Ancestry UK

South Corporation Day Industrial School, Liverpool, Lancashire

In 1878, the Liverpool School Board opened the South Corporation Day Industrial School at 87A Park Lane, Liverpool, in premises previously used as an elementary school. The School was the Board's first such establishment, and only the second to be opened in the country. The School was formally certified for operation on May 4, 1878, and opened towards the end of that year, with accommodation for 300 children. The staff comprised the superintendent, Mrs Charlotte Parry; assistant teacher, Miss M. Rigby; cook and caretaker, Mr and Mrs Williams.

By 1881, about 250 children were on the School register. In addition to classroom lessons, industrial work took place for several hours each day. The boys were occupied in mat-making, while the girls were instructed in needlework and knitting, assisted in the cooking and housework, and did a little washing. A plunge bath was installed in the course of the year in which swimming could take place.

In 1884, Mrs Parry left to take charge of the new Queensland Street Day Industrial School. She was succeeded by Miss Catherine S. Knight. The School's inspector noted that the establishment's practice was to license out the children to attend ordinary elementary schools after a short probationary period. This rapid turnover of children limited the effects of the School's educational and training efforts. It also had financial implications as the Treasury grant it received towards teaching each child ceased once they were licensed out.

By 1890, there were 433 children on the roll. Of these, 242 were Protestants and 191 Roman Catholics; of the Protestants, 126 were boys, and 116 girls; of the Roman Catholics 107 were boys, and 84 girls, There were now 140 on licence and attending schools outside. The boys in their working hours now did wood-chopping and mat-making. The junior boys did some knitting.

An 1896 report noted that the School stood on one of the main thoroughfares in the dock district, but about a mile from the centre of the area it served. The building was inconvenient and inadequate in its accommodation, especially in its recreation and washing facilities. The schoolrooms were large and lofty, but their proximity to the street rendered them noisy and difficult to teach in. Various small improvements had been made but a new building in a more central location was really needed. Very little wood-chopping is now done, and was limited to the School's own requirements; 24 boys received instruction in woodwork twice a week, 4 hours in all. The girls did all the housework and washing, assisted in the kitchen, and 12 of them receive special instruction in cookery from a fully qualified teacher. Knitting and sewing also received attention, and useful articles of clothing were made. Socks had been supplied to the Hightown Industrial School. Mat-making by the boys had practically been given up as here was no market for mats. Situations, as far as possible, were found for the children when licensed to work and, thanks to the Children's Aid Society, a good outfit was given to girls going into service. Musical drill with dumb-bells for the boys and bar-bells for the girls took place once a week. The play-yards are very small and enclosed, and the public parks are too far off to be used. One of the boys had won a silver watch in an open swimming competition. There were public baths near the school which should be better taken advantage of. The whole school had a fortnight under canvas on the coast once each year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Truancy was almost the only offence calling for punishment by the School. There was no mark system and no rewards for schooling or attendance, but £1 a month was distributed for work about the premises. Occasionally presents were received from friends, especially at Christmas time. The difficulties to contend with at this School, which dealt with a large and scattered district, were greater here than at others under the Board. Visiting the children's homes had been conducted on a larger scale. The Superintendent was absent from September 1895 to March 1896 due to a breakdown in her health. The School was closed in the spring of 1896 due to an outbreak of typhus.

In 1901, the staff list designated Miss Robinson as the First Protestant assistant, and Miss Moneypenny as the First Roman Catholic assistant.

On June 5th, 1903, the School was re-certified with a capacity now of 50 places.

Miss Knight died on 14th January, 1907. Miss Elizabeth A. Purcell was appointed superintendent on 21st June, 1907, with deputy superintendent Miss Kelly taking charge in the interim.

In 1908, the School moved to new, purpose-built premises on Northumberland Street, Liverpool. The new building was certified for operation on January 31st, and opened on February 17th.

Drawing had by now become part of the boys' industrial training. Eight boys took elementary metal work, and 26 boys tailoring. As before, the girls were learned needlework together with cutting-out, machining and dressmaking. Cookery was taught weekly by a visiting teacher and hygiene classes were conducted in the schoolroom. Swimming was now taught, though so far only to the boys. The school went to camp at West Kirby for a fortnight in July, 1908.

In June 1917, when the First World War had begun to cause food shortages and rising prices, the Liverpool Council's Special Committee as to Food Kitchens and Coal Supply agreed to establish kitchens at the South Corporation and Addison Street Day Industrial Schools to provide cooked food for local people at a reasonable price. In September of the same year, the winter session of evening continuation and technical classes began at the two Schools. These were aimed at boys under 15½ years of age who had left day school. A new feature of the programme was the 'handyman' classes which had been commended by the Chief Scout, General Baden-Powell.

Following a decline in numbers attending the School, it was closed on August 11 1922.

The premises were subsequently occupied by the Women's Home Training School and later by the Northumberland Street Day Special School. The building no longer survives.


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