Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Second Anglo-Boer War

Over the last twelve months we’ve written several blogs on the Refuge’s involvement in World War One and how it was affected, both through the boys that fought for their country and the financial restrictions at home. With 2014 marking 100 years since the outbreak of the War, it has been important to mark the sacrifices made by the charity. However it is not the only war that our Refuge boys have fought in. 

Extract from the Children’s Haven, 1900

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

HLF grant helps young people discover charity's roots

The Together Trust is excited to be able to announce the start of a new project exploring the history of charity childcare in Victorian Manchester. Thanks to a grant of £38,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, young people within our services today will be able to take part in 'Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces', which will open up the charity’s history to the local community and beyond.

Together Trust Documents

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The importance of charity archives

This year’s Explore Your Archive campaign from The National Archives runs from the 14th - 22nd November and aims to get more people aware of archives and what can be discovered within their collections. It’s also a reminder that archives are everywhere. Not just within the large libraries and universities of the country but also within small businesses, charities and even within the family home. It ranges from the thousand of records stored at the National Archives in Kew through to the family letters hidden in the drawer of a writing desk, or the hundreds of email correspondence of a long standing publisher.

Part of the Together Trust Archive collection

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Armistice Day 2015

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the Together Trust came to a stop to remember. The Armistice came into being 97 years ago to remember those who had fallen in World War One. It has since become a symbol of remembrance for all those who have fought for their country. 

Together Trust Poppy Display, 2014

Friday, 6 November 2015

Cheadle's Big Bang

Cheadle's Big Bang is ready to let off some more fireworks...

Bringing in Guy Fawkes at Belmont

The main event will consist of two firework displays (both a children’s and main display) alongside a bonfire, hot food and drinks, and a selection of fairground attractions for all ages. Always hugely popular it has the added bonus that money raised from the ticket sales go towards the Together Trust, as well as other local charities.

Belmont has always celebrated Guy Fawkes night and was a popular event for the children who lived at our homes here in Cheadle. If you're looking for a firework display to go to this weekend. Why not pop along. We'd love to see you there!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Rationing at Belmont

I came across a ration book in one of our files today. Dated from the 1950s and still containing a lot of its coupons, it’s a good representative of life in the UK after World War Two. Every young person that was in the Belmont Homes during that time would have been issued with a ration book. So what were these and what were they for?

Ration Book 1953-1954

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants Exhibition

The Together Trust has been working with the V&A Museum of Childhood over the last few months in conjunction with its new exhibition that opened on Saturday entitled, On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants. The exhibition tells the true stories of Britain's child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. Running from the 24th October 2015 to 12 June 2016 it gives visitors an insight into the migration schemes that ran between 1869 and 1970.

 Map showing location of Receiving Homes in Canada

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The life and works of Oliver Heywood

A casual stroll around Albert Square in Manchester reveals statues of many prominent figures in the history of the city. The large memorial to Prince Albert rests happily alongside a bishop (James Frasier) and a politician (William Gladstone). Also within this square stands a statue of Oliver Heywood, a prominent banker in Manchester and the city's first Honorary Freeman.

Statue of Oliver Heywood, Albert Square

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A health giving mountain

As we enjoy, what could be, the remaining few days of warm sunshine before autumn approaches, it seemed apt to return to Old Colwyn and the seaside home of Tanllwyfan, which opened 100 years ago. This provided for children, not eligible for admission to the permanent homes, a recuperating agency by the seaside for several weeks.

The new home at Old Colwyn

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


We’ve spoke before on this blog about a training ship moored in Birkenhead called the Indefatigable. The Refuge had an arrangement with the committee of the Indefatigable to take boys who entered the Refuge and had a constitution for the sea. Hundreds made the short trip across to Merseyside to learn the sailor life and went on to have successful careers in the Navy.

On board the Indefatigable 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Britain's longest reigning monarch

Today is a momentous day in history as Queen Elizabeth II officially becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. She overtakes Queen Victoria’s previous record of 63 years, seven months and two days. She also becomes the longest reigning female monarch in world history. Of course the Together Trust has seen the reign of both monarchs. In fact it has witnessed six sovereigns rule over England during its lifetime. 

