Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Together Trust!

The newspapers issued on Boxing Day often told tales of Christmas celebrations around the streets of Salford and Manchester, at the various Churches, Charities and Institutions of the city. With the big day just around the corner it’s time to go back to a Victorian Christmas and join the children in their celebrations at the Refuge and homes. 

Christmas Collection Appeal Leaflet

Thursday, 13 December 2012

What would you do if...

As we continue to celebrate UK Disability History Month we look back at how our Bethesda Home used to help some of the children who were under its care.

Bethesda group, c.1910

Friday, 30 November 2012

Naval Training Ships for Manchester Boys

The training ship, the Indefatigable, New Ferry, Birkenhead, has been mentioned once before in the early days of this blog. It was often used by the Committee of the Manchester Refuges to give a trade to some of the sturdier boys who came under their care. As new photographs come to light, showing the workings of the ship, we delve back into this little known service.

Positioning the cannon

Friday, 23 November 2012

UK Disability History Month

The 22nd November – 22 December 2012 is UK Disability History Month (UKDHM). This is an annual event which strives to ‘raise awareness of the unequal position of disabled people in society and to advocate disability equality’, as well as ‘developing an understanding of the historical roots of this inequality’. The Together Trust has a long history of working with children and adults with disabilities and as we celebrate UKDHM this month we will be looking back over our next few blogs as to how our work in disability began.

Bethesda family c.1900

Friday, 16 November 2012

Life in Grenfell, Saskatchewan

As regular followers of this blog will know the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes emigrated some of the children under its care to the Marchmont Receiving Home in Belleville, Ontario.
 Norman Lee, Refuge Agent in Grenfell

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Boys' Refuge Fire Brigade and the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives

This is another striking picture within the archive which we know very little about. It was taken around 1890 and shows the Boys’ Refuge Fire Brigade outside what looks to be the Central Refuge of Francis Street.

Boys Refuge Fire Brigade

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mystery photographs

The Together Trust has a number of photograph albums within its collection, which contain various images of the young people under its care as well as the different buildings used and events attended. Many of these photographs have been labelled by the committee members who put them together, either with the name of the young person or the event that was being attended. The photograph below for example, highlights that the group of girls shown were from the Heathfield Home and were about to be emigrated to Canada in 1885.

Girls from Heathfield to Canada

Friday, 19 October 2012

Lord Shaftesbury and the Manchester Refuges

I thought I’d talk this week about some leading figures in nineteenth century England who had an interest in the work of the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes. Today we turn to Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, English politician, philanthropist and social reformer.

Lord Shaftesbury, 1801-1885

Friday, 12 October 2012

Where does the time go?

I realised today that Sunday is a special day - our very own archive blog will be one year old!

Twelve whole months have gone by where every week (well... almost!) we have been bringing you the stories, facts and photographs of the Together Trust’s glorious history. The blog has allowed us to bring some of our treasures to a much larger audience and taught us a few things on the way.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lending a helping hand in Angel Meadow

Boys' rest and coffee room, 1883
This rather faded photograph was found within a mixture of other photographs taken in the 1880’s, which showed several of the charity’s different homes and services. This image shows an old public house situated at the bottom of Angel Street at St Michael's Place and known as the Old Victory.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman

Looking back at our long history it seems strange to think of a time when the charity would only provide for boys. However for the first eight years of its existence, the Refuge did not take in girls. It wasn’t until 1878, with the opening of a detached house on Broughton Lane, that girls were provided for, for the first time. As more and more boys applied to the Refuge, those that investigated their circumstances were frequently coming across girls that needed aid.

Rosen Hallas, George Street

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Salford

We’ve been playing in the archive again!

This time I took two of the Charity’s Design Team to have a look at a few of the treasures within our collection (it was definitely for their benefit and not just because I wanted them to take some lovely photographs for use in this blog!). It also gave me the opportunity to have a closer look at some of our photograph books and select some powerful images not previously seen by the Together Trust. You lucky people will be the first to view these photographs over the next few weeks.

