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Annie Croall, Founder of the Stirling’s Children’s Home

Founder of the Stirling’s Children’s Home, Annie Knight Croall (1854-1927) is one of the unsung heroines of Scottish history.  She was the daughter of the first curator of the Smith Institute, and came from Leeds to Stirling at the age of 19.  A deeply spiritual person, her work for neglected and orphaned children started after she found a baby on the Back Walk, left there by its mother who had gone into town for a drink and had been arrested.

In the 1870s there was no social provision for children in need, and Annie Croall struggled to find the means of housing and sustaining those who were sent to her.   She managed to purchase Whinwell House in 1890 and set up a Dorcas Society whose members sewed clothing for the children.  Many of the children were put into emigration schemes at the age of 14, and sent to Canada and Australia.  The Stirling Children’s Home continued to be run by a board of Trustees, until 1980, when the responsibilities were transferred to the Aberlour Childcare Trust.

Annie Croall described her life as “Fifty years on a Scottish Battlefield.” She is buried in the Valley Cemetery. The photograph was gifted by W. F. T. Anderson.


  1. REPLY
    Maureen Bundy says


    • REPLY
      Helen says

      Hi Maureen
      My aunt was in the home until 1944 I am trying to get her a copy of the books Annie Croall wrote and I believe there was 3. She had many happy years there and she loves to look back and she herself has written little stories of her memories there. I would dearly love a copy if you could guide me where to get them. I do so hope you can help.
      Kind regards

      NOTE: Hi Helen, I removed your email address for safety. If both you and Maureen have trouble linking up, let me know and I’ll pass the message over for you.

      Best wishes,


    • REPLY
      Eleanor Mitchell says

      Hi Maureen , do you know where I can get a copy of the book from? My grandmother and her 3 sisters were in whinwell from 1917 for 13 years and I am trying to find out what it may have been like for them in those days ?

  2. REPLY
    Billie Graves says

    My mom and her siblings were in Whinwell around early 40’s. I would really like to find out more. Mother is still alive but misses Scotland. We currently live in Nevada, USA.

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