Thursday, 31 October 2013

All Hallows' Eve

“While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door”.`
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe 1845

It’s Halloween at the Together Trust and as staff members dress up in scary costumes to raise money for the charity the archive delves deep into its gloomy depths in search of spooky tales.

Can you tell the difference?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Preventing Scuttling

I was lent a book recently entitled, 'The Gangs of Manchester: The Story of The Scuttlers' by Andrew Davies. The book revolves around Manchester at the end of the nineteenth century and the turf wars which existed between groups of teenagers. Scuttlers belonged to their own distinct group; the Bengal Tigers, the Meadow Lads and the Pollard Street Scuttlers, to name a few, fiercely defended their own patch. Weapons included belt buckles and knives as well as the boy’s fists and feet. From 1870 the industrial slums of Manchester and Salford saw the emergence of a brutal gang culture that lasted for 30 years. 

Strangeways Prison – A common sight to many a scuttler
“A scuttler is a lad, usually between the ages of 14 and 18, or even 19, and scuttling consists of the fighting of two opposed bands of youths, who are armed with various weapons”. 
Alexander Devine, Scuttlers and Scuttling: Their Prevention and Cure. (Manchester, 1890)

So how is this book relevant to the story of the Manchester and Salford Boys and Girls Refuges and Home? When the charity started on that cold day back in January 1870 the boys that looked for shelter were largely those in their mid teens. The early descriptions labelled them as ‘wretched’, ‘ragged’ and ‘deplorable’. Other descriptions however relate more to violent pasts.

‘“A man of war from his youth” [he] left his mark on nearly every lad who dared to offend him’. Making Rough Places Plain, p56

Is there a scuttler amongst them?
It is possible that a scuttler found his way into the auspices of the charity especially those in remand. Similarly a boy who left the Refuge and returned to the districts of slum areas such as Greengate, Angel Meadow and Ancoats may have joined local gangs. More importantly however was the influence of the charity to prevent boys of this age from falling in with the wrong crowds. As well as promoting a hard work ethic, the charity also aimed to bring its inmates up as god fearing, law abiding citizens. Without its guidance and support it is likely many more boys would have contributed to the ever growing numbers of scuttlers in Strangeways Prison.

Despite this however it would be fun to have a scuttler in the family!   

Monday, 7 October 2013

Happy 20th Birthday Inscape!

On Sunday 6th October Inscape House opened its doors to former pupils and staff to celebrate the school’s 20th anniversary. This had been preceded on Friday by the grand opening of its newly built extension. The outcome was a lot of laughter, catching up with old friends and plenty of cake! It seems apt after a weekend of celebration to look a bit more closely at the last 20 years of the school. It has been an interesting one!

Inscape Birthday Cake