Newcastle Day Industrial School, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
In 1882, the Newcastle School Board erected a new building on New Road (now City Road), Newcastle, for use as a Day Industrial School and located close to the existing Ragged and Industrial Schools. The building, whose construction cost £3,300, was intended to provide places for 200 pupils aged from 7 to 14 years. The premises were, however, initially deployed for use as an ordinary elementary school and only reverted to their original purpose in 1886. The Day Industrial School was formally certified for use on January 28th, 1886, and began operation on March 8th. The staff comprised the superintendent Miss W.C. Dewar; caretaker and labour master, Mr Waugh; and cook, Mrs Dobie.
The School site is shown towards the bottom of the 1896 map below.
The School had two good-sized schoolrooms, two classrooms, and a large dining-room. As well as classroom lessons, the children were engaged in industrial training. The girls assisted with the housework and cookery and were taught to sew and knit. The boys were occupied in chopping wood. In 1886, a special occupation was introduced with the manufacture of iron kegs for paints and oils but this appears to have soon been discontinued.
In 1890, 40 of the children attending the School were Roman Catholics and there was a Catholic teacher.
An inspection report in 1896 noted that the School was built on a confined site and consequently had too many floors, and the play-yards were enclosed and cramped. A large elementary school abutted on two sides and the thumping of engine driving its ventilating fan was said to seriously disturb the necessary quiet. The school also fronted onto City Road, a busy and at times noisy thoroughfare. The lavatory and bath accommodation on the boys' side was inadequate. On the boys' side, 17 boys were occupied as tailors (articles of clothing as prizes were made, and some work for private customers), 17 in manual instruction, and 54 chopping wood. The Board school, co-operative society, and other customers were supplied with firewood, which produced a good profit. The wood was delivered by the boys in hand-carts which was probably a sever strain on them, especially in the winter. The girls learned knitting, sewing, quilting, rag mat making and darning. The older girls helped in the kitchen and received some instruction from the cook. The rough housework was done by the boys, and the lighter work as well as the washing of towels, etc. by the girls. A drill sergeant came in once a week and took the whole school through musical drill. There was no proper provision for real games on or near the premises. There were swimming baths nearby and the boys were taken to them once a week and received some instruction in swimming from the labour master. There was an annual trip to Jesmond Dean or the seaside for the day. A dinner was also given at around Christmas time each year, after which prizes of clothing were distributed for good conduct and regular attendance. In the classroom, singing by ear and recitation, were rated as very fair; geography, good; mental arithmetic, very fair in upper and good in lower standards. Word-building had just been started, and object lessons and singing by sol-fa were about to be taught. Drawing (freehand and scale) was taught throughout. No mark system, giving rewards for good conduct, was in operation at the School.
On January 1st, 1898, Mr. John Winterbottom succeeded Miss Dewar as superintendent. In the same year, it was reported that eight girls had been attending a course of lessons at a cookery instruction centre. Musical drill was taken weekly by an instructor. The swimming baths were visited in the summer, and the school team had succeeded in gaining medals at a swimming competition.
Following a gradual decline in numbers being placed at the School, and the cramped and confined nature of the site, it was decided to close the School in 1901. The premises were later occupied by the Royal Jubilee School.
The former School buildings no longer survive.
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.
- Tyne & Wear Archives, Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA. Has School Committee minutes (1886-98); Various administrative and financial documents (1882-99).
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
- None noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.