Ancestry UK

Cambridge Industrial School, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

The Cambridge Industrial School was founded in 1847 by the Rev. Harvey Goodwin. It was aimed at boys aged 13 to 15 who were too old to attend the National School but had not yet been able to obtain regular employment and so spent their time on the streets, often ending up in trouble with the police. The School provided instruction in field-work and various crafts together with 'the influence of moral and religious culture.' A Committee was formed to pursue the scheme and money raised from donations and subscriptions. A suitable six-acre site was leased at Victoria Road, Cambridge, and a building erected which was opened on March 25th, 1850.

Initially, twenty boys attended the School, with the number gradually increased up to its full capacity of fifty. Each boy paid 2d per week, the money being paid in advance each Monday morning. The School provided the boys with a dinner each day. The original daily timetable was as follows:

7.00—8.00Industrial Occupation
9.00—10.00Reading, writing etc. in school
10.00—12.30Industrial Occupation
12.30—2.00Dinner and recreation
3.00—5.00Industrial Occupation

The industrial training included gardening, pig-keeping. tailoring, shoe-making, and the knitting of stockings. The School's farming activities steadily developed with the livestock in 1867 consisting of a horse, 3 cows, a sow and 10 pigs.

In 1864, the School made its first steps towards being a residential institution with the creation on a small dormitory in part of the loft over the dining room. The School's Committee decided however not to apply to become a Certified Industrial School for the accommodation of boys placed by magistrates.

The location of the home is shown on the 1886 map below.

Cambridge Industrial School site, Cambridge, c.1886.

In 1896, the School was taken over the Waifs and Strays Society and became their Harvey Goodwin Home. Up to this date, a total around two thousand boys had stayed at the establishment.

The Victoria Road buildings no longer survive.


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  • None identified at present.