Great Dunmow children’s home photos discovered from years gone by

The old photograph found in an envelope. Picture: Dorothy Chinery

The old photograph found in an envelope. Picture: Dorothy Chinery - Credit: Dorothy Chinery

The superintendent of a Great Dunmow children’s home thought so much about the children in her care that they stayed in her mind long after she retired.

Dorothy Chinery, who died on March 29, kept an envelope of old photographs and a newspaper clipping from 2008 written by John Millbank who had grown up in her care, talking about his memories of the Kinema.

But her well meaning act to send him some photographs never came to pass.

Joan Martin came across the envelope when she was clearing her aunt’s home after Mrs Chinery died. Joan would like to pass these photographs on to John.

Born in Rayne in 1923, Joan’s auntie spent her career in the child care service.

After the war, she came back to Dunmow district where she had been born.

She was appointed to the position of House Mother to the Dunmow children’s home in 1953, and may have worked as an assistant before that.

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When she joined, the home was at 58 New Street in Dunmow and then moved across the road to the Old Manse.

Initially it was a home for 12 children before it increased.

Her maiden name was Dorothy Olley. She married in 1967 and became Mrs Chinery.

She was known as “Auntie Dorothy” to hundreds of children and she held the role for 25 years.

Joan told the Broadcast: “The picture with the boys was taken in the home and that is how I expect she would be remembered by anyone to do with the home.

“I think she retired in the early 70’s. It must have been tough for the children but I know she tried her hardest to make it as much like home as she possibly could. It was a 24/7 job.”

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