Berkshire Reformatory School, Shinfield, near Reading, Berkshire
On September 25th, 1855, the Berkshire Reformatory School was certified to begin operation in premises at Shinfield, near Reading, with accommodation for 30 boys. According to an official inspection report in 1857, it was located in a former poor-house, adapted and altered for the purpose. The dayroom and dormitory were "dirty and close", the cells consisted of two dark closets, and the boys appeared untidy and rough. The ability to supervise the boys was said to be imperfect. The School had fifteen acres of land.
In 1858, it was reported that a new master, Mr Gregory, had been appointed as master, with his wife as matron. There was also an assistant who instructed the boys in tailoring, and a shoemaker who visited occasionally. A farm building had recently been added, paid for out of the county rates. The average number of inmates was now 21.
Due, it was said, to difficulties of management and the increasing cost of maintenance, the School was closed in November, 1859. Of the thirteen boys then in residence, four were transferred to the Hampshire Reformatory, four to the Wiltshire Reformatory, and five to Red Hill.
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.