Bristol Industrial School for Girls, Bristol, Gloucestershire
The Bristol Industrial School for Girls was established in 1866 in a small house and garden on Royal Fort Road (sometimes referred to as Fort Row). On 7th November, 1866, it was officially certified to accommodate twenty girls. Miss Arthur was matron of the institution.
In September, 1867, the home relocated to Stanhope House on Cotham Road South where its premises consisted of "a good house and garden" with the adjoining house being included in the lease and available when required. The matron was now Miss Horn, with Miss Williams as schoolmistress. As well as receiving basic education, the girls were trained in housework and needlework. An official inspection in August 1880 found 52 girls in residence, with the staff consisting of the superintendent, Miss Roberts; the schoolmistress, Miss Rayner, the work mistress Miss Dalton; and a laundry maid. The older girls were now occupied in a laundry which had been set up in the establishment. The report was generally favourable although it was noted that two girls had repeatedly behaved badly and had been transferred to a reformatory school. Two other girls had attempted to abscond. Health was generally good although one girls had died from consumption. The building's damp basement raised some concern.
In December 1880, it was reported that 26 girls at the School had suddenly been seized with the symptoms of lead poisoning. The cause was never identified but was suspected to be caused by some impurity in the girls' food.
In the early summer of 1884, the School moved a short distance to larger premises at 14 Somerset Street. The building, which also adopted the name Stanhope House, was officially certified on October 31, 1884, to accommodate up to 60 girls. As well as more space, the new building provided a large separate school room and a good playground. Miss Chandler was now superintendent, with Miss Chandler as schoolmistress, Miss Humphreys as work mistress, and a laundry maid.
In July, 1889, the girls at the School had an outing by train to Weston-super-Mare. The weather was said to be splendid and the party enjoyed tea at the Excursion Refreshment Rooms.
On January 28th, 1914, an Auxiliary Home was certified at 34 Somerset Street, to house up to 8 girls.
The School closed in 1918. In 1920, the premises at 14 Somerset Street were taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society to house the Victoria Gibbs Memorial Home for Babies. After the Second World War, during which the building sustained bomb damage, it was converted for use as the Ashley House Probation Hostel for Boys. It still continues in this role.
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.
- Bristol Record Office, 'B' Bond Warehouse, Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1 6XN. Scanty holdings mostly relate to building work.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
- None identified at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.