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

Lily, Sophia, Richard and Joseph were four orphans who are all involved in the story of Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces. Told through research into the Together Trust archives, the orphan’s stories were collated through several different archival resources still retained by the charity.

Let’s take Joseph as an example:

The first port of call for researching individuals within the collection is to turn to the admission books. These give a case history to the child. We know with Joseph for example, that prior to admission his father had passed away and his mother admitted to a ‘lunatic asylum’. Before being admitted into the charity’s Orphan Homes on George Street he was living with a ‘drunken’ Aunt. In some cases (such as Joseph’s) a photograph is included of the child.

As Joseph was admitted after 1886 at the age of 6, the archive also contains a case file for him. This consisted of his application form (similar to his admission record) and an indenture, signed by his poverty stricken Grandfather when handing him over to the charity. Some case files also include a visitor’s report and letters. 

Joseph’s Indenture
At the age of 14 Joseph was emigrated across to Canada. From here our research turned to the charity’s collection of emigration books, which contained reports and letters compiled about Joseph in Canada. The reports allow our timeline about Joseph’s life to continue, informing us which farms he lived on and what work he undertook, up until the age of 18. Further mention on his records also reveals that Joseph signed up for World War One in Toronto in February 1916. He fought for his adopted country for 2 1/2 years before being killed on the 26th August 1918, most likely during the Battle of the Scarpe.

You’ll hear more about Joseph and his friends at our Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces performance at Manchester Central Library next Tuesday 7th June, 11-12. There are still free tickets available and we would love for you to join us!

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