Ancestry UK

St Aidan's Nautical Training School for Roman Catholic Boys, Farnworth, near Widnes, Lancashire

St Aidan's Nautical Training School was established by the Liverpool Catholic Training Schools Association (originally known as the Liverpool Catholic Reformatory Association) as the land-based successor to the Training Ship Clarence which had been destroyed by fire in 1899. The School, located at Norland Lane, Farnworth, near Widnes, was certified as a Reformatory on November 10th, 1905, and was thus also known as the Farnworth Nautical Reformatory. It could accommodate 125 Roman Catholic boys aged from 12 to 16.

As well as seamanship, boys at the School were taught tailoring, boot and shoe making, knitting, carpentry, farm and garden work, and ship fender making. They could also develop musical skills through membership of the School's military band.

From 1913 to 1923, an Auxiliary Home existed at 28 Great George Square, Liverpool as a halfway house for boys leaving the School to take up employment in Liverpool.

From 1923, the School was official known as Farnworth St Aidan's School. In 1933, it was redesignated as an Approved School, one of the new institutions established under the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 to replace Reformatories and Industrial Schools. St Aidan's was certified as an Intermediate Approved School for 125 Roman Catholic boys aged 13 to 15.

During the Second World War, the School was evacuated. It first spent a short period at the premises of St Peter's School, Gainford, and then moved to Spring House on Norristhorpe Lane, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire.

In 1973, the School became an Assisted Community Home run in conjunction with the Liverpool County Borough Council. It had closed by 1990.

The Farnworth School buildings no longer exist.


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.

  • Liverpool Record Office and Local History Service, Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW. Holdings include: Rolls of Juvenile Offenders (c.1905-1944); Manager's Minute Books (1940-41). May be other material amongst the records of the Liverpool Catholic Reformatory Association.


  • None identified at present.