John G. ‘posing’ for the camera

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Our history through newspapers

"A refuge for the destitute lads of the city has been opened in Quay Street, under the care of Mr WF Brown, who has had considerable experience of the management of similar institutions in London. Forty inmates have taken advantage of the home, of whom twenty-four belong to a shoeblack brigade, six to a newspaper brigade, two are messengers, five are in situations, and three are employed in the refuge. The lads are charged one penny for their breakfast, one penny for supper, one penny for bed, and threepence for dinner." 
Printed on Tuesday 22nd February 1870, Manchester Evening News

This is the first known reference to the Charity in the local newspapers. At the time it was the main source of news to the community and was integral to the promotion of any organisation. The Refuge regularly used the newspapers to fundraise and promote its work. 

Advert for funds

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The joys of football

With the excitement of the London Olympics and Euro 2012, the summer has been filled with sporting achievement. There’s not really been time to sit back and relax however, as barely a week after the closing ceremony of the Olympics the football season kicked off again. As one friend commented "We now have something to live for again". The nation’s sport frustrates and thrills in equals measure. 

Football at the Summer Camp, c.1920s

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A marriage and President of the cheese makers association

One of our more popular blogs entries on this website appears to be the story of William (14th February 2012). This was a boy of thirteen who was emigrated across to Canada and wrote back to the Refuge requesting for news of Nellie, a girl he fell in love with whilst in Style Cottage Homes. As our audience seem to have a soft spot for all things romantic I thought I’d delve back into the archive and see what other stories of love could be found.

From 1872 until the beginning of World War I various children were emigrated across to Canada from Manchester. From the Marchmont Receiving Home they were then placed out with various farmers (and in some cases, clergymen) in the district.

Indenture, 1890s

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The seaside home

“We are again in the midst of summer joys and sunshine, and to many of your readers it will mean happy times in the fields and woods, or by the cool seashore. But to hundreds pent up in the great city it will mean weariness and wasting. Dirt and squalor are bad enough in the winter, but sunshine and beauty of summer seem to exaggerate these miseries.” Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, May 1888.

In the dreariness of our so-called summer in Manchester this year, the above quote may seem a little mocking, but so read an article in a local newspaper in 1888 calling for funds to send a ‘sick and pale-faced child’ to the Seaside Home at Lytham.

Seaside Home, Lytham

Thursday, 26 July 2012

I'd like to read you some letters...

We’re heading back across the seas today to sunny Canada, simply because I’d like to relate to you some of the letters sent back to the Refuge by the children who went to live in Ontario. Within the Together Trust emigration collection there are many of these letters which give us an insight as to what life was like in Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Marchmont Receiving House, Belleville, Ontario

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Our first admission book

I’ve been attempting to do some indexing recently of our very first admission book. The archive collection for the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes is extensive. Every child that was resident in any of our permanent homes have been recorded in varying amounts of detail. From 1886 case files were compiled on each admitted child, which comprised of material such as admittance forms, investigation forms, declaration forms and letters. All of these case files have already been indexed. Before this however the children were recorded in our admission books giving details such as age, parents names, previous address and circumstances leading up to admittance.

First admission book

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Please dig deep!

As a result of our recent Cheadle Festival the Together Trust raised a well-earned £14,000. These are vital funds towards the charity’s services providing much needed holidays, equipment and activities for the children, young people and adults we serve.
Simplyhealth team - winners of It's a Knockout round one

Friday, 29 June 2012

We love our volunteers!

The Together Trust Cheadle Festival on Saturday was a huge success and to our great delight it (largely) stayed dry. As always much food was eaten, fun had on giant soapy inflatables and music filled the air (see some photos here from the day). Of course most of the success of the day was down to the hard working staff and volunteers that gave up their time to ensure the day went ahead as planned. As a charity the Together Trust relies on its volunteers. Whether this is through fundraising or participating in activities with the young people in our care, they are vital part of the organisation.

Volunteers at our Cheadle Festival, 2012

Thursday, 21 June 2012

It's our Cheadle Festival!

