wirral forums

Borstal query

Posted By: geprgie260

Borstal query - 5th Apr 2017 1:10pm

I am researching family history and have come across some information but don't know where to go next.

If someone lived in Wallasey, was born in 1910, and went to Borstal as a youth, what Borstal would that be? What age would the said Borstal accept? And are there any records available I am wondering.

What conditions would they encounter and would they be allowed home at all or just had to stay and serve their time?

Thanks very much for any insight offered.

Posted By: granny

Re: Borstal query - 5th Apr 2017 1:30pm

Would this throw any light on the subject.

Posted By: bert1

Re: Borstal query - 5th Apr 2017 1:44pm

Info here, 7.1 covers Reformatory, Industrial schools, etc.

Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 5th Apr 2017 4:24pm

Thanks so much granny and bert1 - great links! I have the person on the 1911 at home, being born in 1910. Just trying to bridge the gap between 1911 and the 1939 register.

The Heswall home is very interesting as what I have read ties in with what I do know and it makes sense to me, if this is the home they went to. Disturbing to read of the abuse though - I know it was different times but it is still disturbing to read and to know that my relative may have been on the receiving end.

I shall read it all with interest! Thanks again.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Borstal query - 5th Apr 2017 4:29pm

There were proper Borstal's run by the prison service from 1902 until 1982 with the main legislation occurring in 1908, these were separate from reformatory schools etc.

Two wings of Walton Prison in Liverpool were allocated as a male Corrective Institution for juveniles but I don't know from what date.

Cheshire didn't seem to have a Borstal. the nearest ones seem to be Manchester, Rochdale(Buckley Hall) and Stoke-on-Trent(Moor Court).
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 6th Apr 2017 6:31am

Thanks diggingdeeper! I didn't think that Wirral would have one and that the offenders would be sent away to somewhere much further away. Without any concrete evidence I can only guess as to which institution was used.
Posted By: futurepast

Re: Borstal query - 6th Apr 2017 10:04pm

I read a book many years ago, based on a true story, the book was called borstal boy wrote by a very famous Irish writer and poet called Brendan beehan, it tells of Brendan trying to blow up Cammell lairds during the second world war, Behan was lodging I think in Rock ferry at the time having not long landed on a ferry from Dublin. he ended up in Walton prison as a 15 or 16 year old, he was given a borstal sentence which was any where between 9 months to 3 years depending on each prisoners relevant behaviour, if your face didn't fit you was serving the 3 years, Walton prison I think was used to hold remand prisoners and then allocate them to other Borstals around the country, I remember him writing they had to sew mail bags by hand as a job when he was in Walton prison. Borstal was a punishment given by the courts for young criminals that where not suitable to enter service on the navy training ships, Borstal started in 1902 and ended on 24th May 1983 and was replaced with a new system called youth custody. Nearest borstal to the Wirral I could find would be Hindley borstal near Wigan and Stoke heath borstal near market drayton, Borstals where based on hard work,strict diets,loads of exercise and Sunday church.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Borstal query - 6th Apr 2017 10:20pm

Hindley Borstal wasn't opened until 1961 and Stoke Heath 1966.

Of the three I mentioned, Buckley Hall wasn't opened until after WW2 and I'm struggling to find details for Moor Court. So the only probable Borstal is possibly Manchester, now known as Strangeways.
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 7th Apr 2017 4:28pm

Thanks very much futurepast and digging deeper. Your explanations are very welcome and are helping to narrow down the possibilities. The person concerned spent many years as either a dock worker or in the merchant navy - so I am leaning towards the navy training ships, but then again , if the dates fit, there is the option of Strangeways. I am estimating that they would have spent time in borstal up to age 18 and therefore up to 1928, maximum, as the year they were there.

All very interesting and plenty to learn, thanks to all your replies!
Posted By: paulaharry

Re: Borstal query - 8th Apr 2017 9:32am

Regarding The Akbar Nautical School, My father ended up here after running away from a similar school down south, he was a Londoner himself. He stayed until he was 15 years old and then sent away to sea. He never had a good word to say about the place, he'd only say that they were right b@rst@ds. Also before it was built they had ship on the Mersey that served as the same purpose, it was also called the Akbar. Good luck in your search.
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 8th Apr 2017 12:10pm

Very interesting paulaharry, thanks very much for your input. The Akbar ship was scrapped in 1907 and then it seems, if I am correct, that it was put on the land, in dry dock, of the nautical training school in Heswall. Reading that your father was there and then sent away to sea, makes me think that the same circumstances occurred for my ancestor, in that he had no choice! I had thought that it was a choice that he was in the merchant navy and a dock labourer, but if he had been sent to Borstal and therefore trained, it now seems natural that the training would then have been used, and they were sent away to sea. The conditions seem to be so harsh, some would say it was deserved, but reading about it now makes uncomfortable reading. Your father has first hand experience and being sent so far away from his home, it would have made the experience much harder.

