Industrial School / Ballacloan / Dalmeny, Ramsey, Isle of Man, Isle of Man
The Ramsey Industrial School began life in the winter of 1862 as a short-term Ragged School for destitute children, founded by Miss Susannah Gibson, daughter of a local shipyard owner. In 1863, the gift of a plot of land on Shipyard Road, North Ramsey, by a Mr Callow, together with other financial contributions, led to the erection of a more permanent establishment. An 1863 directory described the aims of the new institution, which initially was restricted to girls:
It should be noted that although the establishment was referred to as an Industrial School, it was not in the same category as the Certified Industrial Schools operating elsewhere in the British Isles that house children placed by there by magistrates' courts.
Following her (by now bankrupt) father's death in around 1870s, Miss Gibson lived in the School, acting as its Superintendent, with Miss Anne Sprainger appointed as Matron. In 1871, there were eight boys and three girls in residence, with ages ranging from 5 to 14.
In the late 1870s, when Miss Gibson's health was failing, her aunt — a Mrs Gibson of Newcastle — bought her a nearby property known as Ballacloan on what is now Windsor Mount. Miss Gibson took up residence in the house and an annexe, referred to as the 'cottage', was erected for the children. Following her death in June 1880, the home was taken over by the National Children's Home (NCH).
In 1884, the home was listed as accommodating 38 girls, who were taught needlework and dressmaking.
It is said that in its early days, when the home was short of funds, Ballacloan decided to offer baths to the public. Unfortunately, it appears that no-one in Ramsey was willing to admit that they needed a bath, and the idea was soon scrapped.
In 1917, the home was expanded by the addition of another property in the area called Dalmeny on Cumberland Road. The girls moved into Dalmeny while the boys stayed at Ballacloan. In 1920, the total capacity of the home was seventy children.
Ballacloan was closed in 1956 while Dalmeny, now a mixed home for 24 children, remained in use for several more decades.
All three of the home's locations still exist. Dalmeny now forms part of Ramsey Cottage Hospital while the other two properties are now private residences.
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.
- Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home). Can provide access to their own records for individuals who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Help also for those searching for family history information.
- Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
- Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
- Howard, Philip J Philip: a Strange Child (Dalkeith Publishing, 2007)
- Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
- Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)
- Thwaites, William Thwaites' Isle of Man Directory (1863, Sheffield Publishing Company)
- Action For Children.
- Their History — a website on the homes by a former resident.
- Growing up in the NCH — a forum for those who spent time in NCH homes.
- Scenes from various NCH Homes — 1960s film footage.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 1 — Arriving at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 2 — Harpenden Oval.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 3 — Annual Convocation, Alverstoke
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 4 — Special facilities at Danesford, Chipping Norton, Harpenden and Frodsham.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 5 — Founders Day at Princess Alice Orphanage; training at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 6 — Harpenden.
- NCH Documentray (1964) Part 1 — Disabled and special needs at Harpenden and Chipping Norton
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 2 — Disabled and special needs children at Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 3 — Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 4 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 5 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 6 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 1
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 2
- NCH Brackley (1960s)
- Danesford School (1960s)
- Manx Methodist Historical Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.