We have fingers crossed for sun on Saturday as the Together Trust celebrates its 91st Cheadle Festival here on our site at Schools Hill, Cheadle. The family fun day is the social highlight of the year for the charity, as it lets service users, staff and the local community all come together, as well as raising much needed funds. It also allows us to promote the work we do within the area and a fun time can be had by all.

Partakers in ‘It’s a Knockout’ at the Cheadle Festival 2011

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

We’re all going on a summer holiday…

Glancing out of a window in Manchester its not often you see the sun. This may be a Manchester cliche but unfortunately for us residents it’s regularly a true fact. On the Together Trust site in Cheadle where our central offices are now resident, the buildings are surrounded by countryside, making it a beautiful place whatever the weather. In fact when we first moved here in 1920 we had 22.5 acres of land for the children to enjoy. Previous to this however, when we worked in the centre of Manchester, the city slums of old must have been a dismal place in the frequent rain.

Typical city slum in Manchester

Thursday, 31 May 2012


As we approach the Diamond Jubilee weekend, marking sixty years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, it got me thinking of the three previous coronations partaken in, since the Together Trust was founded in 1870. The coronation of a new King or Queen was an opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate. This was true for the Refuge who saw it as an opportunity to reach out to children beyond those being cared for in their various homes.

Invitation to a Coronation Day Party in June 1902

Friday, 25 May 2012

Photographs from Canada, 1894

As a Records, Archives and Information Manager at the Together Trust it’s not always about finding historical treasures in the archive (although I wish it was!). So when I do get a few moments to do some research and come across a gem it makes it all the more worthwhile.

Our emigration photograph album (Together Trust Ref: M189/9/2/4) is one of my favourite items in the collection. It consists of photographs taken in Canada in 1894 by one the Refuge’s committee members, Gilbert Kirlew, who was visiting the boys there at the time.

‘Taking on Post’

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Teddy's story...

"Bethesda is not a place merely for the dreaming of dreams, it is also a hive of industry. Healing and teaching go hand in hand. The children are educated on the premises by a qualified staff of teachers. Many handicrafts are taught and really beautiful work is done by some of the patient-students, for what they lack in mobility they more than make up for in concentration." Annual Report, 1920

The ‘Bethesda Home for Crippled and Incurable Children’ on Cheetham Hill was one of Leonard Shaw’s proudest achievements. As well as providing medical treatment to children from some of the direst of conditions it also encouraged them to overcome their disabilities.

Bethesda Home, George Street, 1904

Friday, 4 May 2012

Digitising emigration books

It’s been an exciting day here at the Together Trust Archive. We’ve gone digital! One of our most viewed group of documents within our extensive collection include our large leather-bound emigration books. These run from 1883 to 1914 and record all of the children who were emigrated to Marchmont our Receiving Home in Canada during this time. Each child was allocated a page within one of the books. Any reports or correspondence sent back to the Charity was glued into the book. Although they provide a wealth of information on what life was like in Canada, they are also a conservator’s nightmare!

One of our emigration books

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Orphan Homes, Cheetham Hill

"£10 a year or 17 shillings per month will support or educate an orphan or homeless boy." Manchester Times, 1876

Adverts were often placed in the local papers asking for money to set up a new service to help Manchester’s waifs and strays. It was an imperative means of communication. Up until the introduction of the new welfare state in the 1940s the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes had to rely purely on charitable donations from the public. In its early days the charity was opening a new service or home almost every year. This could only be done thanks to the many wonderful contributions from a city who wanted to help its younger inhabitants.

Advert appealing for funds, c.1906 (PH/4/16)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Jumping on the Titantic bandwagon

With this weekend heralding 100 years since the catastrophic sinking of the RMS Titanic, my mind wandered towards the 2,129 of our children who made the similar long journey across the ocean to start a better lift elsewhere. Like many on board the Titanic, the journey was seen as a means to improve circumstances and leave behind the crowded smoky cities of England to the spacious lands of Canada and America.

