Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Taken in to care in 1913 ............ one family story, and the progressive record of a Manchester children’s charity

 Now after reading the latest story on the Together Trust’s blog, I have been thinking of my grandfather and his siblings who spent most of their young lives in the care of the Derby Guardians.*

Entry in the Derby Union Admissions Book, 1913
It is still difficult to piece together why great grandmother Eliza’s couldn’t cope but I know that after the birth of her first four children she became a single mother, had her last child in the Workhouse and looks to have been admitted to the Derby Asylum by the 1930s where she died in 1963.

He grip on reality may have been light for years before that, and the fragmentary records that have survived point to the children having been in institutions from a very early age.

And in 1913 my grandfather and great uncle Roger were deemed out of control and both were placed in a Naval Boot camp.

Granddad went and for reasons unknown to us his brother chose instead to be migrated to Canada as a British Home Child.

From the Haven Magazine, 1904

Just exactly what they got up to which lead the authorities to record that they “were out of control” has been lost.  There may be something in the magistrate’s files and possibly even a newspaper cutting but I doubt it.

So instead I will return to that blog story which focuses on the treatment of juvenile offenders at the beginning of the 20th century and the work of the Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges’

“It was reported that in 1904,in Manchester alone, 530 juveniles had been arrested. 

Of this number 66 were under the age of 10 and 435 were aged 10-16. 

Many were in front of the court not for a crime but for begging, sleeping out or selling goods on the street without a corporation license. Some undoubtedly, under the influence of those they came into contact with at the police courts, drifted into more serious crime.”

And the “from 1896 the Refuge had already begun to take in children to its Shelter on Chatham Street to prevent them having to be locked up in an adult police cell. This was an exception to the rule however.”

Enteries to the Children's Shelter, 1902
But then the charity was already engaged in prosecuting parents who neglected their children as well as campaigning for better legal protection for young people particularly in respect of working conditions.

The article concludes with a look at the 1908 Children’s Act which will be of interest to anyone wanting to give a context to child care at the turn of the last century.

And if you want more you will have to follow the link.Treatment of Juvenile Offenders*

Location; Manchester, Derby, Canada

Picture; Artist Impression, Children’s Haven, 1904, courtesy of the Together Trust, http://togethertrustarchive.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-together-trust.html

*Treatment of Juvenile Offenders, Getting Down and Dusty, October 24, 2016, http://togethertrustarchive.blogspot.co.uk/

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