Staffordshire County Industrial Home / Rowley Hall School for Girls
The Staffordshire County Industrial Home (also known as the County Female Refuge) was founded by the initiative of Lord Lichfield and opened in September, 1878, to receive discharged female prisoners and 'friendless women'. Its premises, on Sandon Road, Stafford, were erected by public subscription and could accommodate around 40 inmates who were trained for domestic service. The Home had its own laundry which was the chief form of employment provided. The running costs of the home were partly derived from the laundry and partly from voluntary subscriptions.
In 1880, the staff at the Home comprised: a lady superintendent, laundry superintendent, two laundresses, a porteress, two kitchen matrons, a "needle ward" matron, and an engine man. For the first four years of its operation, the Home was superintended by Miss Kirby who was succeeded by Miss Harkom.
The School site is shown on the 1901 map below.
Those leaving the Home who retained their situation for at least a year, and received a good report from their employer, were awarded a gratuity of one guinea and an outfit. Due to numbers of girls quitting their posts immediately after receiving this payment, the scheme was amended to spread the payment of the award over two years.
In March, 1895, the Home received a royal visit from the Duchess of Teck who inaugurated the operation of its new laundry machinery.
On January 19th, 1916, the School was certified to operate as a Reformatory, taking girls committed by the courts to a period of detention.
In 1930, the institution moved to much larger premises in Rowley Park, Stafford, becoming known as Rowley Hall Training School. Three years later, Rowley Hall became an Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. It accommodated up to 142 Senior Boys aged between their 15th and 17th birthdays at their time of admission. The industrial training at the School was now largely confined to gardening and carpentry.
The School site is shown on the 1967 map below.
In 1973, the school became a Community Home with Education (CHE) under the control of Staffordshire County Council.
The School closed in the 1980s. The School's main building now houses the privately run Rowley Hall Hospital.
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.
- Staffordshire Record Office, Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ. Holdings: 27th Annual Report (1905); Minute books (1973-81).
- 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)
- Hyland,Jim Yesterday's Answers: Yesterday's Answers: Development and Decline of Schools for Young Offenders (1993, Whiting and Birch)
- Millham, S, Bullock, R, and Cherrett, P After Grace — Teeth: a comparative study of the residential experience of boys in Approved Schools (1975, Chaucer Publishing)
- Red Lodge Museum, Bristol — a former girls' reformatory.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.