Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Woman's Day

As today is International’s Women’s Day it seems only fitting to dedicate this week’s blog to all of the women who have worked for and cared for the children in our charity over the years. Some we have talked about before; Annie Shaw for example dedicated over 50 years of her life to the Manchester Refuges, being an active member of the committee and taking a particular interest in the Cheetham Hill Homes, which included the 6 Orphan Homes, Bethesda, Tetlow Grove and Rosen Hallas; Harriet Smethurst worked for the charity for 37 years as Matron of Rosen Hallas, travelling across to Canada every year with her party of girls and Miss Pickford ran Bethesda, caring for all the ‘delicate children’ that entered through its doors. 

Annie Shaw on left
But those are to name but a few. Looking at the censuses the homes in the early days had many women working to look after the children. Alongside this they helped to organise fetes, set up sewing circles and actively campaigned to promote the work of the charity. As the years went on house mothers continued to have a lasting effect on the homes. In Cheadle the first homes that were built on the Belmont Estate, Crossley Gaddum and Hayes Shaw still remain on the site, now as schools. A plaque is attached to the building in memory of Daisy Ashcroft who was housemother there from the 1920s to 1950s.  

Along with Miss Naylor, the two house parents cared for the girls in the home for more than 25 years.

“Miss Ashcroft I must say, she was very good, and she was a cultured person as well. I think that’s one of the good things they did bring, was to get us to become a Christian. I definitely think that helped a great deal". - Shaw Home resident, 1940s.

“Mother was very caring” – Shaw Home resident, 1950s.

Hayes Shaw Home, 1950s
In 2012, the school which took over the Shaw building changed its name from the Child and Youth Care Education Service (CYCES) to Ashcroft School in tribute to Miss Ashcroft.

All the women that worked in the homes brought hard work, care and passion to those children they were responsible for. Without them the charity would not be here today to continue its work.

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