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"The Croft was like being a family without being family ... You are starting again. You are starting afresh and you could be who you wanted to be"

"It was a very good environment, in particular for the time when having a baby as a single parent you were very much a second class citizen and looked down on."

"Good memories, good memories, It was what I needed... I mean I dread to think what might have happened to me if there wasn't the The Croft at the time "

“...I went to see a woman at the Christian Adoption Society and she said why are you having the baby adopted?  And I said, because I can’t keep it. And she said, well some do. And I said, how?” Barbara
“The room was lovely, it was modern ... one side was a kitchenette and I remember there being a little Baby Belling” Stella
Story of The Croft Exhibition Launch, 16 November 2012.
A father who used to visit The Croft views photos and stories.
Women who lived at The Croft are reunited with Ruth I Johns who set it up.
The Croft in 2011, standing empty and awaiting redevelopment.
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Stories of The Croft is the online exhibition created from the Heritage Lottery funded 'Children of The Croft' Oral History project (November 2011 - January 2013).

The Croft was a non-institutional shared housing scheme for unsupported mothers and their babies situated in two converted victorian villas in the leafy suburb of Alexandra Park, Nottingham. Established in 1966 by Ruth I Johns as the first initiative of the innovative 'grassroots' housing charity Family First, it offered a lifeline for women who might otherwise have become destitute due to the poor welfare provision of the times.

A room at The Croft - sometimes shared - gave a mother a safe place from which to plan the future for herself and her baby, and the non-judgmental practical support on offer was described by the Home Office as 'revolutionary' at the time.

This online exhibition is a growing resource of the stories and photographs of the first generation of women who lived at The Croft, and who - four decades on - can reflect on the positive role it played in helping them take control of their lives. 

The film clips on this page feature a montage of reminiscences and reflections about life at The Croft. Real voices are complemented by a reconstruction of a typical day at The Croft performed by members of the Oral History project team.