Ancestry UK

Chiswick and Heston Truant Industrial School for Boys, Isleworth, Middlesex

In 1891, the Chiswick and Heston Truant Industrial School for Boys was established by the School Boards covering the area. It occupied premises at Holme Court, 168-169 (now 158-160) Twickenham Road, Isleworth. The establishment was formally certified to begin operation on May 15th, 1891, with accommodation for 60 boys. In January, 1893, the number was increased to 65 places.

Holme Court, a substantial dwelling-house, formerly used as a school, was altered and extended for the purpose. An inspection in November, 1891, noted that its facilities included a good washroom and plunge bath; a new laundry and drying room; a carpenters' shop; and a good play-ground and garden. The staff at this date comprised the superintendent, Mr. William E. Newberry; matron, Mrs. Newberry; school-master, Mr. Guy; labour-master, and male cook; one female assistant.

A report in 1896 noted that the floors were old in many of the rooms and the dormitories rather cold in winter, but that otherwise the house was made as comfortable as possible. There was an outside iron staircase at the south end of the building for escape in case of fire. There was a fair sized play-yard and shed, and over an acre of garden which gave healthy and useful occupation to some of the boys. Part of was laid out as a private garden, and the rest in vegetables and fruit, so that the boys could get experience in all except greenhouse work. A class of joiners of 8 to 10 boys was taught by the superintendent in the evenings. All boys learned to sew and darn, and knitting was also taught. The washing of the whole establishment was done by the boys, as well as all the cleaning and rough kitchen work. Physical drill, with and without dumb-bells, and military drill were carried on for l½ hours each day. As there was only the play-yard for play, there was not much provision for games such as cricket. The nearby public recreation ground was not, however, taken advantage of by the School. Play was allowed for an hour each day, with an extra hour or two on Saturdays and Sundays. There were about three dozen books in the library, and several old 'Graphics'. For corporal punishment, only the birch was used, and that only in the presence on the superintendent.

A new wing was added to the building in 1901 and in February of that year the premises were re-certified as having accommodation for 82 boys.

Mr Newberry died on 15th January, 1904, with Mrs Newberry then taking on the posts of both superintendent and matron. Mrs Newberry herself died after a long illness on on May 7th, 1906. Mr and Mrs A.H. Clayton, who had been in charge of the school since October, 1905, were appointed superintendent and matron on May 17th.

By 1905, industrial training included drawing, gardening, laundry work, knitting, sewing and mending. All of the socks in use at the establishment were knitted by the boys. Gymnastics work included work on the vaulting horse and parallel bars. Provision for games in the yard now included cricket, hockey and skittles. A small library had been established.

In 1907, it was reported that electric-bell communication between the superintendent's bedroom and the dormitories has been re-established. The rooms had been brightened with pictures. Knickerbocker suits were being now worn by the boys, along with lighter boots. At Easter, 1908, a gramophone entertainment was provided for the boys. In 1910, rifle shooting has been started on nearby range near at hand. Through the kindness of a friend of the School the boys were given the use of a field for games. Swimming was now being practised and in 1911 about two-thirds of the boys in the school were able to swim.

The School's closure came after it resigned its certificate on April 15th, 1920.

From around 1926, the premises were known as Garvin House after the trading company that had bought the building. The former School premises are now known as Van Gogh House, in commemoration of the artist's brief residence at the property in 1876.

Van Gogh House, Isleworth


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