Etloe House
(St Pelagia's Home)
 180 Church Road, Leyton E10 7DF
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1907 - ? 1970s

Mental handicap
(Roman Catholic females)

In 1905 the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (a splinter group from the original Sisters Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) launched an appeal to raise funds to build a new Home and laundry for 100 destitute women and girls.  The accommodation in St Pelagia's Home in Church Row, Limehouse, had become cramped and inadquate; the only recreational space available was beside the nearby Regent's Canal which was polluted by sewage, affecting the health of both the nuns and the 85 inmates.

Two charitable women responded to the appeal, each advanced £1,000 without interest and thus enabled the Sisters to purchase Etloe House for £2,900, a mansion which had once been the home of Cardinal Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster.

At the end of June 1907 the Convent and the Home moved from Limehouse to Leyton.  Etloe House became the Convent; accommodation for the women and a laundry had been built in the 3-acre grounds.

By 1916 the Home had become a Certified Institution under the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913.  It contained 122 mentally handicapped Roman Catholic women over the age of 16 years, who continued to work in the laundry.

By the 1920s the Home was under contract to receive 25 mentally handicapped women from the LCC.  A sum of 11s 6d (57p) a week was charged  for each inmate towards their maintenance.

In 1948 the Home was disclaimed from the NHS.

It closed in the 1970s.  The Sisters moved to their motherhouse at Chigwell Convent.

Present status (November 2009)

The Grade II listed property was bought by Laing Retirement Homes and completely refurbished in 1983.  It is now part of a sheltered housing scheme.  The apartment block contains 44 apartments for elderly owner-occupiers and is managed by the Sanctuary Housing Association.

In 1983 workmen uncovered a time-capsule which had been buried by the nuns under the foundation stone of their dormitory block.  The bottle contained two handwritten scrolls detailing the foundation of the Order, a list of the names of the Sisters, a crucifix, a rosary, a penny minted in 1906, and a report and accounts of the Order for 1906, the year they had moved to Etloe House.

The items were presented to the Sisters at the official opening of the new development in January 1984.

Etloe House
The frontage on Church Road with a restored plaque commemorating Cardinal Wiseman on the wall to the left of the entrance drive.

Etloe House
Cardinal Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster, lived at the property from 1858 to 1864.

Etloe House
The main entrance.

Etloe House

The House seen from Marsh Lane (above and below).

Etloe House

Etloe House
The House, as seen from the south on Church Road.

Etloe House
Newer housing on Wiseman Road with Etloe House just visible behind.
References (Accessed 25th August 2014)

(Author unstated) 1905 St Pelagia's Home. - Urgent Appeal.  London Monitor and New Era, 22nd September, 8.

(Author unstated) 1907 Limehouse.  London Monitor and New Era, 5th July, 18.

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http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk (3)
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