Staffordshire County Industrial Home / Rowley Hall School for Girls

The Staffordshire County Industrial Home (also known as the County Female Refuge) was founded by the initiative of Lord Lichfield and opened in September, 1878, to receive discharged female prisoners and 'friendless women'. Its premises, on Sandon Road, Stafford, were erected by public subscription and could accommodate around 40 inmates who were trained for domestic service. The Home had its own laundry which was the chief form of employment provided. The running costs of the home were partly derived from the laundry and partly from voluntary subscriptions.

In 1880, the staff at the Home comprised: a lady superintendent, laundry superintendent, two laundresses, a porteress, two kitchen matrons, a "needle ward" matron, and an engine man. For the first four years of its operation, the Home was superintended by Miss Kirby who was succeeded by Miss Harkom.

The School site is shown on the 1901 map below.

Stafford County Industrial Home site, c.1901.

Former Stafford County Industrial Home from the north, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Stafford County Industrial Home from the north-east, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Stafford County Industrial Home from the south-east, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Those leaving the Home who retained their situation for at least a year, and received a good report from their employer, were awarded a gratuity of one guinea and an outfit. Due to numbers of girls quitting their posts immediately after receiving this payment, the scheme was amended to spread the payment of the award over two years.

In March, 1895, the Home received a royal visit from the Duchess of Teck who inaugurated the operation of its new laundry machinery.

On January 19th, 1916, the School was certified to operate as a Reformatory, taking girls committed by the courts to a period of detention.

In 1930, the institution moved to much larger premises in Rowley Park, Stafford, becoming known as Rowley Hall Training School. Three years later, Rowley Hall became an Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. It accommodated up to 142 Senior Boys aged between their 15th and 17th birthdays at their time of admission. The industrial training at the School was now largely confined to gardening and carpentry.

The School site is shown on the 1967 map below.

Rowley Hall School for Girls site, Stafford, c.1967.

Former Rowley Hall Training School for Girls, Stafford, c.2011.

In 1973, the school became a Community Home with Education (CHE) under the control of Staffordshire County Council.

The School closed in the 1980s. The School's main building now houses the privately run Rowley Hall Hospital.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

Bibliography