The Portsmouth and South Hants Industrial School for Girls, Waterlooville, Cosham, Hampshire
The Portsmouth and South Hants Industrial School for Girls was established in 1881 in premises at Sydenham House, London Road, Waterloo, near Cosham. It was particularly intended for receiving young children found living in houses of ill repute, or with persons that frequented such houses. The School was formally certified for operation on July 21st, 1881, with accommodation for 36 girls aged 6 to 9 years at their date of admission. The superintendent was Miss Mary Lee Miller.
All the girls learned knitting and plain needlework. The older ones assist in all the work of the house.
In 1886, a proposal to build new premises at another site were explored but came to nothing. Instead, extensions and repairs were made to the existing buildings. In 1887, the school relocated temporarily to Newnham House, Emsworth, while a new schoolroom and dormitory were added. The children returned to Waterlooville on October 15th, 1887. The superintendent was now Miss Davidson, succeeded the following year by Miss H.S. Hanmer.
The School site is shown on the 1908 map below.
An report in 1896 described the School as small detached villa of two storeys, standing back from the main road leading out of Waterlooville. The interior of the building was bright and airy, and the arrangements were comfortable and homelike. The bathroom, however, was in the basement, and the kitchen was inadequate. Marching drill and extension exercises were given. There was a pleasant little rose garden at the front, where tea was frequently taken in the summer, and a good playground and large garden at the back of the building. Regular walks were taken twice a week, and trips and picnics arranged from time to time. In the winter, various entertainments were devised, such as a children's operetta in 1895-6. There was a mark system in operation, carrying monetary rewards ranging from 1d. to 9d. a month. Each girl kept her own money box, and started in service with a Post Office Savings Bank book. A reward was given to each girl who kept her place for a certain term.
In 1908, it was reported that twelve girls have been taught the sewing machine, and that the older ones assisted with dressmaking. Six girls were attending special lessons for cookery. The quality of laundry work, ironing and repair work was excellent. The girls were weighed and measured twice a year, and their teeth carefully examined each quarter.
After nearly 22 years' service, the superintendent, Miss Hanmer, retired on June, 5th, 1909. She was succeeded by the schoolmistress, Miss B.H. Bragg.
The School closed in October 4th, 1915. The buildings no longer survive and Redwood Court flats now occupy the site.
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.
- Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND. Has Discharge Book (1881-1911) — dates of admission, background, comments and subsequent history of each inmates.
- 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.