 Charity's Homes in 1952

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Criminal Manchester

“The first fruit of our mission from the Charter Street Roughs”

Robert was admitted to the Central Refuge on Francis Street on the 1 November 1875. The first admission book, where his entry is recorded, is scant in detail, as was typical for the first few years of the charity. We do know however that he was admitted at the age of 17, both parents having passed away and that he was ‘rescued’ by the charity from the notorious district of Angel Meadow. 

Admission Entry for Robert, November 1875

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What about the girls?

Last week we looked at the different types of boys that were admitted to the Strangeway Homes at the turn of the century. This week we turn to the set of homes at Cheetham Hill to give a breakdown of the type of girls that found their way into the charity’s care.

Elder girls in the laundry at Rosen Hallas

Monday, 17 August 2015

Who can be admitted?

The Annual Report of 1909 gave a breakdown of the type of boys admitted to the Strangeways Homes at that time. 

 Boys at the Refuge were admitted for all kinds of reasons 

Friday, 7 August 2015

The mysterious disappearance of Tom

On the 9th October 1896 a policeman turned up to the Children’s Shelter on Chatham Street bringing with him a 15 year old boy. After many months tramping around the country Tom had found himself in Manchester, destitute and alone. Originally from Liverpool, the family had moved to Dartford where Tom’s father drove an omnibus. A ‘very wild character and of loose habits’ Tom was abandoned when his father fell heavily into debt and ran off. 

 Tom's Application Form

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Helping generations of families

When the Manchester Refuges began in 1870 it catered for children in some of the most dire straits. The slum areas of Angel Meadow, Ancoats and Blackfriars spewed out dirty, ragged and half starved children that were often in need of assistance from the church or charities to avoid the dreaded shadow of the Workhouse.

In the Manchester Slums

Monday, 13 July 2015

Finding space to play

On the 22nd July it will be 113 years since the death of the Manchester Refuge’s founder, Leonard Kilbee Shaw. The vision and work of Shaw set the foundation stones of the charity, which continues to thrive today as the Together Trust

Recreation Ground, Cheetham, 1906

Friday, 26 June 2015

Emigration Records

In 1872 the first nine boys were sent from the Manchester Refuges to Marchmont Home, Belleville, under the care of Annie Macpherson. They were the first of 2129 children to make the long trip to Canada. 

Plaque outside Marchmont Home, Belleville

Friday, 12 June 2015

Supporting our Cheadle Festival

It’s that time of the year again when we open our gates and welcome everyone to our 94th Cheadle Festival. Over the years it has been called the Belmont Garden Fete and the Bethesda Festival, but however it is known it still aims to create a fun day out to the local community.

Ticket from 1939

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The annual journey of Harriet Smethurst

Harriet Smethurst was Matron of the orphan homes at Cheetham Hill from 1886 until 1923. Within this time she made 20 round trips across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, in charge of the various emigration parties of girls from Manchester. In the 1896 July edition of the Children’s Haven, Harriet gives a detailed description of one of these trips. 

Girls’ Emigration Party 1898

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Thomas' Story

Today we tell a story from the Children’s Haven in regards to Thomas, a Refuge boy who ended up on the charity’s training ship, the Indefatigable.

Thomas first came to the attention of the Manchester and Salford Refuge in 1896 when he turned up at midnight at the open-all-night shelter on Chatham Street, accompanied by a policeman. At the tender age of 12 years he had been sleeping on the streets of Manchester as he had nowhere else to go.

Thomas on admittance

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Children’s Haven

The Together Trust has a got a series of books in its archive designed to promote the workings of the charity to the Manchester and Salford community. Known originally as the Christian Worker and from 1895 as the Children’s Haven, it aimed to disseminate news of the charity, encourage donations and advertise events and meetings to the public. 

