St Vincent's Junior Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys, Whitstable, Kent
In 1899, St Vincent's Industrial School at Dartford opened a branch establishment for younger boys at Cliff Terrace, Whitstable. St Vincent's Junior School was formally certified for operation as an Industrial School on January 4th, 1899, with accommodation for 30 boys, aged from 7 years upwards. The School was run several Sisters of the Order of Mercy, with Sister Clare Joseph as the first Sister Superior or superintendent.
The School was located in one of a terrace of six houses looking down on the sea, a short distance from Whitstable. The rooms occupied by the boys were said to be bright and comfortable although the quarters for the staff and storeroom accommodation were less satisfactory. Laundry had to be done in the scullery.
In addition to their school work, the boys helped in the housework — making beds, cleaning boots, darning etc. The older ones peeled potatoes. During the summer months, outdoor drill with dumb-bells was given. Cricket and football were played, and the opportunities for bathing were taken advantage of in summer.
In 1903, construction was completed of new premises for the School on Northwood Road in the Tankerton district of Whitstable. The new building, which could house 60 boys, was formally certified for operation on September 19th, 1903.
The daily routine of the boys was much the same in their new home. Elementary handicraft training was provided for in drawing, paper folding, cutting, etc. The older boys occasionally assisted with the domestic work.
Sister Clare Joseph left in June, 1906, and was succeeded as superintendent by Sister Mary Mildred Locks. She in turn departed on 9th January, 1908, and her was taken by Sister Mary Peter Egan. The following year, Reverend Mother Camillus Dempsey was in charge.
In 1933, St Vincent's 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 School could then accommodate up to 60 Junior Boys, aged under 12 at their date of admission. The headmistress in 1935 was Sister Columba Byrne.
In 1973, the School became a Community Home with Education (CHE) run in conjunction with Bexley London Borough Council.
In more recent times, the premises have been used as a residential centre for a Roman Catholic youth service.
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.
- Diagrama (formerly Cabrini), 49 Russell Hill Road, Purley, Surrey CR8 2XB. Cabrini holds records for children adopted through:
- Cabrini Children's Society
- Catholic Children's Society
- Southwark Catholic Children's Society
- Southwark Catholic Rescue Society
- Portsmouth Diocesan Catholic Child Welfare Society
- 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)
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