It would be fantastic if there were any records held, so my search goes on!
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Borstal query - 8th Apr 2017 6:49pm

I don't think the Akbar reformatory ship was moved, it was basically falling apart taking on a ton of water every 24 hours and its mast could no longer be rigged. The "school" was moved to temporary accommodation while the large training establishment was built in Heswall.

The new accommodation contained HMS Moonshine which was a hollow concrete replica of a steam ship.

The old ship was towed away to the breakers yard on the 2nd December 1907 the new accommodation being opened in 1909. I believe the temporary accommodation was also in Heswall but I have no details.
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 9th Apr 2017 6:43am

Thanks very much digging deeper - your explanation means I understand it better now! I got confused over the ship and where it actually went.

Would the accommodation, temporary and permanent, be secure, do you think? Would the residents be locked in and not allowed out?

Posted By: bert1

Re: Borstal query - 9th Apr 2017 7:09am

Posted By: bert1

Re: Borstal query - 9th Apr 2017 7:30am

Originally Posted by geprgie260

It would be fantastic if there were any records held, so my search goes on!

Any records held are likely to be at Lancashire Archives, Preston.
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 9th Apr 2017 5:11pm

That's fantastic bert1 - a very interesting read and I shall make enquiries at Lancashire Archives. So thanks very much for passing the links on to me.

I have learnt a lot - thanks to all you who have replied. You have all given me great information, it is very much appreciated that you have taken the time and trouble to reply.
Posted By: esmerobbo

Re: Borstal query - 21st May 2017 8:14am

I came across the thread whilst researching my own history having served Borstal training in the 1970's, to answer your question where you served your training wasn't related to where you came from. When sentenced to Borstal training you were sent to the local Borstal allocation centre, this locally would be either Walton or Strangeways. In my case I went to Strangeways, there you would be assessed as to which Borstal would be best for you. Well that is what they tell you anyway. Borstal training was from six months to two years, wherever you went had different criteria for your earliest release.
You were allocated to a Borstal depending on what you were sentenced for, and your own record whilst in any previous institutions, and whatever training they thought you required.
You would be sent to an open, semi open, or a closed Borstal usually you served longer at an open, less at a semi open and the shortest at a closed. I spent two months at Strangeways before being allocated this counted towards the 2 years maximum but didn't count from your earliest release.
On the day I was moved there were 5 others moving, me and another lad from Birkenhead went to Hindley a closed Borstal our earliest release was the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Thursday 9 months from the date you entered depending on your behavior. Two from Liverpool went to Wetherby which was 15 Months minimum, another two one from Liverpool and one from Wallasey went to Hatfield which was 18 month minimum. They did try and keep you as local as possible not for your sake but for your family who had to do any travelling to visit you.
One problem I have found whilst researching is a lot of stuff is sealed for 75 and 100 years, especially places that held juveniles so getting facts is difficult, even regarding yourself. Even if you can get it it is not always useful I received some stuff from my time in care that was so redacted it wasn't worth reading.

Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 21st May 2017 1:04pm

Thanks esmerobbo, that's helped put things into perspective. I know nothing about the borstal system, where they are/where and how things work. I can only imagine how tough it would have been a century ago. Maybe in time more records may come online or be available; as you said, there is not much available, and it begs the question as to whether most records were destroyed.

Fitting the person to a borstal, depending on the crime and whatever the training necessary would be, is interesting. If this was the situation a century ago, then it seems as if there were attempts to rehabilitate offenders, and give them a better grounding for the future.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Borstal query - 25th May 2018 9:28pm

Thought I'd add the following information although it is slightly earlier before borstals started.

The following locations were used for detention of Birkenhead children in 1899:-

Albert Industrial School for the Protection of Boys, Birkenhead.
Bolton and County of Lancaster Certified Industrial School for the Protection of Boys.
Stockport Industrial School for Boys.
Stockport Industrial School for Girls.
Liverpool Nile Street Industrial School for the Protection of Girls.
Northumberland Village Homes for the Protection of Girls.
Bishop Brown Memorial Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys, Stockport.
The St Anne's Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls, Freshfield, Formby.
St Elizabeth's School of Industry for poor Roman Catholic girls, Salisbury.
St Margaret's Home Industrial School for Catholic Girls, Mill Hill, London.
Bristol Training Ship "Formidable" for the Protection of Boys.
"Clio" Training Ship for the Protection of Boys, Bangor.
Posted By: geprgie260

Re: Borstal query - 26th May 2018 1:09pm

Thanks very much diggingdeeper - as the Albert industrial school didn't close until 1924, then this may be relevant to me in my search.
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