LCC Residential Home for Mentally Defective Boys, Brixton, London
In 1905, the London County Council (LCC) opened a Residential Home for Mentally Defective Boys at 48-50 Acre Lane, Brixton, London SW2. The property comprised pair of semi-detached villas, standing in their own grounds, within easy access to one of the Council's special day schools. An additional building was erected to provide additional accommodation for work and schooling and a gymnasium. On May 25th, 1906, the premises were certified as an Industrial School with accommodation for up to 32 boys. The superintendent was Mr Dodds, and the matron Mrs Stevens.
As well as their classroom education, the boys were provided with training in tailoring, carpentry, and gardening. The boys helped to make their own clothes.
By 1909, The senior boys were attending a special day school in Acre Lane and the juniors the special school in Sandley Street. A report in 1910 recorded that five of the senior boys at Acre Lane were learning joinery, tailoring, and shoemaking; four juniors at Sandley Street were learning, in addition to class work, basket-work, clay modelling, and different branches of kindergarten work. Every day there was at least half an hour's physical drill for every boy, sometimes accompanied by music.
In January, 1910, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes took charge of the establishment.
The Home received its own Special Industrial School certification on 9th March, 1921, with its accommodation set at 36 places. This was increased to 72 places on 2st1 December, 1926.
In 1933, the institution became a Special 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. The establishment was certified to accommodate up to 72 mentally defective boys, aged from 8 to 15 years. The superintendent in 1935 was Mr A.W. Instrell, succeeded the following year by Mr W. Uden. By 1936, it had had been decided that Approved Schools should no longer be used for such children and the Acre Lane School resigned its certificate as of September 29th, 1937. The School closed in 1939.
The property has now been converted to flats.
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.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. (The Ancestry website also has LMA records relating to workhouses and other institutions — more details.) Has Register of children (1925-39); Log books (1913-1939).
- 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 noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.