Webb Orphanage was a place I had wanted to visit for many years; Lovely place that is a maze of empty rooms, Security here is incredibly tight there’s a person on site and everything is secure. Its not like my usual place as its in good condition with sympathetic refurbishment and well looked after; its clear that whoever had undertaken this did so with respect for the building !
Best room for me was the snooker room! which had been left so long with the balls in place that the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock shadows had burned into the faded green felt table top!
Webb House was bequeathed in 1912 by Francis William Webb (21 May 1836 – 4 June 1906) who was an English railway engineer, responsible for the design and manufacture of locomotives for the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). Webb was born in Tixall Rectory, near Stafford, the second son of William Webb, Rector of Tixall.
He was very socially aware and despite dying in 1906 his money funded the orphanage which was designed by architect John Barnes, was originally built for childrens who were orphaned due to railway connected deaths. It was built to accomodate 20 girls and 20 boys with the view of increasing that 2 fold.
In the first World war; the front lawn dug up and used as a vegetable garden,the east wing was used as a convalescent home for men that came home wounded, which; i’m assuming would be called rehab and physio centre today! and world war II the same area was again used as an auxiliary hospital which stayed in use as a hospital into the 60’s and was underneath the south cheshire hospital committee .
In 1958 the orphanage had only 2 children as vast improvements to safety for workers on the railways, the building ceased to be an orphanage officially in 1961 march 31st.
As the oprhage was now closed and the committee no longer had the building it was then taken over by the british transport commission as a training centre, from 1998- 2007 the buildings were used as a hospital for patients with personality disorders, IT my understanding that it has stood dormant ever since.
The building was grade II listed in 1989 and in 2004 the Webb orphans fund was wound up and its assets etc passed over to the railway benevolent fund.