Monday, 4 January 2016

146 years young

The 4th January is always a special date in the Together Trust calendar. It signifies another birthday, in this case 146 years since the charity was founded. Of course the charity has changed in those 146 years. It has had to, to allow it to continue caring for young people, as well as families and adults who need our support. But a birthday gives us time to reflect on our past, and appreciate the work carried out before us.

So let’s have a look at the very first boy who entered into our home. 

First Home on Quay Street

William was 15 years old when he entered our very first home on Quay Street. At this point the home was a simple affair with hammocks to sleep in at night and breakfast in the morning. During the day the boys were expected to find work. William was described as quite destitute although he could read and write to some degree. Prior to his admittance William’s night time residence had been in boiler houses and his days were spent wandering the streets. With both parents dead and no relatives to take him in he had nowhere to go.

Similar to many of the boys who were admitted in those early days William was given a role in one of the brigades set up by the charity to give the boys a useful employment. On the 1871 census William is recorded as a parcel messenger. Within this role he would have delivered parcels, working largely from the two main railway stations in Manchester, Victoria and London Road (now Piccadilly). 

Parcel Brigade

After a successful two years working in the parcel brigade William left the Refuge on 5th December 1871. At this point he had secured a job with accommodation. His entry in the charity’s first admission book states ‘having obtained a situation able to keep himself has left with consent of committee’. William went on get a job as an engraver in Manchester.

It was a success story for the early committee of the Refuge. It had taken a boy off the street and helped him to provide for himself. William's story was one of many which showed the real need for the work of the Refuge in the 1870s and how it improved the lives of children in the slum areas of Manchester. It is unlikely that the early committee would ever have guessed the organisation they set up would still be going 146 years later. But as we celebrate another birthday we are proud of their achievements. 

1 comment:

  1. Love reading these stories - it really reminds me why fundraising is so important.


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