History of Hadleigh Farm
Hadleigh Farm was originally part of William Booth's, "Darkest
England" scheme. This involved people from what he referred to as
the, "submerged tenth" being helped and in some cases rescued by
Salvationists. They would then be offered work and shelter in the
City Colony before being transferred to the Country Colony and
eventually to the Overseas Colony.
Originally, the farmland around Hadleigh was notorious for its
poor quality and was known locally as the, "Hadleigh
badlands." William Booth chose the location as it was within
reasonable distance of London where the City Colony was based and
had access to water and a railway. Just as importantly, the clay
soil made it ideal for market gardening and crops requiring a
heavier soil, perfect for the various disciplines taught at the
1891 saw the start of building William Booth's vision on
Hadleigh Farm. In just 9 months the farm went from 48 volunteers
from the East End to nearly 250. The Idea of Hadleigh Farm
was, "to give employment (and food and lodgings in return for his
labour) to any man who is willing to work, irrespective of
nationality or creed."
With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 the British
government agreed to look after a number of Basque refugee
children. Some of these children ended up under the Salvation
Army's care in East London and at Hadleigh. In 1939 the farm also
provided accommodation for nearly 70 Jewish refugees fleeing
persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe.
The role of Hadleigh Farm changed slightly after the Second
World War, and during the 1950's, the farm helped to train former
youth offenders and boys on probation. In 1990, the Hadleigh
Training Centre was opened on the site of, and in conjunction with,
the farm. The centre works with local authorities to train people
with special educational needs in contemporary subjects such as IT
skills, carpentry, and life skills.