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Caring for mind and body- the Working Lads Homes

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Provision for boys in the Charity’s care once they reached working age came in the form of Homes for Working Boys, also known as Young Men’s Homes or Working Lads Homes. Established in 1873 just a few years after the Charity began, these homes accommodated 15 to 18 year olds who had been cared for by the Charity as children and were now in regular employment either in the workshops of the Charity’s Central Refuge or elsewhere in the city. No such provision was provided for girls who often went into domestic service. One home of 12 boys was first established in Grosvenor Street, Oxford Road but this was felt to be too far from the Charity’s centre of operations at Strangeways and the boys could not be supervised sufficiently meaning the home was soon moved to Lower Broughton. Four homes in this area had been established by 1877 each with around 15 boys apprenticed to various trades. The homes were under the care of a ‘father’ and ‘mother’. The boys paid towards their board but once they

The Remand Home- 'he just made a slip'

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Exploring services provided by the Charity which are perhaps lesser-known brings me to their work with juvenile offenders which ultimately led to the creation in 1910 of a Remand Home dedicated to the care of young offenders until it closed in 1945.  Even before the creation of the Remand Home the Charity took an interest in children considered to be juvenile offenders. The Charity were particularly interested in the reasons for children being brought before the magistrates, recording that between December 1900 and January 1901 children were brought for, ‘begging’, ‘wandering’, ‘station loitering’, ‘stealing boots’ and being a ‘shop door thief’.  The Children’s Shelter opened in 1884 staying open 24 hours a day for any concerned person or official to take unaccompanied children. Some children found on the streets of Manchester or Salford were however taken to the Police Station and to Court for such ‘offences’ as begging, wandering or sleeping out. The Children's Shelter and Remand

Creation of a Summer Camp- the first 15 years

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Alongside the Charity's regular work in providing homes for destitute children they also operated a Summer Camp offering boys from the poorest districts of Manchester and Salford the opportunity of their first holiday. The camp began on a small scale in 1883 but operated fully from 1886 when between June and September 262 boys enjoyed a week away. This number increased to over 1700 boys by 1899. Before the camp was firmly established in Birkdale, Southport in 1894, it operated from Morecombe, Llandudno and Lytham. M189/9/2/1 Boys Summer Camp, Ansdell near Lytham, 1891 Descriptions of the camp at Llandudno in 1886 from the Charity's Annual Report states a 'military idea pervaded the whole camp' with bugle calls to prayers morning and night. The Superintendent of the camp described how the children had not seen the sea before and the children referred to playing cricket on the beach.  Outside the Summer Camp there would have no opportunity for bathing in the sea or going

What I like best...

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  The records found in the Trust’s archive are mostly written by those in authority and obtaining the views of the children in the Charity’s care is rare. For those in the Charity's care in the mid-1930s however we have several short essays in response to an essay question set for the children entitled, ‘What I like best at Belmont and why’. The children were only invited to comment on their ‘best’ thing and so the picture we get is not balanced but this is still a valuable opportunity to hear the children’s thoughts on their home life. The answer as to why this essay was set for the children is answered in an edition of the Charity’s magazine of 1935 which explains this was the question set for an essay competition with an annual prize donated by a supporter of the Charity who, the magazine states, enjoyed hearing about the children’s activities. A small selection of these essays written in October 1935 by children aged between nine and 13 reveals some of the ‘best things’ ref

The 100 year history of Crossley/Gaddum

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This year marks some important anniversaries with regards to the Charity's presence in Cheadle.  After the purchase of over 23 acres of land the first of the Charity's children moved into Cheadle in 1920 to a building that already existed known as Belmont House, which in 2023 is currently being partially demolished. The Charity however began constructing their own buildings soon after, the first completed was known as Crossley/Gaddum now home to Inscape House School. The building officially opened almost 100 years ago in July 1923 with 40 boys from the Charity's orphan homes in George Street, Cheetham Hill moving in soon after. Stone Laying Ceremony for Crossley/Gaddum building, Cheadle 1922 Two years later in 1925 later Hayes/Shaw now home to Ashcroft School opened and 20 girls and 20 boys again moved from the George Street homes to Cheadle, meaning all together over 120 children were accommodated on the Cheadle site. The Charity's ambition was however even greater. Th

Penmaen Head, Colwyn Bay- The Gateway to Health

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I've recently been exploring the history of the Charity's children's convalescent Home "Tanllwyfan" on Penmaen Head, Colwyn Bay. Described as 'the gateway to health' in the Charity's Annual Reports this was the second location for the Charity's children's convalescent home, the first opened in Lytham in 1883. The Lytham property however with only 20 beds hadn't been able to meet the high demand for places for those children not eligible for a permanent home with the Charity, but in need of respite after illness. The Old Colwyn property fit the bill with more space and land. The property had previously been a private residence and a boarding school before it came under the Charity's ownership and was opened as a convalescent home on 7 August 1915. The 1936 Annual Report describes the home as having 41 beds, magnificent views of the sea and an 'abundance of sunshine and fresh air' with ample playing fields where the children '

A Staff Reunion of 1925

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 As I was searching the 1925 edition of the Charity's magazine, the Children's Haven, for something completely unrelated I came across an article about a staff reunion held at Bethesda to celebrate the golden wedding of an employee, a Mr Crick. As well as detailing the gifts received by Mr and Mrs Crick on their anniversary (two Chesterfield chairs), the article provides a list of past and present staff members in attendance. Many of these staff  had worked for the Charity for decades which led me to see if I could find out anymore about some of those individuals named. The reason for the staff reunion of December 1925 was the occasion of Mr and Mrs Crick's golden wedding anniversary where Mr Crick declared if he had his time again he would choose, ' the same girl for a wife '. The image below from The Children's Haven edition of 1927 allows us to put a face to the names. Having been in charge of the boot making and boot repair departments since around 1901 wher