The Church may have opened its doors to 'fallen women'; but once they were inside, it exploited them mercilessly.
From speaking to mothers who were caught up in the convent homes, and by digging through government records, I realised that in the early Fifties the state was paying the nuns £1 a week for every one of the thousands of mothers they had in their care, and 2s 6d for every baby. In addition, the Church kept the proceeds from the girls' labour.
It was a source of significant income, and the nuns made sure the women stayed and worked for at least three years. They could get out only by paying £100 - an impossible amount for the vast majority.