Ancestry UK

Essex Reformatory for Boys, Harlow Tye, near Harlow, Essex

The Essex Reformatory School for Boys was founded in 1855 when some 'gentlemen of the county met for the purposes of setting up such an institution. A Committee was appointed and subscriptions raised to fund the scheme. The institution was established in a small farmhouse on Chalk Lane, Harlow Tye, near Harlow. The property and three acres of land were rented from Captain J.W. Perry Watlington M.P. of Moor Hall, who paid for the cost of conversion and also became the manager of the School. On December 3rd, 1856, the premises were officially certified to accommodate up to 30 boys sentenced by the courts to a period of detention.

The location of the School is shown on the 1875 map below.

Essex Reformatory for Boys site, Harlow Tye, c.1875.

The master and matron were Mr and Mrs Chaplin who were to hold their posts for the whole of the School's existence. They were assisted by a schoolmaster and a farm labourer.

Classroom lessons included reading, dictation, spelling, ciphering and religious knowledge. The boys were also trained in farm work, with the land worked by the School being increased to 40 acres. The crops of wheat and barley were said to be especially good, and the School acquired a favourable reputation for the size and quality of its vegetable produce.

Following a decline in the number of committals to the School, it was closed at the end of September, 1879, with the boys then in residence being transferred to the Suffolk and Hertfordshire Reformatories. Subsequent cases from Essex were placed at the existing reformatories in Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

The former reformatory premises have now been converted to residential use known as Reformatory Cottages,


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