In the open fields of Canada c.1900 (PH/5/4)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A different kind of Easter egg

Throughout March and early April 2012 the Together Trust runs its annual Easter egg appeal. The aim of the appeal is to encourage local companies, groups and individuals to donate chocolate eggs so that every young person under 18 and supported by the Together Trust receives an egg for Easter.

Roughley's Bikers supported us once again and ‘roared’ into the Together Trust campus on Sunday 25th March 2012 making their annual delivery.

Roughley's Bikers deliver Easter eggs to the Together Trust

Friday, 23 March 2012

A little known service from the Together Trust

There are of course many unknown facts about the charity but some are more obscure than others. Some of the lesser known facts are also some of our more noteworthy.

The Manchester and Salford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children badge

St. Patricks Day

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday it seemed apt to have an Irish theme to this week’s blog. Of course our founder Leonard Kilbee Shaw originated from Dublin, Ireland, but there were also a number of children who passed through the charity’s doors seeking refuge, who had come from the same Emerald Isle. Today we are focussing on one of those children’s stories...

Cake made for the Together Trust's St. Patrick's Day Party, March 2012

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Manchester Histories Festival

Did you attend Manchester Histories Festival on Saturday 3rd March? The celebration day in Manchester Town Hall attracted a whole host of organisations all intent on one thing – celebrating the incredible history of our beloved city. And what a history it is…

Manchester Town Hall

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The life of a street hawker

Imagine this...’s 1870 and as a wealthy member of Manchester’s higher society you are strolling through the streets of Manchester, maybe after a trip to the Theatre Royal on Peter Street, when suddenly a small boy approaches you.

“Buy a newspaper sir?” he pleads.

Looking at him you can see he is barely over 8 years old. He’s small for his age after a lifetime of living in a crowded basement flat in Angel Meadow, rarely getting enough to eat and being largely neglected by his careless parents. Their only words are to tell him to not bother coming home until he has enough money to buy them their drink for the night. It’s coming up to midnight and the anxious look on his face tells you that tonight he has not achieved this…

Street hawkers

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Come and see us at the Manchester Histories Festival!

Are you interested in the history of Manchester? Want to know more about the many different organisations who contribute towards our understanding of our historic city? Then you have to be at this year’s Manchester Histories Festival 2012!

Following on from its successful event in 2009 the Manchester Histories Festival is gracing our doorstep again with the aims to “both celebrate the familiar and reveal the new and hidden histories from across Greater Manchester”. The festival runs from Friday 24th February to Sunday 4th March 2012 with a whole host of talks, walks and events on subjects that will interest everyone. Highlights include finding out more about your family history, participating in an archaeological dig or getting involved in a football debate.

Annual Bazaar, 1930s
The main ‘celebration day’ takes part on the 3rd March, largely centred around Manchester’s fabulous town hall. This will be bustling with displays from around 80 organisations, representing all sections of Manchester's diverse history and heritage.

It will be a fantastic day which the Together Trust is delighted to be participating in. Why not come along and find out more about us. You never know, we may be the missing link in your family history!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Update - A love letter from overseas

Sometimes it’s as if the world contrives to know the end of a story. A chance encounter on Ancestry today revealed what happened to William, whose story is told in the last blog written on the 14th February. Until the 20th February, Ancestry are allowing free access to their Canadian Vital Records, which is perfect for people like me wanting to know the end to a certain love story….

On the 21st June 1916 William got married. The marriage took place in Hastings, Ontario around 60km down the road from Bethany where he wrote his lovesick letter. So what was the name of his spouse on the marriage certificate? 


Ethel Hobart

So our young romantic did not end up with his childhood sweetheart. He did however marry an English girl who we hope made him very happy!

Case closed.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A love letter from overseas

“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Spoken by Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, Scene I, Line 134, William Shakespeare.

Emigration party

As it is Valentine’s Day I thought it apt to tell you a love story from within our archive. This isn't easy as many of the children who passed through our homes were young. Boys and girls were housed in separate buildings and interaction between sexes was few and far between.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Education, education, education...

