Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Christmas Message

With only a few days left until Christmas Day we thought we’d finish off the year with a motto card from 1905. These were created yearly by the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuge and Homes in order to send to all of their children in Canada. They were also given to all the young people in the Manchester Homes on Christmas Day morning. 

motto card for 1905

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Younger children at the charity

In the early days of the charity’s formation, the committee helped mainly older boys. It is likely they were the most visible and more likely to be seen sleeping out on the city streets. Looking at the first admission book all boys admitted were aged between 10 and 16. At that time of life the charity deemed boys who had been brought up on the street not easy to manage and a decision was made to take them younger, to try and have a more positive influence. This resulted, in 1875, with the creation of the first Orphan Home. Originally on Johnson Street, these catered for younger children and were much smaller in size than the main Central Refuge on Francis Street. 

Orphan’s Homes, George Street, 1904

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

It's here! A 'Journey to Canada'

As promised this week heralds the grand unveiling of our much anticipated Heritage Lottery Funded film, ‘A Journey to Canada’. The production was first shown during our two performances of ‘Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces’ to a live audience. We are now able to put the film online, so that those who couldn’t make the performance are able to see the work created by our young people.
A Journey to Canada

Thursday, 1 December 2016

In case you missed it...

We had a fantastic time last week as our Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces project showcased all the work completed so far in two interactive performances. Audiences made up of Together Trust staff, service users and the local community gathered together on the 24th and 25th November to be taken back in time to the nineteenth century. The show included a radio piece, detailing the story of one orphan’s journey from Manchester to Canada and our heritage documentary film, ‘A Journey to Canada’, alongside a live performance.

Boat scene looking towards Canada

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

It's performance time...

It is now only a few days until our two HLF performances of Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces. The young people involved have been working hard to create a theatrical extravaganza to entertain and educate the local population about the Together Trust’s past.

Orphan's histories

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Young Roots - learning new skills

We return this week to our Heritage Lottery Fund project, Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces. Over the last few weeks the young people involved have been learning lots of new skills in preparation for their two live performances on the 24th and 25th November. 

Promotional Material

Friday, 4 November 2016

Bandmasters from the Refuge

As it’s Friday afternoon it’s time for a short story about one of our accomplished children and how their talents started whilst under the care of the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes.

Joseph Jennings

Monday, 24 October 2016

Treatment of Juvenile Offenders

The Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes, as regular readers to our blog will know, sailed across to Canada twice a year with parties of children. These parties were heading for a new life out of the city slums, on to the rich farming lands of Ontario. Their journey has already been well documented throughout this blog

In the corn at Marchmont

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Journey to Canada - diary event!

Our Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces’ is back in full swing again. Over the summer we’ve been busy working on our new film ‘A Journey to Canada’, where our young people have partaken in new experiences and worked in front of the camera, to produce a historical documentary based on the Together Trust’s past. We are really excited to reveal the result of this work, which will be shown for the first time during two live performances at the Together Trust Centre in November. 

Film Introduction

‘A Journey to Canada’ builds on previous work completed by young people at the Together Trust, who have been learning about the experiences of orphans who used to live in the charity’s homes in the early 1900s. The film centres round young people today experiencing activities that would have been undertaken by these 19th century orphans, embarking on their journey to Canada to start a new life.

We are now working on two live performances in which to showcase the film. Combining multimedia and live performance it promises to be an entertaining delve into the charity’s history.

On set
We are really hoping lots of people will come and join us for our events which be shown on the following dates. 
  • Thursday 24th November at 1:30pm 
  • Friday 25th November at 11:00am
More information will be on our website soon and you can catch a sneaky taster clip of the film below.

We hope you'll come and join us.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Accessing the archive through Manchester Central Library

As a charity archive we have many things to be grateful for. Firstly the fact that our ancestors have so lovingly preserved our records of old and passed them through the generations. There is a wealth of social history at our hands which contribute substantially both to the history of Manchester and to the history of childcare. We are also lucky that we have the means to continue to care for this collection today. Like many charities however, the Together Trust does not have the facilities to do this onsite. Archives need special conditions to ensure they are preserved for as long as possible. These include factors like stable temperatures and humidity, dust and pest free environments and protective packaging. Without these, archive materials can deteriorate at a faster rate, making access difficult.

Records storage

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Spreading the news in 1916

It’s been a while since we thought back to our Refuge boys on the Western Front. In September 1916 the Battle of the Somme was still raging and the Manchester population read the newspapers everyday, to try and gain some understanding into what was happening 400 miles away. 

Refuge soldiers

Friday, 9 September 2016

We're the famous Together Trust, and we went to Wembley

The Archives and Records Association (ARA) Conference is over for another year but as always it created plenty of opportunity for debate and learning. For a charity archivist it was a bit like being the proverbial ‘small fish in a big pond’ as professionals gathered from all sectors, ready to convey new techniques, technologies and ideas to the world of archives. For this small fish it meant an opportunity to discover and rethink methods of how to preserve, make access to and promote our own small collection. 

