Ancestry UK

Dalbeth Magdalene Institution for Roman Catholic Girls, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland

In 1851, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd opened the Magdalene Institution, or 'House of Refuge', in part of their convent at London Road, Dalbeth, about two miles to the south-east of central Glasgow. In its first eighteen years of operation, the building, originally erected for use as a college, could house between twenty and thirty 'penitents'. In 1868, larger premises were built at the site, funded by subscriptions and donations, to accommodate 150 inmates. As well as the Magdalene Institution, part of the site also housed an Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls.

In its early years, the Magdalen Institution generated a modest income from needlework and the profits of a small farm. In 1879, the need to provide a larger income led to the construction of a large laundry. By 1900, the institution could house up to 150 girls and young women aged from 15 to 30 years. At that date, other occupations for the girls included farm and garden work, bread making and baking, knitting, crochet work and toy making. In 1912, the capacity of the home had increased to 226 places. Inmates were expected to remain two or three years.

The Institution site is shown on the 1893 map below.

Dalbeth Magdalene Institution site, Glasgow, c.1893.

The Good Shepherd Sisters left Dalbeth in 1949 and moved to a new site at Old Bishopton, Renfrewshire.

The Dalbeth premises no longer exist but part of the Old Bishopton building still survives.


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