Holy Trinity Industrial School, Liverpool, Lancashire
The Holy Trinity Industrial School was opened in 1870 through the exertions of a local minister, the Rev. Canon Henry Postance, who had already founded a Ragged School and a regular day school in the area. The new establishment was located at 73-79 Grafton Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, and formally certified for operation on October 3rd, 1870.
An early inspection report noted that the premises comprised a considerable space of ground, with two good houses in front, which were to be extended to provide additional dormitories, a school-room, etc. Accommodation for 200 children was eventually provided. Apart from meals and instruction, the boys and girls were kept separate. Initially, Mrs Bond was appointed as the School's matron but by 1872, she had been succeeded by Mr Alfred Postance as superintendent, with Miss Walker as matron. The following year, Miss Lyons had become matron and was herself succeeded in 1874 by Mrs Westall. A comment by the School's inspector suggested that the severity of punishments inflicted on the girls by the previous matron (Miss Lyons) had led to a number of them to abscond.
For their industrial training, the boys were taught tailoring, shoemaking, and wood-chopping. A printing workshop was added in 1875. The girls were occupied in needlework, housework, cooking, baking, and did all the School's washing. A boys' band was formed whose members, in 1876, learned a large sum of money through their performing at outside events. However, the School's inspector raised considerable objection to the band boys of a certified institution being let out for hire in this way.
Further additions to the premises were completed in 1875 including the Harrow dormitory, built by the subscriptions of the masters and boys of Harrow School, and a new schoolroom for the girls. The boys and girls were now completely separated.
The School site is shown on the1891 map below.
In 1877, it was decided to make the School a boys-only establishment and in June the girls were transferred to the girls' department of the Industrial School at Everton Terrace.
In 1879, Mr John Blaney briefly became superintendent and was succeeded by Mr John Ogilvie, with Mrs Manifold as matron. The latter was replaced by Mrs Fraser in 1882, and then by Miss Mitchell who became matron in 1883.
Around 18 boys now worked in the printer's shop, where a small gas engine supplied the motive power for the press. The boys who were trained in this department found no difficulty in getting good wages at once on leaving the school. The wood-chopping business occupied a good number of the younger boys, who as they got older were drafted off to other shops. There was a steam engine and circular saw in the wood chopping room. About 25 boys learned shoemaking, and the same number were employed in the tailors shop. A class of juniors worked under a sewing mistress, knitting socks, darning, and repairing clothing. The boys helped in all the work of the house, kitchen and laundry.
In 1886, George H. Postance — one of Rev. Postance's sons — succeeded Mr Ogilvie as superintendent. At the same date, Miss Laurenson was matron but by the following year had been replaced by Miss L. M. Vernon, and with Mrs Sayle taking over in 1888. Other staff now comprised the clerk and assistant superintendent, Mr Isaac Chappell; schoolmaster, Mr R. H. Brockless; assistant schoolmaster, Mr. F Andrews; general assistant, Mr. John Roberts; cook and baker; two laundresses, two house-servants, bandmaster, tailor, shoemaker, printer, sawyer and engineer, van driver, sewing mistress. In 1891, Mrs E.M. Warburton became matron, with Miss L. Kirkpatrick taking over in 1893.
The School now had a good swimming bath. A new joiners' shop was established in 1892 with eight work benches. The following year, an additional playground was created and equipped with fives courts and gymnastic apparatus, the gift of Edward P. Thompson, Esq. The boys now made their own bread.
A report in 1896 noted that the buildings now enclosed three yards. The dormitories were numerous and the whole place rather complicated. The immediate surroundings were described as gloomy, consisting of hospitals and warehouses, the latter gradually displacing the even more objectionable courts and alleys of a slummy neighbourhood. There was a playing field about a mile away, where the boys went twice a week. Cricket and football matches were played with other schools. Them were 2 (senior and junior) gymnasiums, but no regular instruction. Drill with extension motions was carried on. The plunge bath was of fair size and the boys generally swam well before leaving. In the evening, the schoolroom served as a library and reading room, where books and periodicals were provided. The wood-chopping had now been reduced, but private customers and the school were still supplied. There brass and reed band comprised 30 performers, whose services were in demand, and from which several boys joined regimental bands. A mark system was in operation, giving monetary awards for good conduct. Despite this, minor offences were frequent: in a ten-month period 305 cases had been recorded, with 1,070 stokes of punishment being administered.
The Rev. Canon Henry Postance, the founder of the School, died on October 16th, 1897. His son George, superintendent of the School since 1886, and the matron Miss Kirkpatrick, were dismissed by the School's committee a few months later. In their place, Mr C.H. Holmes and Mrs Holmes were appointed superintendent and matron on April 18th, 1898.
On August 1st, 1900, the School established an Auxiliary Home close by at 67 Grafton Street. The Home provided supervised hostel-style accommodation for 10 boys who were leaving, or on licence from, the School and who were taking up outside employment. The official capacity of the Home was raised to 14 boys on March 14th, 1904. The Home was formally closed on 10th September, 1923.
Mr and Mrs Holmes departed on February 28th, 1906. They were succeeded by Mr and Mrs Tom Robinson on March 1st, 1906.
In 1911, the School gained the championship in the Liverpool and District Cricket Association. There was now a boys' rifle squad with 36 members. The School spent over four weeks in camp at Hightown in the summer.
The School was closed in 1928. The site was later used as factory premises but the buildings now no longer survive.
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.
- Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2RE. Apparently had some records for Grafton Street and Nile Street Schools amongst those of the Liverpool Juvenile Reformatory Association (ref DDX 824/4)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
- None noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.