Friday, 29 November 2013

The Greatness of Ducie Street

In 1888 a set of buildings were purchased on Great Ducie Street, near to the main Central Refuge on Francis Street. These were originally held under lease from the Lord Ducie estate.

Artist's Impression
Various services passed through these buildings but the main ones consisted of;
  • Working Lad’s Home (1891-1917)
The Working Lad's Home and Institute provided a form of family life for lads aged 18-21, who were in regular work. These homes were originally located in Broughton and the service moved to George Street around 1920.
  • Boys’ Emigration Home (1891-1914)
The Sir William Stevenson Emigration Training Home was set up on Great Ducie Street to help prepare boys for their life overseas. It was officially opened in 1891 but closed in 1914 when the Refuge’s properties on Great Ducie Street were requisitioned for a Military hospital.
  • Boys' Brigade Home (1887-1910)
The Boys' Brigade Home catered for boys working in the Shoeblack, Caxton or Messenger Brigades. When the new Children’s Shelter was built in 1910 the service took up room on Chatham Street. 

In 1892 a book salon was opened, which also contained the offices of the Christian Worker magazine. 

They were originally opened by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Morton Stanley in October 1900. According to the Manchester Courier the famous couple were ‘driven to the Town Hall being preceded by the band and Manchester boys of the Indefatigable training ship and the boys from the Refuge, including the messenger boys’ brigade and the shoe black brigade each by being attired in the neat prim uniform which distinguishes the various departments of the Refuge’.

The buildings were utilised for many years until the start of the First World War when the homes were closed due to financial constraints. Residents were moved to other branches of the charity. The buildings themselves were taken over by the government as a military hospital before being sold to help pay for the transfer to Cheadle in 1920.

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