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

Rochdale Home For Boys

Photograph of Rochdale Home For Boys

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Rochdale Home For Boys

St Albans Street and 12 Castlemere Street, Rochdale, Lancashire

(1891 - 1946)

This home had already been running for several months when Bishop Cramer-Roberts conducted the official opening ceremony on 11 November 1891. The first five children had moved in on 27 July, having been sent from the Rochdale workhouse. Other children arrived from different locations around the country including Liverpool, Exeter, Uxbridge and Rhyl. The Home took a long time to reach its capacity and it was only full by 1894, with 20 boys (aged 8-12) living there.

The children were looked after by their Matron, Miss Major, and by their Lady Superintendent, Miss Holmes. Miss Major gave the boys music lessons and taught the boys how to sing around the Home's piano. According to the local vicar, Miss Major's tuition made the boys a 'precious asset to the parish choir'. One of the boys was so talented that he was allowed to sing as a soloist, and Miss Major had high hopes that he could follow a career in music. The boys' singing talents were also put to use in various entertainments organised by the Home. In 1909 they hosted a musical evening, with the boys performing a pageant called Friendly Trades. Each boy was dressed up to represent a trade or occupation, and sang a short song to the 'delighted' audience.

In 1913 the Rochdale Home received a donation of £1,000 from a Miss Emma Taylor. As the old house was in need of some expensive repairs, it was decided that the money would be better spent on a new building altogether. The donated money was sufficient to buy a large house on Castlemere Street, with the remainder spent on alterations and furnishings. The new home was opened on 11 November 1914, with a dedication ceremony conducted by Archdeacon Clarke.

The Home ran until 1939, when the Second World War forced the children to evacuate to Fleetwood (near Blackpool) . Although they returned to their Rochdale briefly, the Home was finally closed in 1946 and the boys moved to Waterloo, Liverpool.

In 1949 the building which had housed the Rochdale Home for Boys re-opened as the Isaac Taylor Nursery (closing in 1970).

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