Sheffield Boys' Working Home, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire
The Sheffield Boys' Working Home for Destitute Boys was founded in 1881 by the Rev. A.G. Tweedie. In November of that year, it took occupation of premises at 164 Broad Lane, Sheffield.
Only destitute boys were admitted and there were no elections. Boys entering the home were given a bath and new clothing, including a uniform carrying the initials S.B.W.H. Employment was organised for them working as shoeblacks and errand boys, cleaning knives or carrying coals.
At the charity's first AGM in October 1882, an address was given by Thomas Barnardo, in which he recounted his own experience of working with street boys and offered advice to the home's committee on the subject.
In 1883, the firewood making business of Mr Thomas Redmayne was purchased in order to provide an additional form of employment for the boys.
In 1889, larger and more suitable premises were acquired at 82 Broomspring Lane, Sheffield. The new home comprised what had been two separate dwelling houses which had been amalgamated into one. The property could then accommodate up to forty boys, aged from 10 to 14 years. On the opposite side of the lane were workshops, which were fitted with a small gas engine to power a circular saw. The official opening of the new home was performed by the Countess of Wharncliffe on 28 October 1889. During the proceedings, the charity's secretary stated that the institution was intended for boys who could go to school half-time and also be able to work at the home. Its motto was 'we help those who try to help themselves' and it aimed to teach the boys thrift and self-reliance. No trades were taught at the home as it was expensive to do this and it had been found at other homes that boys did not necessarily follow trades they had been taught. Instead they would be occupied in wood-chopping and other work. On leaving the home, the boys were placed in such positions as they could fill with the greatest use and benefit to to themselves.
Another move took place in 1920 when the home relocated to the former Female Refuge Home at 287-289 Western Bank which was purchased for the sum of £2,500. The Broomspring Lane premises were sold for £1,600.
By 1929, the charity had adopted the name 'Sheffield Boys' Home', with the focus now being on fatherless rather than destitute boys. The age of admission was now 9-10 years and boys of school age attended Broomhill Council School. Advertisments for the home offered 'gardening, games, swimming, annual camp, bugle band, ambulance class, and a good start in life'.
The home was closed in 1945. Proceeds from the sale of its assets were passed to the Sheffield Town Trust.
None of the home's former premises still exist.
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.
- Sheffield Archives, 52 Shoreham Street, Sheffield S1 4SP.
- 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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