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

After the first six months of opening the following statistics were revealed;
  • 144 boys were admitted from 4th January – 4th July 1870 averaging around 40 permanent residents a month.
  • The lads were in three separate divisions; shoeblacks, messengers and those who had acquired permanent situations.
  • All earned wages and a proportion of this was paid for their own maintenance. The rest was spent in clothes for themselves or lodged as savings.
  • The boys were taught reading, writing and arithmetic three nights a week.
  • The institution was entirely unsectarian; no question to the boys’ religion was asked on admission.  

First lads to be admitted, January 1870

Even within the first six months the need for extended premises was being sought by the Committee. The Manchester Weekly Times in August 1870 reported on the first half yearly report and highlighted how the 40 bed first home was inadequate for the number of applications being made. It was another year however, until the charity moved to larger premises on Francis Street.

Of course from then on the organisation grew and grew to make the charity we all know today. A very Happy Birthday to us!

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