Friday, 27 September 2019

Hot off the press

For those who read Andrew Simpson's blog dedicated to the history of Chorlton (and more!), you may already know that in celebration of the Together Trust's 150th year we are publishing a book on the history of the charity in 2020. We have worked closely with Andrew who has produced a fascinating read which delves into the history of the Together Trust, a charity whose unwavering dedication to improving the lives of young people is celebrated in this work. Andrew has consulted our vast and unique archive to tell the stories of some of the young people who in the early days of the charity found themselves destitute on the city's streets; following some of them on their journeys to Canada, and mapping the changes in child welfare in the process.

The Parcel Brigade outside the Children's Shelter (c. 1915) - one of the images that inspired the cover illustration.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

National Lottery Heritage Fund kick starts our 150th anniversary

It's all go here at Together Trust HQ as we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary! Thanks to a generous grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Together Trust has been awarded an astounding £99,200 to make 2020 a memorable year in which we celebrate our past, present and future with 'The Ever Open Door - 150 years of Together Trust' project.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Man's best friends

The benefits of animal therapy are well advocated. Our pets provide us with comfort, happiness, and unconditional love. For some of the Charity's former and current young people however, there are additional benefits to spending time with animals; these include helping to restore a young person’s confidence, improve social interaction, emotional well-being, and expression.

The archive offers up snapshots which show some of the animals that were resident on the Belmont estate in the 20th century. Here are just a few that brought happiness and companionship to our residents:

Meg was resident at Belmont in the 1930s.

Caspar belonged to the Houseparents of the Crossley Home in the late 1940s. A number of photographs of Caspar with the young residents are held in the collection.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

On board a training ship

The monthly magazines created by the Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuges and Homes have always been an interesting representation of the charity’s work and activities. Originally established in 1879 as the Children’s Worker, the magazine aimed to provide news and events about the charity to interested parties. Consequently, it gave a more detailed account of the services and looked more into the social aspects of the charity rather than the administrative ones.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

BFI: Disabled Britain on Film

In January the British Film Institute brought together a collection celebrating the representation of people with disabilities in film via their video streaming service (BFI Player). Revealing films from 1911 to the present day, the Disabled Britain on Film portal showcases the work of disability-led film makers, and documentaries focusing on those living with disabilities and the charities which provide support to them, to highlight an often overlooked part of the lives of many individuals and families across Britain.

Residents of the Bethesda Home c. 1890

Monday, 13 May 2019

A stitch in time

Looking through some of our old case files always produces some interesting finds. Today, looking at files of those discharged from our Bethesda home in the 1950s, a brochure popped up for The School of Stitchery and Lace in Bookham, Surrey. It is rare that our records detail what became of our care leavers: in most cases they state simply "restored to parent[s]", which leaves us guessing what came next. A few letters and the brochure found in this particular file, however, suggests that one of our care leavers went on to make their way in the world of work and live independently, but with a network in place to support them too. This is something which the Together Trust strives to provide for all its young people to this day. By offering programmes which aim to enhance the employability and independence of its young people, this is achieved through tailored work experience, education, and support. Below is a letter highlighting the Trust’s early commitment to this endeavour written by the General Secretary of the Manchester and Salford Refuges to the Ministry of Labour and National Service, thanking them for their support in securing a place for a young person at the School.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Help us celebrate!

Our 40th Anniversary celebration at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.

Whilst we busy ourselves preparing for our 150th anniversary celebrations we would like to hear your voices. We'd love to know how we can engage with you to make our story known. If you would like to find out more about our history and plans for the 150th celebration, whilst helping us to find out what you already know about the Together Trust, please find the time to complete our survey here.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

'I was lucky to have known people like you...'

As it approaches Mother’s Day it prompts reflection on what our relationships mean to us: whether that be with one’s biological mother; grandmother; step-mother; foster or adoptive mother, or any other influential female who plays a significant part in our lives. For some this may stir up feelings of confusion or sadness. For others this can be a happy time in which to share fond memories and create new ones together. For those young people who were in the care of the Refuges many may not have had a relationship with their mothers. The reasons for a child entering care were varied and complex. Some had faced the trauma of losing their parents at an early age to illness, or were removed from their situation either permanently or on a short-term basis. Regardless of circumstance, we should all have a person in our lives who provides us with the same sureties a mother does, be they female, or indeed, male. So as Mother’s Day approaches we ask ‘what is the role of a mother?’

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The Crossley Legacy

In two of our previous blog posts we discussed the role the Crossley family played in the Charity’s history, chiefly the involvement of Sir William John Crossley 1st Bt. and his son, Brian Crossley. The motor engineering entrepreneur Sir William Crossley held the position of Trustee and later Chairman of the Manchester Refuges Committee. Brian, alongside a number of other philanthropic Crossley relatives, including his brother Eric, was also one of the Refuge’s Committee members. Sadly, Brian’s years were cut short in the Second Battle of Artois in 1915.

Upon Sir William’s death in 1911, another of his sons, Kenneth (1877-1957), assumed his Baronetcy and hereditary knighthood. Sir Kenneth Irwin Crossley 2nd Bt. was the Chairman of Crossley Brothers and Crossley Motors Ltd; with his inheritance he took on his father’s role as Property Trustee of the Manchester Refuges as Sir William had previously assisted in the purchase of the Rosen Hallas ‘Training Home for Girls’ on Bury Old Road, Cheetham Hill.

The Sewing Room at Rosen Hallas 'Training Home for Girls'
Sir William Crossley donated £1000 in 1886 to purchase the property

Friday, 18 January 2019

New year, new beginnings

Much has been discussed in this blog about the emigration of the many young orphans of the Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuges and Homes (and those in the care of other charities) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Whilst the idea of the mass migration of vulnerable young children who had undergone life changing and traumatic events actions is unthinkable in the present day, it is, however, important to acknowledge and understand the circumstances which led to this. The first question we may now ask is whether the actions of these organisations was fully in the interest of the children: did places like Canada truly offer a new beginning, far removed from the poverty and squalor of urban Britain, or did the removal from familiar surroundings and family simply compound a child’s isolation and suffering? Did these wealthy philanthropists even consider such effects on the child, and were they truly motivated by philanthropic ideals or a need to remove the problem from their doorstep and provide a cheap workforce to the colonies? To begin to address these questions we will look at the stories of two girls, Mary Ann and Harriett who made the long journey to Canada together in May 1898 aboard the S.S. Dominion under the supervision of Miss Harriet Smethurst, representative of the Manchester and Salford Refuges. 

The events leading to Mary Ann's referral to one of the Refuge's orphan homes in Manchester were sudden and tragic. At the age of ten Mary Ann of Newton Heath was placed into the care of the Refuges at the advice of the magistrates after the attempted suicide of her father. During this period (and up to the 1961 Suicide Act) suicide was a criminal offence punishable by law. Mary's father, dealing with the loss of his wife some two years before, was no doubt placed under great emotional, and potentially financial, stress.  Mary Ann would have been dealing with the trauma of these events too when she was separated from her father upon his consent to her referral into the orphan home (likely having been given no choice due to his pending conviction), and her brothers and sisters whom were unable to care for Mary. Traumatic for all parties involved, within the one year of being accepted into the home, around the time of Mary's eleventh birthday, Mary's life faced further upheaval with her move to Canada.

Mary Ann, c.1897