 – Arrests in connection with sexual abuse at Surrey home.
- Surrey Mirror, 8/9/2017 – Martin Steward’s story.
- formerchildrenshomes.org.uk – Banstead Cottage Homes
- Cathy Fox Blog – Child abuse at Beecholme
- The UK & Ireland Database – Institutional abuse at Beecholme
- The National Archives – Earlsfield House files
- Banstead History Group – Beecholme