The Nonington Orphanage.
In the autumn of 1872 the Reverend Frederick Chalmers, then vicar of Beckenham in Kent, was appointed as vicar of Nonington. The Reverend had been running an orphanage at Beckenham for several years a part of which, along with his wife and the children, he literally moved to Nonington with him. The Beckenham orphanage had an iron hut in the garden for the children to play in and this was brought to the vicarage at Nonington, now “Hatchetts” at the top of Oak Hill (Vicarage Lane), where, according to a contemporary letter by Catherine Marsh, it was ” set up in the Vicarage Garden, to the delight of the orphans. It was sufficient for the small number of children now left in it”.
The orphanage appears to have been in a building or buildings attatched to the vicarage as the Reverend Chalmers and his household are listed as living in the vicarage in the 1881 census.
The 1881 census listed the following as living in the orphanage::
Sarah Fagg, Head, 43, Matron
Emma D. W. Evans, boarder, 32, Elementary School Teacher
Emily Phillips orphan, 23, general servant.
Mary A. Garland 13 London, Middlesex, England
Sidney Davies 14 Bromley, Kent, England
Letitia M. Potter 15 Beckenham, Kent, England
Emily Rudd 12 London, Middlesex, England
Annie Dennis 12 London, Middlesex, England
Louisa J. Clayson 10 Nonington, Kent, England
Richard Tapsell 9 Sundridge, Kent, England
Walter O. Scott 13 London, Middlesex, England
Edith C. Fagg, niece, orphan, 9, Yorkshire, Sheffield
Thomas C.H. Bailey 8 Beckenham, Kent, England
The orphanage appears to have closed when the Reverend Chalmers died on 15th July, 1885, during his service at Nonington. He was succeeded by the Reverend Frederick Carus Wilson.
Below are the obituaries of the Reverend Chalmers and two of his sons.