Liverpool Reformatory for Roman Catholic Girls, St Helens, Lancashire
In 1869, the Liverpool Catholic Reformatory Association established a Reformatory School for Roman Catholic Girls at Blackbrook (or Blackbrooke) House, Blackbrook Road, St Helens. Although the premises were formally certified for use on June 23rd, 1869, the first girls was not admitted until October of that year. The School was managed by the Sisters of Mercy under the supervision of Canon James Fisher and a committee.
The School could accommodate up to twenty girls, who were given classroom lessons, instructed in needlework and housework, and generally trained for domestic service. An inspection report in 1872 noted that there was some difficulty in finding the girls sufficient employment as there was no demand for laundry work in the neighbourhood. The layout and size of the building were also commented upon unfavourably.
By 1876, the unsatisfactory location, size and arrangements of the School led to the its closure, with the inmates transferred to other institutions. Larger and more conveniently situated premises were then found at May Place, Old Swan, near Liverpool, where a new Reformatory was certified for operation on November 24th, 1876.
In 1899, after a period standing empty, Blackbrook House was re-opened as the St Helens Industrial School. The property still stands, in recent times becoming home to the Marydale Training Centre.
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.
- Sisters of Mercy Archives, St Mary's Convent, 98 Hunter's Road, Handsworth, Birmingham B19 1EB.
- Carpenter, Mary Reformatory Schools, for the Children of the Perishing and Dangerous Classes, and for Juvenile Offenders (1851, General Books; various reprints available)
- Carlebach, Julius Caring for Children in Trouble (1970, Routledge & Kegan Paul)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Abel Smith, Doroth Crouchfield: A History of the Herts Training School 1857-1982 (2008, Able Publishing)
- Garnett, Emmeline Juvenile offenders in Victorian Lancashire: W J Garnnett and the Bleasdale Reformatory (2008, Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster University)
- Hicks, J.D. The Yorkshire Catholic Reformatory, Market Weighton (1996, East Yorkshire Local History Society)
- Slocombe, Ivor Wiltshire Reformatory for Boys, Warminster, 1856-1924 (2005, Hobnob Press)
- Duckworth, J.S. The Hardwicke Reformatory School, Gloucestershire (in Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 1995, Vol. 113, 151-165)
- Sisters of Mercy of the Union of Great Britain
- Red Lodge Museum, Bristol — a former girls' reformatory.
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