Industrial School for Girls, Winson Green, Birmingham, Warwickshire
In 1863, Miss Charlotte J.D. Weale opened an Industrial School for Girls at Winson Green, Birmingham. The School, now known as 'The Home', had been founded by Miss Weale at Handsworth in 1859. The School was intended "for the reception of exceedingly ill-tempered, wilful, unmanageable girls, whose troublesome dispositions debar them admittance into other schools." The establishment's Industrial School certificate was transferred to the new premises on February 28th, 1863.
The Homes could accommodate up to 32 girls who were trained for domestic service. Although able to receive girls placed under detention by the courts, the great majority of the inmates were voluntary cases. The payment required for a girl from the neighbourhood was six shillings per week, plus a one pound entrance fee. For those from further afield, the entrance fee was two pounds. For girls committed by magistrates, only the entrance fee was required to be paid.
An inspector's report in October, 1862, expressed disappointment that only five of the inmates were there under an order of detention. It was suggested that the discipline and instruction of the girls, which was essential to reformatory training, would never be placed on the on the regular and systematic footing that was required, while the majority of inmates were both voluntary and also much older than the average for children in Industrial Schools.
The following year, when 6 out of the 26 inmates were under detention orders, some improvement was reported. However, there was no regular schoolmistress and the girls, apart from those who had previously received a fair amount of instruction, appeared to be very ignorant. There was a laundry for the employment of the older girls who also did the housework. The younger girls were taught needlework.
In 1865, 6 out of the 27 girls were there under detention. The majority were voluntary cases, aged over 15 years, and received on payment from parents or friends. The girls under magistrates' orders were very young and their instruction was noted as being quite elementary. Although Miss Weale received much valuable assistance from voluntary helpers, this did not facilitate the regularity of discipline and instruction requested by the School's inspector.
Miss Weale began to suffer from health problems in 1866 and the running of the establishment was handed over to Miss Burt. A schoolmistress had now been engaged and classroom performance was now reported as satisfactory. In 1869, it became clear that Miss Weale's continuing poor health made it impossible for her to resume management of the School and its Industrial School was given up. The 7 inmates then under detention were transferred to the Gem Street Industrial School in Birmingham.
Whether the Home continued in operation as with only voluntary inmates is uncertain.
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- None identfied at present — any information welcome.
- 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)
- None noted at present.
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