Wednesday, 7 June 2017

1883 .......... one year in the work of the Manchester and Salford Children’s charity

Now 1883 was a busy year for our own children’s charity which had been established just thirteen years earlier as a rescue mission to feed and give a bed for the night to destitute boys on the streets of Manchester and Salford.

Outside the Refuge offices, circa 1900
Just over a decade and a bit later it had expanded into a whole range of support activities including homes for both boys and girls, vocational training, seaside holidays, along with campaigning for legislation to protect vulnerable children and intervening in the courts against neglectful and abusive parents.

During the last month I have been digging deeper into the work of the charity, starting with the annual reports, and at random I have chosen 1883.

It was a busy year but looking at the spread of reports from 1871 through to 1919 it was typical.

And with that in mind I thought it would be useful to focus on that report.*

The first port of call was the newspapers and in particular the Manchester Guardian, and starting next week I shall be delving into the archives.  Like all good research every item begs a whole set of questions which will take me off in all sorts of directions.

But for now it is that year of 1883 and that report.

The report began with the appalling news of the “virtual collapse of old central premises in Strangeways just when the new additional building was almost finished.”

But that hadn’t stopped the completion of extension scheme for Orphan  Girls’ Home Branch or the start of “The Seaside Home for weak, pale faced city children” which had been established at Lytham.

It is easy perhaps to react against the Victorian directness of language but  this and the other summer camps organized by the charity provided children with a holiday by the sea which for many would have been their first.  And some of the 225 children “under our care and training at the Refuge and branch homes” may well have been on one of those trips to the seaside.

The report detailed the gender split, and the number who had had one or both parents still living, and concluded by describing where 118 went onto who didn’t stay in the Refuge.

And that is all for now.

Location Manchester

Picture; courtesy of the Together Trust

* Manchester & Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges, Manchester Guardian, March 12 1884

**The Together Trust, https://www.togethertrust.org.uk/who-we-are


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