Wembley Stadium

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

'Global Futures' for archives

Next week sees the gathering of archivists and conservators from all over the UK and beyond, to London, for the annual Archives and Records Association (ARA) conference. For the lone archivist working in the north of England, it’s a chance to travel to the bright lights of the capital city and mix with other like minded professionals. This creates an opportunity to share new ideas, receive advice from your peers and hear about some of the wonderful work going on in archive repositories across the country and beyond.

Friday, 19 August 2016

An archaeological find

We’ve had our archaeologist caps on at the Together Trust campus this week. The summer holidays often results in building work to the schools in preparation for a new academic year. The modern age mixes with old as the ground has been dug up to create a 35 metre trench to install fibre optic cabling. It’s this manual work that can lead to surprising discoveries and bring up questions as to how this site used to be.

Digging a trench

Friday, 12 August 2016

A Russian connection

The vast majority of children who entered the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes were from Manchester and the surrounding areas. The charity began with the intention to take boys, and later girls, out of the city slums and give them safe, warm accommodation, where they could learn a trade and create a better life for themselves. A look at the admission books for the charity however, revealed that it was not just Mancunians who passed through the Refuge door. 

Of course Manchester appealed to people from all over. The Industrial Revolution meant people had swarmed to the cities looking for work. Certain areas therefore became well known as settlements for different nationalities. Ancoats, for example, became well known as ‘Little Italy’, as poverty caused many Italians to move away from their homeland. Ancoats was also home to a large population of Irish workers, many of whom lived in the cellars of the small, cramped houses. Up in Salford and Prestwich, people settled from Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. It is from this area we take out next story.

Philip and Samuel on admittance

Friday, 5 August 2016

The end of the line?

Last week’s blog centred round the will of Leonard Kilbee Shaw and the distribution of his final assets. A portion of this went to his adopted son, Robert, who we have mentioned once before in this blog. Robert is an interesting character, not least because of his mysterious beginnings and unknown connection to Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, prior to being adopted by them. We know little about his upbringing and consequent life. However, the release of new documents can often start a new trail to discovery. 


Friday, 29 July 2016

Wills and legacies

It’s been 114 years since the Together Trust lost its founder. A man still largely unknown to many, we’ve discussed through several of our blogs the work he did within the charity. From the very beginnings of opening a small home for boys on Quay Street, to the many different homes and services that were running during his lifetime, he left a legacy that continues today. 

Leonard Kilbee Shaw

Friday, 22 July 2016

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

The Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes had a well known motto in its early days:  
'We help those who try to help themselves’
It was a principle the charity stood by. It was the Refuge’s work to help those in need but it also expected those who were admitted to its homes to work hard to become useful members of society. 

Working hard in the printing department

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


The problem with war is people’s lives become numbers. For those who died in a battle like the Somme, which had as many as 19,000 killed on the first day alone, the sheer logistics of identifying and burying those who had died, was an overwhelming task. Those who were identified became a plot number, those who didn’t got an unmarked grave. The lives and stories behind those people become lost. For the young people from the Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuges and Homes who enlisted in World War One it was yet another adjustment to their ever changing lives.

World War One Soldier 
Let’s take Arthur as a good example:
  • Arthur was born in Manchester in 1892. His father was a labourer working in the starch works. 
  • He was born into a family with 2 older brothers and 2 older sisters.
  • He was admitted into Prestwich Workhouse around 1905. 
  • He was admitted to the Manchester Refuges in 1906. 
  • In May of that year he emigrated to Canada. 
  • He worked on various farms around Ontario. 
  • In 1914 he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • In 1916 he was transferred to France. He was wounded at the Somme in September of that year.
Growing up in Manchester at the turn of the century would often result in an inconsistent childhood. If parents couldn’t afford their bills or died, there was no welfare system in place to assist children. If no relative could take them in they often end up in the workhouse, as Arthur did. Prestwich Workhouse at this time was located in Crumpsall and like all others was a harsh place to spend part of your childhood. The Guardians however, had earmarked Arthur for yet more change and transferred him to the Refuges in order to be emigrated across to Canada.

Arthur had spent his first 14 years surrounded by the dark, soot stained buildings of Manchester. Here he likely played out in the narrow, crowded slums of the city. His last known residence before admittance to the workhouse was only streets away from where the Etihad Stadium can be found today. Then the area was densely packed and disease was rife. The change from this setting to the wide open landscape of Ontario, Canada must have been hugely unsettling to a small boy. Within a few weeks, he had left the only city he’d ever known, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and been placed on a farm with animals he’d never seen before and expected to do work he’d never partaken in.

