Ancestry UK

Manchester Branch Industrial School for Girls, Sale Moor, Cheshire

In April 1871, the girls at the Manchester Ragged and Certified Industrial School at Ardwick Green were transferred to their own purpose-built premises at 429 Northenden Road, Sale Moor, Cheshire. On April 21st, 1871, the new establishment was formally certified to operate as an Industrial School, receiving girls committed by magistrates for a period of detention. The School had accommodation for up to 100 girls, aged 8 to 14 years at their date of admission. Small boys could also be admitted in exceptional circumstances. The School's first matron was Miss Emma Pettit.

Manchester Girls' Industrial School site, c.1898.

Manchester Girls' Industrial School from the north-west, early 1900s.

As well as classroom teaching, the girls received industrial training which included laundry work, housework, sewing and knitting. As well as making their own clothing, the girls made shirts and stockings for the Barnes Home at Heaton Mersey. The older girls assisted with the cooking. In addition to the ordinary house cooking, instruction was given in 'a better kind of cooking'.

In May, 1882, Miss Pettit was succeeded by Miss I. Stewart, She in turn was replaced in 1888 by Mrs Lyons.

A report in 1896 noted that 70 of the girls were engaged in laundry work. As well as their own School's washing, they did that of the Barnes Home and Ardwick Green Schools, and also washed for a few private families. In the kitchen 6 girls received instruction in general cooking and baked for the staff. 60 girls were engaged in making and mending their own clothes, and in sewing with a machine. There were 6 girls in training as housemaids. Physical drill with dumb-bells and parallel bars was taken for three-quarters of an hour each week under an instructor, and musical drill for an hour each month. Walks were taken twice a week all the year round. There was an annual day excursion to the seaside. Frequent entertainments, concerts and tea parties were organised by the friends of the School. Indoor games were provided and there was a playroom provided with lockers, in which the girls kept their treasures. There was a library of about 400 volumes, which were read during winter evenings. There was a mark system carrying monetary rewards for good conduct. This amounted to 6d a month for this achieving the 1st class; 4d. a month for the 2nd; and privileges only for the 3rd. The money was banked, and the children could draw upon it at will.

Mrs Lyons retired on April 28th, 1900. The School's inspector commented that 'She has worked hard for years and successfully, and it must be a gratification to know that she is leaving a school of the highest reputation, with no superior, and, in some respects ,no equal in England.' She was succeeded by Miss A.E. Hopton who was still in post in 1920.

In 1911, 16 girls had been enrolled as Girl Guides and were receiving instruction from the superintendent and schoolmistress. At the annual reunion of old girls, six silver watches were presented to girls for three years' good service in their first situation, and 10 girls received a present of a half-sovereign for a year's good service in their first place.

From August 22nd, 1928, the Northenden Road Girls; School, as it was now known, was allowed to receive boys under the age of eight, so long as they were transferred elsewhere before reaching their tenth birthday. The total capacity of the School was now set at 80 places. The superintendent at this date was Mrs Bisset.

In 1933, the institution 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 Northenden Road School could then accommodate up to 70 Junior Girls, aged under 15 at their date of admission. Small boys could also be admitted in exceptional circumstances. The children attended the local Public Elementary schools. The headmistress in 1935 was Miss A.M. Seal.

In 1973, the school became a Community Home with Education (CHE) under the control of Manchester County Borough Council.

The buildings no longer survive and the site is now covered by modern housing.


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  • Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives), Archives+, Manchester Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD. Holdings include:
    • Ardwick Green — Admission registers (1866-1921); Discharge registers (1896-1906).
    • Sale — Admission registers (1883-1963); Licensing registers; Medical reports; Punishment books; Annual reports; Committee minutes; etc.
  • Admission registers (1883-1904) are also available online on Find My Past.



  • None noted at present.