April 11, 2018

‘Beyond the control of his parents’: Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Yorkshire

By Lucie Wade, Leeds Beckett University

Reformatory and Industrial schools were Victorian and early Edwardian institutions, which were established as a response to a perceived increase in juvenile crime. The schools operated from the 1850s until 1933, after which the two types of school were merged under the Approved Schools Act. While some of these schools left little archival material behind, some have amazingly complete records, and should be considered by anyone who wants to find out more about their criminal ancestors.

So, what were Reformatory schools and Industrial schools? Both types of school began as a philanthropic effort in the nineteenth century, and aimed to deal with the perceived problem of juvenile delinquency, as well as provide relief for destitute children. Both of these types of institution became subject to governmental legislation from the 1850s on, but still remained voluntary institutions. Both girls and boys could be committed to reformatory and industrial schools, and the institutions were usually single sex, although there were many more schools in operation for boys than there were for girls. Initially, it was the reformatory school which was intended to cater for delinquent children, and the industrial school for the destitute; although as the century went on legislation was passed which meant that the lines between the two institutions became increasingly blurred.

The key aim of both the reformatory and the industrial school was to provide the children with industrial, moral and educational training. All schools were required to provide at least some level of education, but much more focus was placed on industrial training, as it was felt that if a child were educated in a least some sort of skill which they could use to obtain employment following their discharge, then they would be less likely to reoffend. However, moral training of children was also considered very important. All schools had some sort of religious training (although there were separate institutions for Catholic children), and many schools employed a marks system, where children were rewarded for good behaviour and punished for bad behaviour. For the most part, boy’s schools would teach their charges a manual trade, such as carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking, and girls would be trained up for a domestic position following their discharge.

One key aspect of these schools was the ‘aftercare’ which they provided. Schools were required to keep up with former residents for at least three years following their discharge, and encouraged past residents to write, visit and generally stay in touch. As well as this, schools usually put in considerable effort to make sure that resident’s walked out of the school into a job which had been found for them – in the case of girls, many went straight to live with their employers, and if they did not suit, could be returned to the institution until another situation was found. These schools were effectively providing a very early system of probation and rehabilitation.


Find out more about the sources available for researching reformatory and industrial schools

Latest Updates on Twitter

Types of 'employment' & wages of prisoners in #Ripon House of Correction in 1872. Oakum picking had been introduced by the Governor, William Smith (formerly Sgt of the Ripon Police) in 1863. #NorthYorkshire @ourcriminalpast @prisonhistoryuk @CaPnetworkUK

@MAMBarLife @ourcriminalpast Yes. Ideally no windows, though some had small windows or grates for ventilation. Box Blind House is a true blind house - they managed to put the ventilation in the chimney https://tinyurl.com/eju6un9w

Finding a burial record is an important part of tracing your ancestor's story. Here's how to search the records of local cemeteries online

https://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/tutorials/cemetery-records-online/

1. Another in our #LostPrisonsofDublin series. "New Newgate" opened in 1781 to replace "Old Newgate", the medieval city prison located in Cornmarket. Designed by Thomas Cooley, it was quickly seen as out-dated and overcrowded with poor ventilation and sanitation. (image DCC)

2

Although the Met had detectives from 1842, when the painter William Frith wanted 2 real life officers as models for his depiction of an arrest (right), he used Michael Haydon and James Brett of the City of London Police, 2 of the finest thief takers of the day #AVeryBritishMurder

#365Relatives #365Anniversaries My 3xGt Grandmother, Helen PHILIP (née TAYLOR) died on 8 April 1876 at the Haddington District Asylum. She had been admitted to the asylum in December 1873. The @scottishindexes website is a great source for details of patients in Scottish asylums.

2

Final call: PhD studentship on the Corps of Commissionaires in C20 Britain. Great opportunity to explore social history of military, post-military transitions, charity and private security. Deadline this Friday https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SmN88AkqFzhqVLYgxvPK18KY_2hNFbMc85K0uLoR2zE/edit#heading=h.g0dsvd6a6j6t

On Wednesday 14th, our final Criminology Rising Star speaker for the year will be Ben Jarman @bjarman_ discussing 'Penal theory, moral communication, and personal ethics’ (1pm). Support (12.15pm) is from our own Simone Santorso @cccjhull. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/criminology-rising-star-guest-speaker-series-202021-tickets-125894041467