But as years went by the new landscape would have become familiar, and despite movement to new farms, the work would been similar. The outbreak of War however, changed everything for the countries involved. Perhaps for an individual who had seen so many changes in his young life it was not quite so much of a shock that his life was being turned upside down again. He had learnt to deal with new ways of life, new sceneries, new countries.

Nothing however can prepare you for War.

In 1917 we see the return of Arthur to Marchmont Home, perhaps an area of refuge and comfort.

29 May 1917 – Marchmont Report
In a way, Arthur was lucky. Although injured, he survived the Somme to come back to Canada. The report above, found in the charity records, perhaps gives a semblance of identity back to one soldier from our homes. Once more, he had been faced with great change. Once more he had survived.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Battle of the Somme

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. Lasting over four months and claiming thousands of lives, it was the largest conflict on the Western Front during World War One. Like many other organisations the bloody battle affected the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes. There were a reported 19,240 British men killed on the first day alone. Albert was one of those men. In memory of all those who died during the battle, we tell his story. 

Manchester Battalions 

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Walking through the old gates to Belmont

This week we’re moving away from our young roots project and heading back home to Cheadle.

Last week we had a visit from a gentleman who used to live at Belmont House, back in the 1950s. This was his first visit to his old home since he left at the age of 7. Consequently we went on a walk of the grounds, both to Belmont House, which is next door to our current offices, and to the buildings onsite, once children’s homes and now schools. Visuals prompt memories and help to reconstruct the landscape as it used to be. Although the charity still resides on the same site it purchased 96 years ago, much as changed.

Entrance Gate to Belmont Estate, 1950s

Monday, 13 June 2016

Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces goes online!

We are excited to announce that the full version of our audio/visual piece for Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces is on our website for everyone to view.

The project now has a dedicated webpage on our Together Trust website, to allow us to share some of the amazing work our young people have been doing with the local community and beyond. As well as our audio/visual clip, we will be adding to this page as further work is completed. We hope people will enjoy watching them as much as we have enjoyed making them.   

In costume

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Come meet Joseph and friends

With only a week left to go until our first live performance of our Heritage Lottery Funded Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces, we thought we’d tell a few more stories about the orphans taking centre stage on Tuesday 7th June. 

Lily, Sophia, Richard and Joseph

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Songs and costumes

We’re slowly approaching our big performance at Manchester Histories Festival on the 7th June. Last week we told you all about the audio script, which we’ve recorded as part of the performance. This tells the story of Susannah, a girl who was admitted into the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes and was subsequently emigrated to Canada.

The young people want to give you more than just an educational story however. Further skills have been developed in song writing and costume making alongside the main recording. Two songs have been created for the piece, one describing the sea journey made from Liverpool to Canada, and the other concentrating on education in Manchester in the late nineteenth century.

Composing sea shanties

Monday, 16 May 2016

The radio script

Our Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces project is now in full swing. As highlighted in last week’s blog the research collated by the young people is now being put to good use in their radio script, telling the tale of Susannah, a young girl admitted to the homes of the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes in the late nineteenth century.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Meet our orphans

“I’m Richard, 11 years old. I was in Salford Workhouse until my Mum got a job as a servant. I hope she manages to keep it with the amount she drinks. Would you like a game of cup and ball?”

Richard, aged 11

We would like to introduce you to Richard. This is one of the lives we have been investigating during our young roots project ‘Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces’. The quote above introduces our audience to this orphan, as he meets a new admission to the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes. Throughout the radio script the young people involved in this project will tell the stories of their orphans, written through their own research into the individual children. It is their way of bringing these orphans' tales to life.

Richard for example entered the homes in 1899 at the age of 11. His father had passed away and consequently the family had ended up in Salford Workhouse. His Mother had eventually managed to get a job as a domestic but could only take it, if someone could look after Richard. The mother was also fond of drink and had not been looking after Richard properly. He was admitted into the Stevenson Emigration Training Home on Great Ducie Street. The building had a workshop and smithy in the basement, where the boys were taught useful handicrafts in preparation for emigration. 

Emigration Training Home on the right

Richard stayed at the Training Home for eighteen months before emigrating across to Canada in April 1901 on the Dominion. Here he was placed with a farmer in Colbourne, around 30 miles away from Marchmont, the receiving home for the Manchester Refuges. The reports sent back to the charity tell of a boy who ‘seems happy and contented’. By the age of 18, Richard was getting good wages and was ‘well able to do any kind of farm work’. He made a trip back to Manchester in 1905 to stay with his Aunt, but called into the Refuge requesting assistance to travel back to Canada, which he was duly obliged with.
The story of Richard and his contemporaries is being told as part of the Manchester Histories Festival at Manchester Central Library on Tuesday 7th June. This is a free event although tickets should be booked in advance. We’d love to see you there!