Princess Mary Adelaide Training Home, Richmond, Surrey
In 1886, the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants (MABYS) opened a training home at Ivy House, Marshgate, Richmond, for training girls in laundry and other domestic work. The Home particularly catered for girls from workhouses, so long as they were of good character. A charge of 5s. or 6s. a week was made for each inmate received.
The growth of the establishment soon necessitated a move to larger premises and a suitable property at 4 The Green, Richmond, was offered to the Home's committee by the Hon. Algernon Tollemach. The work of the Home gained the support of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, the Duchess of Teck, and on May 28th, 1887, Her Royal Highness opened the new premises that were to bear her name.
The Duchess took a great personal interest in the Home. She presided at the committee meetings, and sent hampers of vegetables from her own garden for the inmates. At Christmas, a tree was always given, and on these occasions tea was served in the underground kitchen. The Duchess would sit at the head of the table pouring out tea and talking to the girls, while her daughter Princess May took the cups round the table. After the meal, the Duchess distributed presents to the girls.,
On March 27th, 1893, the building was almost destroyed by fire. A week earlier, one the inmates had set fire to the Home and had been remanded to Richmond Workhouse. It was suspected that the latest blaze had been deliberately caused by some of the other girls. All the girls escaped without harm and were sheltered for the night in the houses of various friends of the Home. After major rebuilding work, the Home was reopened by the Duchess on March 28th, 1895. The establishment was now also licensed as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls placed out from workhouses by Boards of Guardians. The Home could accommodate up to 14 girls, aged 13 to 15 at their date of admission, and was superintended at this date by Miss Rednall.
By 1912, the girls at the Home were said to need 'special training owing to backwardness, or delicacy of health and lack of early care. The superintendent was now Miss Leftley.
The Home closed in around 1918.
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.
- Fairly few records relating to MABYS appear to survive. Try using the National Archives Discovery system to search for either "Metropolitan Association For Befriending Young Servants" or "MABYS Association".
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
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