Thursday, 11 July 2019

On board a training ship

The monthly magazines created by the Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuges and Homes have always been an interesting representation of the charity’s work and activities. Originally established in 1879 as the Children’s Worker, the magazine aimed to provide news and events about the charity to interested parties. Consequently, it gave a more detailed account of the services and looked more into the social aspects of the charity rather than the administrative ones.

We have spoken about the Indefatigable service before. This was a training ship for ‘destitute lads of good character’. Boys would sign up for a three-year course to learn to be a seaman. The Christian Worker edition of 1887 gives a detailed account of a typical day aboard the ship, which would have been experienced by the boys on board.

“The boys are divided into two watches, the port and the starboard. From 9am to 12 noon one set are engaged in ordinary school duties, going through a systematic course of reading, spelling, writing, geography, arithmetic, dictation and scripture. The other set are meanwhile pursuing a course of technical instruction at the opposite side of main deck.”

Aboard the Indefatigable, 1883
“The second set of lads are engaged in making clothes, learning to knot and splice, to make hammocks and mats and, when weather permits, are initiated into the practice of a sailor’s life. In the summer, they are accustomed to going aloft, to setting and reefing sails, sending up and down masts and yards, and generally, are taught as much practical navigation as can be imparted upon a training-ship in berth.”

The ship was supported by voluntary contributions and was under the joint management at the time of Charles Bushell and Thomas Henry Ismay. Thomas was the Father of Joseph Bruce Ismay, the notorious managing director of the Titanic when the ship sunk in 1912. He had founded the White Star Line but also gave generously to many seafaring charities.

The Manchester Refuges sent boys ‘constitutionally fit for sea’ to the training ship, paying £10 per annum for the three years. This was a reduced fee of a normal place with the Refuge committee noting, ‘the indefatigable committee deserve some return from our city for thus receiving Manchester boys at half the cost”. The option of the training ship was of great benefit to the charity. Like many of its services, it provided the chance for those in its care to learn the skills necessary for future employment. It complied with the charity’s mantra; ‘we help those who try to help themselves’. The aim was to give children a future.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Like to know more about a certain home or period in the Together Trust's history? Why not comment and let us know.