Benton Grange, South Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
The Convent of the Good Shepherd was established in 1888 at Benton Grange, South Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. Run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, it provided a 'home for penitents and young girls with dangerous surroundings, or who need training'. The establishment could eventually accommodate up to 180 Roman Catholic girls, who were occupied in laundry work and needlework. The home was supported by charitable contributions and the income generated by the work of the inmates.
On January 1st, 1963, the premises were certified for use as an Approved School for Senior Girls. Accommodation was provided for up to 44 Roman Catholic girls aged between their 14th and 16th birthdays at their date of admission. The School was managed by the Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Rescue Society. The headmistress was Sister Rose Goodear.
In 1973, the School became a Community Home with Education (CHE) run in conjunction with Newcastle upon Tyne Borough Council.
In an effort to make keep the Home operating with a smaller number of staff, the number of places it offered reduced to 40 in 1978, 34 in 1983 and 22 in 1984. Various options for its future were explored in 1983, but with a decline in demand for CHE placed in the region, and a reluctance of local authorities to commit themselves to funding places at Benton Grange, it closed on August 31st, 1984.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who owned the site, agreed to the Rescue Society using the building as student accommodation for a period of two years. In 1986, however, the Order decided to sell the property. It was demolished in 1987 and modern housing was erected on the site.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- For enquires about records of homes run by the Good Shepherd Sisters in the UK, contact Ms. Julia Kerr (email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has various reports on the establishment.
- Bartley, Paula Prostitution: Prevention and Reform in England, 1860-1914 (2000, Routledge)
- Finnegan, Frances Poverty and Prostitution: A Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York (1979, CUP)
- Hopkins, Jane Ellice, Work Among the Lost (1870, William Macintosh)
- Nokes, Harriet Twenty-Three Years in a House of Mercy (1886, Rivingtons)
- Taylor, William J The Story of the Homes (1907, London Female Preventive and Reformatory Institution)
- Thomas, E W Twenty-Five Years' Labour Among the Friendless and Fallen (1897, Shaw)
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