Stockport Industrial School for Girls, Stockport, Cheshire
In 1877, the Stockport Industrial School on Higher Hillgate became a boys-only establishment and the female inmates were transferred to separate site at 56-58 Church Gate. The new premises were formally certified for use as an Industrial School on February 6th, 1877, with accommodation for 60 girls.
An initial report on the new establishment noted that property was old and not very convenient but in very good order. A new schoolroom with dormitory above had been added to the building. The School was superintended by Miss Stewart, with Miss Burton as schoolmistress. The girls received training in housework, cooking, washing and sewing.
In 1882, Miss Stewart moved to the Manchester Girls' Industrial School at Sale and was succeeded by Miss Farrow. The change of superintendent appeared to cause some unrest and disobedience amongst the girls. Miss Farrow only stayed for a short time and in 1883 had been replaced by Miss M. Scott. She too soon moved on and in 1884 was succeeded by Miss Janet Wotherspoon, with Miss Helen Wotherspoon as schoolmistress. The staff now included a sewing mistress and a laundress.
In 1886, it was noted that the girls did the washing for the boys' school as well as their own. They made their own clothing and also made and repaired boys' shirts. All the girls learned to knit and sew and prepared for employment in domestic service.
Following growing dissatisfaction with the Church Gate premises, a move was made to a new site on Dialstone Lane, Stockport where a large house had been erected. The new property was certified for use on December 27, 1889.
The School had a large asphalted playground equipped with swings and see-saws. By 1896, the girls had a visit from a military drill instructor each Saturday and went out for walks at least once a week. A trained cookery instructor came from Manchester to give the girls lessons each week. Some of the girls were sent out alone on errands, and occasionally all went into the town to spend their own money. In 1902, twelve girls went for a month's holiday on Anglesey.
The School site is shown on the 1910 map below.
The School enjoyed a consistently good reputation, both with its official inspectors, and also with those who employed former inmates — there was no difficulty in placing girls as domestic servants. In 1906, a Roll of Honour was inaugurated on which the names were recorded of girls who had stayed in their situations for three years or more.
In 1906, Miss Helen Wotherspoon resigned as schoolmistress after more than twenty years in the post. She was succeeded by Miss A. Nicholls.
Following a decline in its numbers, the School closed in February, 1922. The building was later occupied by the Battersby Sports and Social Club, and then by the Belgrade Hotel, now the Britannia Hotel.
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- None identfied at present — any information welcome.
- 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.