Midland Orphanage and Industrial Training Institution, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
The Midland Orphanage and Industrial Training Institution was established in around 1857, with the Dowager Lady Sitwell credited with its founding. The creation of such an institution had been suggested by the managing committee of the Church of England's Ragged School on Glasshouse Street, as a means for providing of girls leaving the School with training for domestic service. Lady Sitwell, the wife of John Smith Wright, a member of the Nottingham banking family, made a financial contribution which enabled a property to be rented to accommodate the establishment. However, the initial premises proved unsatisfactory and on 25th March, 1863, the Girls Industrial and Training Institution, as it was then called, moved to Friar Street, Old Lenton.
The Institution site is shown on the 1881 map below.
The Institution, which now became known as the Girls' Industrial and Training Institution and Orphanage, occupied a three storey building with detached stables and coach houses, which were converted into washhouses and laundries. It was hoped that income from the laundry and other work by the inmates would enable it to become largely self-supporting. Girls were received from the age of 13 upwards with a periodic election by the charity's subscribers to select those to be admitted. The girls remained for two years and received classroom education, religious instruction, and industrial training to prepare them for them for domestic service.
The establishment was regularly short of funds. In 1874, in an attempt to broaden its intake and funding, it was renamed Midland Orphanage and Industrial Training Institution for Girls. This was apparently a successful move, with numbers gradually climbing from 22 in 1878 to 44 in 1895 — despite the premises really only having space to accommodate 20. In order to deal with the shortage of space, the buildings were extended, causing an even greater financial burden which continued for many years. Relief came in 1909, however, when the old Ragged School site was sold to the Great Central Railway for the form part of the construction of Victoria Station.
The First World War led to a drop in admissions to the Institution and a resurgence of its financial difficulties. Finally, in March 1922, the decision was taken to close the establishment. The premises were subsequently acquired by Crepe Sizes Ltd. and became a factory producing elastic yarns. The building is believed to have been demolished in the early 1980s.
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- Nottinghamshire Archives and Southwell Diocesan Record Office, County House, Castle Meadow Road, Nottingham NG2 1AG. Has 1897 annual report and a few other papers.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
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