Ancestry UK

St Mary's Home and Penitentiary, Rusholme, Manchester, Lancashire

In 1865, St Mary's Home and Penitentiary was established by the Church Penitentiary Association 'for the reformation of fallen women who have been servants or others'. Its first premises were at Hyde Road, West Gorton. The Home was run by the Sisters of St Peter the Apostle, Horbury.

On May 1st, 1871, the foundation stone for a permanent building for the Home was laid by the Bishop of Manchester. Located at 77 Dickenson Road, the building was estimated to cost £2,4000. The Bishop returned to perform the official opening on November 30th, 1871. The new premises provided accommodation for 26 inmates, aged from 16 to 25 years at their date of admission.

By 1900, the Home had expanded to 45 places, and by 1912 to 60 places. The intake was now aged from 14 to 25 years. Payment of a £5 entrance fee was requested, if possible, and inmates were expected to remain for two years. Thy were were occupied in laundry work and needlework.

By the 1920s, the establishment had adopted the name St Mary's Training Home.

On March 6th, 1944, the Home was formally certified as Approved School for Girls. The managers' decision to resign their certificate was announced a year later, on March 26th, 1945.

By 1951, the premises, then named Ribble Lodge, had become a home for 'educationally subnormal children'.

The building no longer survives.


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  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Hyland,Jim Yesterday's Answers: Yesterday's Answers: Development and Decline of Schools for Young Offenders (1993, Whiting and Birch)
  • Millham, S, Bullock, R, and Cherrett, P After Grace — Teeth: a comparative study of the residential experience of boys in Approved Schools (1975, Chaucer Publishing)