London School Board / LCC Day Industrial School, Nine Elms, London
On April 7th, 1902, the London School Board's Day Industrial School at Ponton Road, Nine ELms, was formally certified to begin operation. The Day Industrial School provided a compromise between the residential Industrial School and the ordinary day school. Magistrates could order children to attend a Day Industrial School, and it was most commonly used for those whose family or other circumstances had resulted in their inadequate attendance at an ordinary school. Nine Elms was the Board's third such School, following those at Drury Lane and Poplar, and its first located south of the Thames. The first superintendent was Mr H. Hartland who was appointed on March 3rd, 1902. The head teacher, Miss F.A. Arnold, was appointed on 7th April. Tho first child was admitted on the 15th April.
The Nine Elms School, which occupied two floors of a former elementary school building, could accommodate up to 150 children. The dining-hall on the first floor had kitchen, lavatories and officers' quarters opening from it, while on the second floor, classrooms and workshops led out from a spacious central hall used for general assembly and drill. The boys had a roomy playground, and the girls' playground, located on the roof, was also spacious.
The establishment provided all of each child's meals, together with education and industrial training. It operated between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (with a half-day on Saturday) although the children would arrive as early as six in the morning. Up until breakfast time, they could play in the playground or, under the supervision of an officer, swim in the swimming bath. After breakfast and the morning ablutions, school work and industrial occupations took place in parallel until midday. The next half hour was devoted to drill and gymnastics, followed by a period of play, then dinner and a little more play. The afternoon followed a similar pattern except that those who had been doing school lessons in the morning were now occupied in industrial activity, and vice versa.
The boys at the School received instruction in woodworking and shoemaking. The girls received training in sewing, knitting, drawing and cookery. Physical exercise also formed part of the daily curriculum for both boys and girls. Cricket and football were played in Battersea Park. In the summer, a weekly visit was paid to the neighbouring swimming baths. During the winter, evening entertainments such as magic lantern shows were organised. A boys' band was started in 1905.
One of the chief attractions of the School was the food provided. The dinners consisted of roast or stewed meat with vegetables two or three times a week, pudding twice, and fish on Fridays. The food was not, however, free of charge. The court order committing a child to attend the School specified the amount parents were required to pay, which varied from 6d. to 2s. a week.
On May 1st, 1904, control of the School passed to the London County Council who took over the work of the London School Board on that date.
The Nine Elms School was officially closed on June 14th, 1911. The premises were then adapted for use as a Remand Home to replace Camberwell Green Remand Home. It was used for girls and young boys until December, 1929, but with the closure of Pentonville Road Remand Home in 1929, boys also were sent there. The Ponton Road Remand Home was closed in January 1936, its operation being transferred to Stamford House.
The Ponton Road building no longer survives.
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.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Holdings include: Log book (1904-1911).
- 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.