Buckley Hall Orphanage / Borstal / Detention Centre, Rochdale, Lancashire

The Buckley Hall Orphanage for Roman Catholic Boys was opened in 1888 in a former manor house located at the north side of Buckley Road, about a mile to the north of Halifax. The property had been standing empty for five years, following the death of its owner, and in 1887 was purchased for the purpose by the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity of Ghent, following an initiative by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford, Herbert Vaughan. After completing the necessary renovations and alterations, the orphanage was officially opened in 1888, initially with 28 boys in residence. On 26 September 1888, the premises were officially certified to operate as a Certified School, allowing the establishment to receive boys boarded out by the poor law authorities. At around the same date, a similar establishment for Roman Catholic girls was opened at Tottington.

Within a few months, the demand for places resulted in a new wing being added to building, increasing its capacity to 80 places. Further enlargements to the premises eventually took its capacity to almost 300 places.

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, from the south-west, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, from the south-west, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' Dining Hall, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, St Mary's Dormitory, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Chapel, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' Playroom, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Infirmary, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

The boys received classroom and religious education and also industrial training in trades such as shoemaking, carpentry, plumbing, printing and bookbinding. The shoemaking department produced all the boots and shoes required for the boys and members of the staff.

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Senior Boys' Classroom, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Courtyard showing school and workshops, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Tailoring Department, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boot and Shoe Department, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Printing Department, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Bookbinding Department, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Masters and Apprentices, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Physical fitness was a strong feature of the boys' regime. The orphanage's football and cricket teams also competed in local competitions.

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' at Drill, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Football Field, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Playground, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

The orphanage had a choir and a wind band, both of which gave public performances in the area. Between 1894 and 1909, the band also made a number of well-received visits to Belgium.

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' Band, 1889-92. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' Band, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Boys' Band, c.1914. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, The Boys, 1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Buckley Hall Orphanage, Rochdale, Good Conduct Prize Winners, 1912. © Peter Higginbotham

The orphanage continued in operation until 1947. From November 1955 to October 1961 the site was home to the Buckley Hall Borstal Institution. It was then redesignated as a Detention Centre, housing 104 senior boys. In 1994, the site became Buckley Hall Prison, with the old buildings replaced by modern blocks.

Records

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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.

Bibliography

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