Holy Trinity Industrial School for Girls, Liverpool, Lancashire
In 1877, the Holy Trinity Industrial School on Grafton Street, Liverpool, became an all-boys established, having previously been mixed. The girls then at the School were transferred to the girls' department of the Industrial School at Everton Terrace. However, several of the managers of the Holy Trinity School harboured a desire to provide their own girls' Industrial School. Through the efforts of the Holy Trinity School's founder, the Rev. Canon Henry Postance, this ambition was realised in 1885 when a house was taken at 13 Nile Street, Liverpool, and adapted for the purpose. The new Holy Trinity Industrial School for Girls was formally certified to begin operation on November 18th, 1885, with accommodation for up to 80 girls, aged 7 to 14 at their date of admission.
In 1886, the adjoining house at 14 Nile Street had also been taken over, with the rear of the premises now forming a quadrangle and allowing the children plenty of room for exercise.
In its first few years, the School had a high turnover of superintendents. The initial incumbent, Miss Lucy E. Turton, was followed by Miss E. Riley in 1887, Miss Mary Ursell in 1888, Miss Chambers in 1889, Miss Mary Gillard in February 1890, and Mrs Minnie Bush in 1894
All the girls learned to knit and sew. The older girls also helped in the kitchen, scullery, laundry and housework. The girls did the washing for the boys at the Grafton Street School.
An 1896 report on the School noted that its frontage, which looked on to a side street in a busy and somewhat squalid part of the town, had formerly been two private houses. The buildings range round the four sides of the play-yard and were substantially built and well supplied, with the exception of the laundry and small playroom, which were in the front basement. The location was felt to be open to objection. The girls were trained for domestic service in house, kitchen and table work. All were taught to knit and sew, and make their own clothes. Some instruction had been given in cutting out. The laundry was in the basement and was not adapted for much work, only the school washing being done in it. A cookery class had been started. There was said to be a constant demand for girls as servants, and those seen by the inspectors reflected credit on the School. Musical drill and skipping were carried on. The play-yard was very much enclosed but walks were taken twice a week, and sometimes more often. There were 3 or 4 trips to the seaside in the summer and various treats and entertainments were got up in the winter. The schoolroom served as recreation room in bad weather. Books and indoor games were provided, and various periodicals were taken. 'Elstree Night', when prizes were awarded for the best essays, was a great occasion at the school, with about 20 old girls and other visitors attending. A mark system was in operation, giving rewards and privileges for good conduct. Improvements in the girls' dress had recently been made although the workhouse-looking bonnets were yet to be replaced by something more suitable and becoming.
In 1900, Mrs Bush resigned as superintendent and was succeeded by Miss Jessie F. Young
In 1911, it was noted that all the older girls repaired their own clothes, and cut-out and made every article of their outfit. Almost half the girls could operate the sewing machine. Specific cookery lessons were given weekly, and the girls received good practice in cooking plain meals, the ingredients for which they purchased themselves. Free exercises and Swedish drill were taken by a visiting mistress. The formal physical training was supplemented by various kinds of games, both indoor and outdoor. The whole school spent a month at the Hightown camp in the summer, and there were various outings, entertainments, and lantern lectures.
On May 19th, 1913, premises at 23 Alfred Street, Liverpool, were certified both as an extension to the main School's accommodation (up to 10 places) and as an Auxiliary Home (up to 7 places) for girls who had left, or were on licence from, the School.
From 21st December, 1920, the Nile Street School was authorised to accommodate boys up to the age of eight. In March, 1925, the number of places at the main School was reduced to 60, while 23 Alfred Street could now accommodate a total of 22 girls. From April, 1926, Alfred Street was also permitted to accommodate boys under the age of eight.
In 1933, Holy Trinity became an 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 School could then accommodate up to 80 Junior Girls, aged from 5 to 12 at their date of admission. The headmistress in 1935 was Miss K.M. Taylor.
During the Second World War, the School was evacuated to Harrogate in West Yorkshire, and never returned to Liverpool.
The Nile Street premises were subsequently used as a seamen's hostel. The building no longer survives.
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.
- Lancashire Archives, Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston PR1 2RE. Apparently had some records for Grafton Street and Nile Street Schools amongst those of the Liverpool Juvenile Reformatory Association (ref DDX 824/4)
- The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Holdings include: Admissions register (from 1936); General correspondence and reports (1939-40).
- 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.