Ancestry UK

Norfolk Industrial School for Girls, Fakenham, Norfolk

The Norfolk Industrial School for Girls, sometimes referred to as the County or Fakenham Industrial School, was established in around 1858 by Mrs Sophia Hamond at Holt Road, Fakenham, Norfolk. The School acted as an orphanage and as a training institution for girls entering domestic service.

On November 17, 1868, the establishment was certified to accommodate up to 60 girls who had been placed there by magistrates for reasons such as vagrancy. However, such girls only ever formed a very small proportion of the inmates. Most were either voluntary cases, paying from 3s. 6d. per week to be trained for service, or girls placed there by the poor law authorities. The School had its own laundry in which the older girls were occupied while the younger girls attended a local school. The girls also learned needlework, knitting and general housework. For many years, the matron of the School was Mrs Elizabeth Marshall.

In 1879, following the expiry of the lease on it premises, the School moved to a nearby property at what is now 37 Norwich Road (sometimes referred to as Station Road).

Former Norfolk Industrial School for Girls, Norwich Road, Fakenham, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1884, Miss Sophia Hamond succeeded her mother as the general director of the School.

The nucleus of the school buildings is a fair-sized dwelling house, to which two wings have been attached, on the outskirts of the town. The accommodation generally is good, the lavatory is a weak spot, and the dormitories are deficient in brightness. There is a fair paved playground, and about an acre of vegetable garden. There is a laundry about a quarter of a mile off, to which 5 or 6 of the older girls go out to work.

The home closed on February 21, 1903. In October of that year, the property was purchased by Dr Barnardo's as a training home for older girls.

The property is now in private residential use.


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.

  • Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DQ. Holds a Register of Children attending Industrial Schools by Magistrates' Orders (1872-1921) which may have relevant entries.
  • Barnardo's 'Making Connections' and Family History Services — for enquiries relating the records of children formerly in the care of Barnardo's and those of other organisations absorbed by them.