Children’s page from the Christian Worker

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Separation in the nineteenth century

Thousands of children lived in extreme poverty in Manchester and Salford during the nineteenth century. In the days before the welfare state there were few systems in place to provide aid to those who were unable to work. For parents with young children and families to raise, life could be incredibly tough. So what were the options available to those living on the breadline? 

Manchester Street Lads

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Harry and the Gallipoli Campaign

With the 100 year anniversary of the start of the Gallipoli Campaign coming up on Saturday it seemed apt to have a look at this famous campaign and its links with the Manchester Refuges. The Campaign intended to secure the Gallipoli peninsula, a strait which provided a sea route to the Russian Empire. A naval attack was launched with the aim of capturing the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. This was eventually repelled and after eight months of fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.


Friday, 10 April 2015

The Refuge and the Graveyard

On such a beautiful Manchester day what could be more wonderful to blog about than its stunning churches and surrounding landscape. That’s right today’s blog is all about graveyards...

Leonard Shaw’s Grave stone, St Paul’s Church, Kersal Moor

Friday, 27 March 2015

Youth Indentures

On a journey to the archives this week, one case file turned up a new document. Most of these case files are fairly similar in content. All contain the now familiar admission form detailing child’s circumstances, parent’s names, previous addresses etc. Other common documents include visitor’s reports, letters from concerned individuals and indentures that are signed by a parent or guardian of the child.

Parent Indenture, 1903

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ernest's Story

'When the stones under his bare feet are frozen he is sent out to wander, to plead, to pester, to get thrust out of the way and  cursed by some, to get for his match-box the penny for which all the joy and health of his childhood are being sold' - Reverend Benjamin Waugh, Contemporary Review, July 1888. 

Between 1885 and 1894 the Manchester Refuges operated a branch of work called the Manchester and Salford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. It was a predecessor to the NSPCC investigating and prosecuting neglectful or abusive parents in the courts. The establishment of a Manchester branch by the NSPCC in 1894 brought an end to this work, but not before 9,922 children had been assisted. After 1894 the charity had a close working relationship with the NSPCC and the admission books continued to tell stories of children whose parents were prosecuted by the courts. 

Letterhead for branch

Monday, 9 March 2015

On board the S.S.Victorian

During a trip to Liverpool Maritime Museum last week, it was impossible to not take a look at the large Titanic exhibition they have on display. The devastation of this event is well known and got me thinking to our own children who made the same trip every year across the icy Atlantic towards Canada.

On the 12 April 1912, the S.S. Victorian set sail from Liverpool to make one of its frequent trips across the Atlantic to Halifax, Canada. On board were 33 boys who were starting a new life in Ontario.

1897 Emigration party outside of Manchester Town Hall

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tom Thumb and Arthur

As regular readers to this blog will know we have thousands of entries in our admission books for children who came under our care. Many have similar sad upbringings; death of parents or belonging to families which could not afford to bring them up, at a time before any social welfare was introduced. The charity however, took in any child in need of aid and some had unusual backgrounds.

Admission Book 1892

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A pioneering camp

After the last few days of snow and ice I felt a need for my thoughts to turn to warmer days and the approach of spring (a little premature but a delightful thought all the same!) And what better way to do that then to revert back across to Birkdale and have another look at our dear old summer camp and the thousands of children who were given a much needed break by the seaside. 

Summer Camp, Birkdale, 1900s

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

More on the Moody party

We told a story all the way back in 2011 about twelve lads who set sail from our orphans homes across to Northfield in Massachusetts under the guardianship of the well known preacher Dwight Lyman Moody. The recent digitisation of our orphan home books by Borthwick Archives, at the end of last year, has revealed more information about the younger children who entered our homes, including the individual circumstances of the Moody party. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

145 years young

Somehow we find ourselves in 2015. I was reminded yesterday on Twitter (quite ashamedly) that the charity had turned 145 years old. England has changed a great deal in those 145 years but unfortunately not quite enough for the Together Trust to no longer be needed. It seems apt today to have a look at how the Refuge was viewed back in 1870 when it first began and how it fulfilled a need, long felt in Manchester, of providing a home and temporary employment for the destitute lads of the city. 

First Home, Quay Street