Industrial and Reformatory School Registers

Registers kept by Industrial and Reformatory Schools contain a great deal of information about the criminal and destitute children who were sent to these institutions from the mid-nineteenth century until 1933, when they were merged into the new approved schools under the Children and Young Person Act. Remember to bear in mind that these records can be closed up to 100 years so the records from the 1920s and early 1930s are unlikely to be open.

Both Industrial and Reformatory School Admissions Registers can contain a wide range of personal information and details about the crime or circumstances which led to the child being admitted. This information might include:

  • name
  • age
  • date of birth
  • date of admission
  • with what charged
  • criminal history
  • trade or occupation
  • period of detention
  • previous character
  • religion
  • name of parents
  • occupation of parents
  • address of parents
  • educational attainment
  • physical description, sometimes including a photograph.

Industrial and Reformatory School registers and other records can be found in both local record offices and at the National Archives, so it helps to check both.

For example, the admission registers, school returns, and discharge and licence registers of Bradwell Reformatory in Cheshire are held the National Archives, but minutes, committee paper and correspondence, are held at the Cheshire Archives. In contrast, the records of the Leeds Reformatory (later the East Moor Approved School) are held in the local record office.

Some industrial and reformatory schools’ records have been digitised. For example, records held at the West Yorkshire Archives relating to industrial and reformatory schools (including Leeds Reformatory School, Calder Farm Reformatory, and Shadwell Industrial School) have been digitised and made available (for a fee) at Ancestry.co.uk. Similarly, the registers of the Manchester Industrial School are available on Findmypast.co.uk.

Download a guide to Industrial and Reformatory Schools sources

Latest Updates on Twitter

@OU_Williams @northernhistory @ourcriminalpast @DrewDGray @WelshRaffles @earlypolicing We'd confirm - seems to be wearing an indoor tailcoat and unlikely for a Runner to be armed with a sword in this scenario. @blackpoppies14 has researched the earliest known Met mixed-race officer, Robert Branford, with us 1838-1866:
https://twitter.com/Southwark_News/status/1263560495598129153

@earlypolicing @OU_Williams @northernhistory @ourcriminalpast @DrewDGray @MPSHeritage @WelshRaffles @BritPoliceHist @colpolicemuseum Thomas Latham is noted here. However dates do not coincide.

https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/section/bhm-firsts/john-kent-britains-first-black-policeman/

@northernhistory @ourcriminalpast @DrewDGray @MPSHeritage @WelshRaffles @earlypolicing I don't think he's drawn in there as a Runner -- he's getting up from his chair. So it looks like PC Kent of Carlisle Police remains the earliest confirmed (1830s) black constable. There could well be others out there though.

I'm spending today back in the murder files, reading through trial depositions and looking for evidence of detective practice and early CSI techniques. Great to have finally got round to sorting out the data from my last archival visit! I shall report backβ€¦πŸ˜€πŸ”Ž #detectives #PhD

The 1810 Bastards Act placed the responsibility for the maintenance of an illegitimate child on the putative father rather than the Parish. Mary Bilham of Carbrooke, Norfolk named Stephen Beeks as the father of her child. Her daughter was baptised in January 1812. #101Documents

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@victoriansleuth @ourcriminalpast Shouldn't be too difficult to knock up some stocks from a few wooden pallets and some scrap timber, attach some wheels, we're mobile. πŸ€”πŸ˜‚

I have several 'criminals' in my family tree, who were convicted of theft, poaching, swearing on the highway (!), and keeping a disorderly house 😱 Have you found any criminal ancestors? #AncestryHour

@TheRothOfKhan @PlymCSecResp @CrownhillPolice @PlymASecResp @plymspecial999 @PlymPoliceBSec @PlymouthVPC @CustodyPlymouth @MPSSouthwark @MPSGreenwich @DevonHeritage @HMNBDevonport @NatMuseumRN @theboxplymouth @britainsocean @PlymouthUK2020 @oneplymouth @sarewaddington Fortunately we also have a digitised copy of his divisional ledger entry on M, where he was M341. He'd switched from carman for a haulage company (1911) to labourer by the time he joined the Met, making the transfer to No. 3 (Devonport) Division on 4 July 1917.

@TheRothOfKhan @PlymCSecResp @CrownhillPolice @PlymASecResp @plymspecial999 @PlymPoliceBSec @PlymouthVPC @CustodyPlymouth Here's his Met joining signature. An Essex-born taxi driver in 1911, he started out on M (@MPSSouthwark) & was on R (@MPSGreenwich) at his retirement with an "Excellent" conduct certificate on 12 September 1937. Riverside divisions were quite a common pre-/post-Dockyard posting.

#OnThisDay in 1940, Reserve PC Alfred Crosby was seriously injured in an air raid whilst directing people to a shelter. He died the next day. RPC Crosby was an ex-Met PC & served 25yrs at Devonport Docks. He was the first policeman in Plymouth to die as a result of enemy action.