Essex Reformatory for Boys, Harlow Tye, near Harlow, Essex
The Essex Reformatory School for Boys was founded in 1855 when some 'gentlemen of the county met for the purposes of setting up such an institution. A Committee was appointed and subscriptions raised to fund the scheme. The institution was established in a small farmhouse on Chalk Lane, Harlow Tye, near Harlow. The property and three acres of land were rented from Captain J.W. Perry Watlington M.P. of Moor Hall, who paid for the cost of conversion and also became the manager of the School. On December 3rd, 1856, the premises were officially certified to accommodate up to 30 boys sentenced by the courts to a period of detention.
The location of the School is shown on the 1875 map below.
The master and matron were Mr and Mrs Chaplin who were to hold their posts for the whole of the School's existence. They were assisted by a schoolmaster and a farm labourer.
Classroom lessons included reading, dictation, spelling, ciphering and religious knowledge. The boys were also trained in farm work, with the land worked by the School being increased to 40 acres. The crops of wheat and barley were said to be especially good, and the School acquired a favourable reputation for the size and quality of its vegetable produce.
Following a decline in the number of committals to the School, it was closed at the end of September, 1879, with the boys then in residence being transferred to the Suffolk and Hertfordshire Reformatories. Subsequent cases from Essex were placed at the existing reformatories in Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.
The former reformatory premises have now been converted to residential use known as Reformatory Cottages,
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.
- None identfied at present — any information welcome.
- 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)
- Red Lodge Museum, Bristol — a former girls' reformatory.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.