Ancestry UK

Lisson Street Training Refuge for Destitute Girls, Marylebone, London

What was originally known as the Training Refuge for Orphans and Girls was founded in about 1851 and occupied premises at Dorchester Place, Blandford Square, Marylebone (now covered by St Marylebone Station).

In March 1853, the charity's Honorary Secretary, Mr W.J. Maxwell, reported that over the previous year nine girls had been placed into service, two had left due to ill health, five had returned home to attend sick parents sickness, or for other circumstances, and three had left of their own accord. Of the twenty-seven remaining in the home, the majority had either lost one or both parents; some had been in prison, some found in the streets without any kind of home to shelter themselves in, and the majority were of the class that attended ragged schools. The girls, besides the usual education in reading and writing, arithmetic, and needlework, were taught to wash and iron — all their own clothes, besides those of the matrons and assistants, being washed by them every week. The average number of inmates during l851 was 17, and during 1852 was 23.

By 1856, the home had moved to 1 Lisson Street, Marylebone. On April 18th, 1859, the establishment was certified to operate as an Industrial School, allowing it to receive girls sentenced by the courts to a period of detention.

It was reported in 1862 that during the previous year the average number of girls at the school had been 32, of whom 5 had been under detention. All had been fed and clothed. At the end of 1864, 6 of the 25 inmates were there under detention. The staff at that date comprised the matron, Miss Hargarve, a schoolmistress and a general servant. The industrial training consisted mainly of needlework, housework and washing.

An inspection report in 1866 commented that although the establishment was a remarkably successful and useful institution, its operation was on too small a scale.

In 1867, it was reported that the managers of the Refuge had resigned their Industrial Schools certificate following an unsuccessful attempt by several of the girls to set fire to the premises. The girls themselves had immediately raised the alarm and the fire had been easily extinguished. The facts about the incident had only come to light about two months after the event, when a discharged inmate had given information. The establishment was to continue with only voluntary inmates and the inmates there under detention would be transferred to the Girls' Home at Charlotte Street and other Schools in the area. The Refuge's inspector thought its managers were overreacting and that reducing its numbers would be detrimental to its future, but had no option other than to accept its decision.

By 1869, the home had moved to new premises at 14 Warrington Terrace, Maida Vale (subsequently renumbered as 59 Warwick Avenue) and was sometimes referred to as the Girls' Industrial Home. It was still there in 1881 when it had sixteen inmates aged from 8 to 17 years.


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