Ancestry UK

Epileptic School / Approved School, Starnthwaite, Kendal, Westmorland

In 1902, a school and farm colony for 'epileptics capable of education' was opened at Starnthwaite, near Kendal. The premises, formerly used as a fulling mill, could accommodate up to 40 boys aged from 7 to 16 years. The inmates were given training in carpentry, boot and shoe making, rug and carpet making, and farm and garden work. The establishment was run by the Christian Social Service Union.

On July 1st, 1935, the site became an Approved School for Junior Boys. The premises accommodated up to 45 boys aged below 13 years at their date of admission.

Epileptic Boys' Home from the west, Kendal, c.1914. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Starnthwaite Ghyll School from the south-west, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Starnthwaite Ghyll School from the north-east, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

On 1st January, 1962, the establishment became Starnthwaite Ghyll School, presumably with a new management.

In 1973, the School became a Community Home with Education (CHE) under the control of Westmorland County Council.

The site has now been converted to residential use.


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  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has some reports and other documents relating to the School,


  • 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)