Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

St Aldhelm's Printing Works, Frome

Photograph of St Aldhelm's Printing Works, Frome

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See also the dietary sheet from this home in the Unexplored Riches section.

St Aldhelm's Printing Works, Frome

Frome, Somerset

(1898 - c1960s)

Sunnyside Home for Boys, the original Home in Frome, had taught printing from at least 1893 and at some point in its history the training in printing moved to a separate building and started to operate as a separate entity. The date of this is not clear and it may well have happened when the Home moved to Oakfield Road and was renamed St Aldhelm's.

By 1900 a full apprenticeship scheme was being offered for printing and residents of St Aldhelm's who expressed an interest in printing were evaluated by the Local Committee. If they were deemed suitable they would be examined by a Doctor and then boarded out in the nearby town. In 1899 the boys produced 962,632 printed circulars for the Society's head office in the form of cards, wrappers and Annual Reports at a value of £440.

The two adjoining buildings, the Home and the Printing Works, operated separately and according to the recollections of one of the former apprentices they were allowed to use the Home's grounds for playing football. Whilst the Home itself closed in around 1951, the Printing Works existed into the 1960s.

In 1923 the Printing Office at St Aldhelm's was enlarged in order to make room for more machines and employ more apprentices.

Further recollections suggest that the Printing Works was managed by three men during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The overall manager was Mr Whalley whilst Mr Jagger or Jaggeur was in charge of the composing room where the type was set. Mr Cole was manager of the machine room.

In 1962 the Frome Printing works closed except for 'special circumstances'. Throughout its lifetime the Printing Works had been responsible for printing the majority of the Society's flyers, cards, posters and Annual Reports.

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