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

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) started in 1884 with the intention of drawing ‘public and government attention to the plight of children’ and investigating instances of child cruelty. In the same year the Committee of the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Home had set up a Child’s Protection Department in which ‘26 cases of child cruelty and neglect had been investigated’. By 1885 the Manchester and Salford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formed as a branch of the Institution operating from the Children’s Shelter originally located on Major Street.

Original children’s shelter, Major Street, c.1884

In its first full year 522 cases of cruelly-treated children were dealt with. Of this number around 80 were admitted into the Refuge’s various homes. Some cases were taken to court and the parents prosecuted. In 1889 an Act for the Better Prevention of Cruelty to Children was passed giving the Refuge greater power to deal with cases of neglect. Over the next ten years until 1894, 9922 cases were dealt with by the charity. The opening of an NSPCC branch in Manchester however, resulted in the mergence of the branch with the National Society.

Official notepaper for the Manchester branch, 1885

“By our English law if a child has misbehaved, a parent or guardian is entitled to administer reasonable punishment, but I do not think a law ever was framed to allow a lad to be tortured in the way this boy is alleged to have been. If the evidence put before you is true, these two defendants have been guilty of treating this lad as only inhumane monsters would do.”
Solicitor representing NSPCC, 1927, Manchester Guardian

Cruelly treated children continued to be cared for by the charity however. Although the charity no longer directly intervened in cruelty cases there was still the need to provide a safe environment for those children affected by it.

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