Kate Cocks Memorial Babies’ Home was the new name given to the Methodist Home for Babies and Unmarried Mothers at Brighton in 1954. Run by the Methodist Church, it accommodated single girls who were pregnant or had given birth to their first child. It also took in other children in need of shelter and care. Many babies were adopted from the Home. Kate Cocks Memorial Babies’ Home closed in 1976 and children were placed in cottage or foster care.
The Home gave shelter to single girls who were pregnant or had recently given birth to their first child and also provided care for children who were orphaned or deemed as neglected. It also took in children whose parents were unable to care for them due to illness or other reasons. The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies’ Home provided both short and long term care and also arranged adoptions.
The Kate Cocks Babies’ Home was the new name given to the Methodist Home for Babies and Unmarried Mothers at Brighton in 1954. The name honoured the work of Miss Kate Cocks who had been integral to the establishment of the Home.
Most women from the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies’ Home had their babies at the Wyld Maternity Home, which was part of the premises. This part of the Home could accommodate up to seven mothers and their babies. Other women gave birth at the Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital where they stayed for up to 12 days, before returning to the Home.
When the Adoption of Children Act 1966-1967 was passed, charitable agencies who arranged adoptions were required to apply to the Director of Social Welfare to operate as a private adoption agency. In November 1967 The Kate Cocks Memorial Adoption Agency was registered. This Agency, based at the Babies’ Home, arranged many adoptions.
In July 1975 a fire, which started when clothes drying by a radiator caught alight, destroyed a bedroom in the Home. According to The Advertiser, a number of expectant mothers were evacuated but were uninjured. Other parts of the Home were water and smoke damaged.
By the mid-1970s more children were placed in cottage style homes or in foster care rather than adopted. As a result of these changes, the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies’ Home ceased to operate as a residential institution for children in 1976.