Ancestry UK

Dovecot Horticultural Special School for Girls, Liverpool, Lancashire

The Dovecot Horticultural School for Girls, at Knotty Ash, Liverpool, was founded in 1911 by the Liverpool Ladies' Association. It provided accommodation, education and training for what were then termed 'feeble minded' or 'mentally defective' girls. On July 18th, 1911, the establishment was certified as a Special Industrial School, allowing it to receive girls whom magistrates had committed to detention. The School could accommodate up to 40 girls, aged 11 to 13 years at their date of admission.

The School occupied a former 'country residence' surrounded by parkland on Pilch Lane, Knotty Ash, presumably Dovecot House. The rooms were well lit and well ventilated, and made good classrooms and dormitories. The superintendent was Miss F.C. Eyre, assisted by a head teacher, an assistant teacher, home, kitchen, and laundry matrons, two lady gardeners, and one labourer. As suggested by the School's name, gardening was the main industrial occupation provided for the girls.

The School's capacity was increased to 55 places in March, 1914, and to 58 places in October 1919.

At the end of 1920, the School relocated a short distance to a property known as Ashfield House on Thomas Lane, Knotty Ash. The new premises were formally certified for operation on 29th November, 1920, with accommodation for 64 girls aged 7 to 12 years.

In 1933, the establishment became an Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. The School was certified for the reception of 64 'high-grade feeble minded' girls.

In October, 1935, the School resigned its Approved School certificate but continued to operate as the Dovecot Special School, later renamed Thingwall Residential Special School.

Neither the Pilch Lane nor Thomas Lane premises survives, although the former entrance lodge at Thomas Lane still exists, now converted to private residential use.

Former Dovecot Horticultural School entrance lodge, Thomas Lane, Liverpool.


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.

  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.


  • None noted at present.