Our heritage
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Our heritage

In 1867, Baptist preacher and writer, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was inspired by his faith to found an orphanage in London, offering vulnerable children care and education.

Today, his work continues through Spurgeons and it is our aim to transform the nation, one child at a time by ensuring every family has the support needed to flourish.

On this page you can learn more about our history and the legacy of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  

  • A child wearing a crown and smiling at the camera during a coronation picnic at preschool in Kent.
  • A child wearing a union jack dress and smiling at a buttons nursery coronation picnic.
  • Children with instructors ahead of a canoeing activity.
James Fegan button image - father with daughter

In 2021, Spurgeons acquired Fegans

Explore the heritage of Fegans, and learn about James Fegan, the organisation's founder.

Charles Spurgeon: biography

Who was Charles Spurgeon? 


Spurgeons Charity was founded in 1867 as a children’s orphanage for “fatherless boys” by leading Baptist preacher and writer Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his associates. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was England’s best-known Baptist preacher.  


Spurgeon’s converted at the age of 15, when he was forced to seek out shelter in a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester due to a snowstorm. The preacher spoke to him directly and this experience had a lasting influence on his work and his direction in life and he began preaching at Teversham, before accepting his first pastorate, at the Baptist Chapel in Waterbeach, one year later. 


At the age of 19 Spurgeon became pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church. As well as preaching, Spurgeon was passionate about helping and supporting disadvantaged children in London. As a prominent Christian, Spurgeon’s response to the Bible’s teaching was to supply orphaned and vulnerable children with shelter, education and therefore creating hope of a better future.  


Spurgeon established the charity as a compassionate and distinctively Christian response to the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children in London. Motivated by their faith, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his associates sought to provide shelter, education and the hope of a better future. Following a generous donation from an Anglican widow, Spurgeon and his associates founded the Stockwell Orphanage in south London.  


Today you will find us at the heart of communities – listening, learning and building trust to make a lasting difference. Our Christian faith remains an active and important motivation for the work we do. It forms the roots with which our people's collective desire to help children and young people is linked to, regardless of their own beliefs.  

Our history – Spurgeons Charity 



Spurgeons charity was founded in 1867 when Anne Hillyard donated £20,000 to Charles Spurgeon, to be used to open a children’s orphanage for boys. As a result, Stockwell orphanage was opened in 1869. 10 years later, girls were also welcomed. By the time the girls' dormitories were complete there were 500 children living here. 


Even after Spurgeon's death, his work to improve the lives of children carried on in the orphanage. The children had special occasions to look forward to, such as Founder's Day to celebrate the birth of Charles Spurgeon, Christmas, outings to the beach. They even had a visit from the Duchess of York, who later became the Queen Mother, for their Founder's Day celebrations. 


When the Second World War had been announced in 1939 the children living at Stockwell orphanage had to be evacuated. Many of the children were moved to St. David's in Reigate, Surrey, where the children occupied themselves by looking after the animals there. 


In 1951 the home in Birchington, Kent, was opened and became the new children's home for Spurgeons. By 1953 all the children were relocated here. It remained open until 1979, when children were sent to smaller homes or foster families. 

Our commitment to our heritage 

The charity looks very different today, but you will still find us at the heart of communities and our aim remains the same – to transform the nation, one child at a time by ensuring every family has the support needed to flourish. 


We are very proud of our heritage, and we still bear our founder’s name. By keeping Charles Spurgeon at the heart of our identity and mission, it reaffirms our commitment to continue the work he started. 

Access your records

Over the 150 years since Spurgeons was established, we have helped thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families to improve their lives.

If you or a relative have been helped by Spurgeons find out how we can help you in accessing any information we may hold.

Our heritage content

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Happy 189th Birthday Charles Spurgeon
Photograph of Charles Spurgeons, alongside text wishing him a Happy Birthday
Happy 189th Birthday Charles Spurgeon
Children’s Homes today and a reflection on our heritage
Old photo of the entrance to Spurgeons Homes for Children
Children’s Homes today and a reflection on our heritage
Spurgeons gave me the chance of a good start in life
A photo collage of Peter whilst at Spurgeons Children's home at Birchington Hall
Spurgeons gave me the chance of a good start in life