Liverpool Town Council gave 7,000 square yards of land at the northeast side of Newsham Park to the committee to construct a Seaman's Orphan Institution. On 31 January 1874 the children from the temporary home in Duke Street were transferred, together with 46 newcomers. In addition to the 200 children at the orphanage, the committee also looked after children on an outdoor relief basis.
From the outset the education of the children was given top priority, and from 1892 the boy's school, and from 1898, the girl's school were administered strictly under government regulations, and the institution received a share of the Parliamentary Grant from the Education Department.
By 1899 it was recorded in the annual report that there were 321 children in the orphanage, while 508 were receiving outdoor relief in the form of monetary grants and clothing. Although children of all denominations were assisted, with preference given to the claims of orphans of British seamen connected with the Port of Liverpool, the prayers were from the Church of England and the scholastic and religious instruction were under the supervision of the Chaplain.
The formal opening of the institution took place on 30 September 1874, the ceremony being performed by the Duke of Edinburgh, the “Sailor Prince”, fourth son of Queen Victoria. In May 1886, the Queen herself visited the Institution, and granted the orphanage the privilege of adding her name to the list of patrons.
The First World War brought problems, and in 1918 one thousand orphans were being assisted. Royal appreciation of the work was shown from time to time by visits to Newsham Park, and following a visit by H.M. Queen Mary and the Princess Royal in 1921 the King was pleased to bestow upon the institution the title “Royal” and also to grant to it a Royal Charter of Incorporation.
The years were marked by continuing and steady progress as recorded in the annual report and the proceedings at the annual meetings, which were always held in the town hall, presided over by the Lord Mayor then in office.
During the Second World War it was necessary to evacuate the children to the comparative safety kindly offered by Mr E.B Royden. a devoted friend and committee member, at his home “Hill Bark”, Frankby, Wirral. Here the children remained throughout the war where they flourished in the more countrified atmosphere.
In 1946, preparations were made for the return to Newsham Park, but the committee members were becoming increasingly concerned over the possible effect on the orphanage of the great expansion in the country's social services.
Following the new social service benefit schemes there were unmistakable signs that surviving parents were less responsive to the suggestion that there was room in the orphanage for their offspring, this attitude was understandable as it was frequently only as a last resort that the majority of mothers would agree to such a parting.
These changes led to a gradual decline in the number of children living at the orphanage. Additional new legislation prohibited children under 11 years of age being educated at the same school as older children, and made it illegal for young children to live in a school of an institutional character.
Although well endowed, financial difficulties were increasing and there seemed little prospect of bridging the widening gap between income and expenditure.
Taking all the various problems and difficulties into consideration and after lengthy deliberations it was decided with great reluctance to close the orphanage at Newsham Park while continuing to implement the objectives of the founders in providing means for the education and maintenance of the children of deceased British merchant navy seamen.
Hence the orphanage was closed on 27 July 1949, places in various schools were found for those then being housed and educated there. The majority were transferred to the Royal Merchant Navy School at Bearwood, the cost of fees, etc. being borne by the orphanage.
The sale of the premises at Newsham Park to the Ministry of Health for use as a hospital realised £125,000 in 1951, the proceeds being forwarded to the Charity Commissioners for investment.
The committee's continued concern was to ensure that the necessary help was given to orphaned seamen's children according to need, that good education was encouraged and fostered, that all the children were adequately clothed and that money was made available to the mothers to supplement their State Allowances for the children's general maintenance, etc.
In the solution of the very domestic problems of immense importance to the families concerned was to lie the work of the Royal Liverpool Seamen's Orphan Institution. It was not a new departure. It was in fact a continuation of what had always been done. No turning aside from the aims of the founders was involved but merely their adaptation to meet the changing conditions of life in the post war years with, so far as children were concerned, special emphasis on education, in particular ensuring that they would be able to participate fully in the ever widening opportunities now available for further education.
However, the work of the Institution in providing for the relief and education of the orphaned children of seamen continues today, and in 1969 the Institution celebrated its centenary.
In 2004 a plan by its owners Gateway Properties to develop the building into flats was defeated by local regeneration campaigners, and in July 2007 the site was put up for sale.