Shirley Oaks seemed well equipped to give the vulnerable and unfortunate children who ended up there just the kind of start in life they needed.
Situated in the leafy outskirts of Croydon, South London, its 70-acre site included cottages where children in care were looked after by so-called house mothers and fathers, a school, swimming pool, sick bay and playing fields.
But as the survivors’ group report put it yesterday, while it had ‘all the comforts and facilities of a picture-box village where the damaged souls could recover’, all was not as it seemed.
It added: ‘Away from monitoring ears, the children would be less complimentary about its virtues and they would whisperingly refer to it as “Shirley Hell”.
‘This childlike nickname would prove not to be so infantile once we discovered the extent of the unpalatable and sickening practices that had been taking place inside its perimeter walls.’ (more...)
Shirley Oaks was infiltrated by paedophiles from the 1950s until its closure in 1983 ... no wonder the children called this place 'Hell'
'I was drugged and raped in my own bed - age 12': Residents of Shirley Oaks Care Home tell of years of horrific sexual attacks at the hands of those entrusted with their care