Ancestry UK

Carlton House Industrial School for Girls, Kingsdown, Bristol, Gloucestershire

On July 7th, 1874, the Carlton House Industrial School for Girls was certified to operate in a former private residence known as Carlton House on Southwell Street in the Kingsdown area of Bristol. The School, which was established by the Bristol School Board, admitted its first inmates at the start of 1875. The premises could accommodate up to 55 girls. The first staff consisted of the matron, Miss Catherine M. Combe; the schoolmistress, Mrs. Smith; and a laundress. laundress.

As well as classroom lessons, the girls received industrial training to prepare them for employment in domestic service. The older girls did the washing and assisted with the kitchen and house work. All the girls learned knitting and plain needlework.

In 1881, Miss Katherine Mcfarlane (or Macfarlane) took over as matron. She still held the post in 1911.

In 1883, it was noted that fourteen of the girls had emigrated during the previous three years, at the personal cost of a local gentleman who was interested in the welfare of the school. It was also recorded that one of the girls had swallowed a shilling.

A report in 1896 recorded that a small cottage had been erected in the front garden to accommodate girls temporarily returning to the School after licence or discharge from their situation. There was a play-yard in which the girls played cricket. There was a covered shed and 36 small garden plots around two sides for the girls to cultivate. The laundry had now been enlarged employed about 20 girls in two relays. Lessons in cookery were given weekly to a class of 12 girls by a qualified outside instructress. The demand for domestic servants was said to be great, especially from Bristol and London, with wages starting at £6 per annum and soon rising to £10, thanks to some extent to the cookery instruction. Musical drill was carried out in the winter. The sewing-room had a range of separate lockers for 'treasures' and also served as a recreation room on winter evenings. Walks were taken once a week, and the girls were allowed to break off when the countryside was reached. Every summer, three weeks were spent in the countryside. The School library now contained 150 books.

The School was officially closed on March 13th, 1924. The premises were later occupied by Bristol Maternity Hospital but no longer exist.

Bristol Maternity Hospital (former Carlton House Industrial School), Bristol, c.1930. © Peter Higginbotham


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.

  • Bristol Record Office, 'B' Bond Warehouse (in the 'Create Centre' section from 3-Dec-2013), Smeaton Road, Bristol BS1 6XN. Holdings include: Admission and discharge books (1875-1925).



  • None noted at present.