Founded in 1892, the Johannesburg Children's Home is the oldest charitable institution in the City.
The original home in Fordsburg was established with the proceeds from a Fancy Fair (£4779) organised by a committee under the chairmanship of Mrs von Brandis, wife of the Landdrost.
These women were nothing, if not courageous! Costs for the upkeep of the home were met by weekly street collections and, since their aim was to help any and every child in distress, it was decided that the Home would be entirely 'undenominational'.
Before long, larger premises were needed, and eight stands in Twist Street, Hospital Hill, were donated to the committee by the Transvaal Government. While building on this site was developed, 70 children were housed in Beit Street, Doornfontein.
During the South African War friends cared for most of the children. The remainder were sent with the matron to Verulam, Natal. They were supported by donations of food and clothing from residents there and money from Johannesburg refugees in Natal.
After their return in July 1902, the need for a larger and suitably designed Home became a priority. It was decided that the Twist Street position was unsuitable and the stands were sold back to the Government for £12 000. This sum, together with public donations enabled us to buy our present ground in Observatory.
The new Home was opened by the Countess of Selbourne, wife of the Governor-General, in 1906 and did yeoman service for 30 years.
In 1985 the cottage system was introduced to create a more personal and less institutionalised environment. With exciting and dramatic political change in South Africa, the Home now caters for children of all races between the ages of 3 and 18 years.
Hundreds of children have passed through the Home since its inception in 1892. Many of them have become valuable members of the community and we are confident that those now entrusted to our care will, in turn, play their part in the future of our country.