“He who plants a tree does well; he who fells and saws it into planks does well; he who makes a bench of the planks does well; he who sitting on the bench, teaches a child, does better than the rest.” Dean Farrar (Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuges and Homes, Annual Report, 1936, p26).

I found this in the archive the other day:

Reformatory and Refuge Union, Educational Inspector's Report, 1892

It is one of our earliest examples of the education system in place at the Boy’s Refuge at Strangeways. The original set up of the Refuge back in 1870 was to provide food and shelter for those boys found on the streets of Manchester. Within a few months however, it became apparent that education and training was also needed. In 1870 the Elementary Education Act had come into being setting the framework for schooling of all children aged between the 5 to 12 years in England and Wales, although it was not compulsory for children to attend school until 1880.

For the children in the Refuge Homes, those under the age of 12 received an education, whilst older children learnt a trade. From the archives it is know that by 1900 (if not earlier) all the children in the Homes were attending local elementary day schools, to give them a more ‘normal’ upbringing.

In the reading room, Central Refuge, Strangeways, 1904

In the nineteenth century however, the children were taught at the Refuge itself. As displayed on the above education report of 1892, the children received 27 hours of learning per week concentrating on the three Rs, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Education may have been mandatory by 1880 but it did not appear to be obligatory to have trained teachers.

The education was basic but it was enough to give the boys a start in life. Of course some say that children today are "still blighted by Dickensian-style illiteracy"[1] when leaving school, especially in the poorest areas of society. This is despite sustained technological and social advancements. Is it time to go back to basics?

[1] Nick Gibb, Schools Minister, taken from The Telegraph, February 7th 2012

Friday, 3 February 2012


Monday sees the start of National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 6th to 10th February 2012. National Apprenticeship Week aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships amongst employers, individuals, teachers, parents and the media. Of course Britain has a long history of apprenticeships, stretching back to the guilds of the Middle Ages. Here at the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes the charity partook in the training of apprentices for many of the boys who came into the Refuge on Francis Street, Strangeways.

Carpentry department, Central Refuge, Strangeways

Friday, 27 January 2012


One of the lovely things about compiling this blog every week is that it gives me a chance to show you some of the absolute gems the Together Trust holds in its archive. In terms of a charity collection we have a staggering wealth of archival material (even if I do say so myself!), documenting the charity's actions and the people who have been in our care. Our earlier material gives researchers an insight into later Victorian Manchester in terms of charity, philanthropy and attitude towards children. There are few gaps and all of the children who entered any one of our homes or services are documented.

Not only were our founders and early committee inspirational in the work they did, they also had the foresight to ensure these records were preserved for future generations…

Pamphlets written by committee members advertising the charity

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

All at sea

After the news at the weekend of the fate of a cruise ship off the coast of Italy, ironically on the eve of the Titanic anniversary, my thoughts turned to the thousands of our children who used this form of transport to cross the seas. The events of Friday are perhaps surprising in this modern age of computerized navigation systems, but travelling by ship has always had the possibility of a rough crossing or worst!

Marchmont receiving home, 193 Moria Street, Yeoman Hill, Canada

Thursday, 12 January 2012

"I live next to Strangeways Prison!"

An account of a four year old boy admitted to the Refuge in 1889:
“The boy reeled on the floor and had to be assisted to a seat. We thought it advisable to have him examined by a doctor who pronounced the poor little baby-boy to be drunk and ordered an emetic to be administered and the child to be put to bed, as otherwise it might prove fatal. It may not generally be known that making children drunk is at present no offence under the English law.”

The Together Trust receives regular enquiries about the young people who have been in its care. Most are people researching their family history, trying to get some semblance of how their ancestors lived. Many are from Canada or America tracing those young children who were emigrated across the seas in search of a better life away from the slums of Manchester.

A ragged child

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy birthday to the Together Trust!

Today, the 4th Jan 2012, sees the Together Trust celebrate 142 years of providing care and support to children and young people in the North West. The many services that are provided today are a far cry from our first home, which was set up to care for street children, but without our humble beginnings we would never have grown into the diverse charity we are today.