Ancestry UK

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.


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