Ancestry UK

Manchester Day Industrial School, Manchester, Lancashire

In 1888, the Manchester School Board erected the city's first and only a Day Industrial School at Mill Street, Ancoats. On 28th July, a memorial stone was laid at the site by the Board's vice-chairman, the Rev. Canon Toole.

Prior to the School's opening, the Board engaged in a lengthy debate as to what provision the new establishment should make for Roman Catholic children to be taught separately, and whether such provision, if any, would apply to all instruction or just that for religious education. It was eventually decided that for all classroom education, Protestant and Roman Catholic children would be taught separately.

The building was designed by John Lowe and cost in the order of £6,500. On the ground floor were a dining hall and kitchen, a plunge baths for boys and girls, and other facilities. On the first floor, there were lofty and well lighted schoolrooms, with classrooms and a suite of rooms for the officers. There were separate schoolrooms for Protestants and Roman Catholics. The outbuildings included a workshop and a laundry, and a caretaker's house was attached to the School. The establishment was formally certified for operation on January 11th, 1889, with accommodation for 300 children, aged 6 to 14 years. The superintendent was Miss Sutton.

By 1893, 20 boys were receiving industrial training work with the shoemaker, 36 were in the manual instruction class, and all the boys were being taught drawing. Some sack-making was also carried on, and a drum and fife band had been established. 14 of the girls receives lessons in plain cooking, and 20 were engaged in the kitchen. The laundry had been enlarged, and some washing had been undertaken. The girls all learned to sew and to knit, and to use the sewing-machine.

Mrs Mackay became superintendent in 1894. Both the boys and girls now took part in regular drill, marching, and extension and wand exercises. The boys played footfall and a team representing both sections nearly won a competition amongst elementary schools. At Christmas, the children were given a special dinner followed by a magic lantern entertainment.

Following the resignation of Mrs Mackay, Mrs H.E. Harrison took over as superintendent on 1st September, 1901. She was succeeded on June 1st, 1904, by Mrs Ada Horth, who was replaced by Miss Gertrude Thompson on 1st May, 1907.

The School generally received very positive inspection reports. In 1908, for example, classroom performance was uniformly 'good' across also subjects and in both Protestant and Catholic sections. As regards the girls' industrial training, all the sewing and the cutting-out of blouses and under-garments done as a test in both sections were good. Machining had been taught to a few girls. Special cookery lessons had been introduced and a large number of dishes were well taught, afterwards being practised in the kitchen. A large amount of work was being done in the steam laundry, with each having training in this department during her time at the School. The ironing done by some little girls was 'quite creditable'. With the boys, steady work was being done in manual instruction, and theoretical instruction was being given in the shoemaking shop. In physical training, free exercises on Swedish lines were taken by all the children for two half-hours a week. The children were taken to the swimming bath once a week and made camp for three weeks in the summer.

The School resigned its certificate as of 17th May, 1917. The premises were subsequently occupied by a Technical School and later the Manchester School of Building. The property no longer exists.


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