The following newspaper items mention reports of abuse at the Shibden Industrial School
carried stories relating to Shibden Industrial School, and the ill-treatment of the boys, with the headline
Dotheboys Hall Revived
The Chairman of Certified Industrial Schools Committee,
Leeds School Board.
The Committee of Management of the Shibden Industrial School have received the report of your committee, with the greatest astonishment and indignation.
This report contains the gravest charges that it is possible to make against any public institution; and should they be true, no reprobation would be too severe upon the late management. At the same time, should these charges be unfounded, the strongest reprobation is deserved by those who have made such reckless assertions. The Shibden Committee have no hesitation in giving an unqualified denial to these charges brought forward by your committee, and declare that such charges are, to say the least, gross and unfounded misrepresentations, which, in common justice and courtesy, should never have been made without being full and carefully investigated. To recklessly lay such grave charges before the public argues an absence of fair and honest dealing which the committee are simply astounded at. Knowing the absolute injustice of the committee made by your committee, I am directed by the Shibden Committee to inform you that they court the most open and complete inquiry, and that a full investigation be made, which they are confident will fully prove the injustice of the report issued by your committee
I am, Sir, yours obediently,
H. J. Wake,
Shibden Industrial School, Halifax
Dec. 18th 1883
To the editor of the Yorkshire Post
We, the undersigned boys, were at Shibden Industrial School during the charges made against the institution. We were all at the school for three or five years and were always well fed and well clothed and never punished unless we deserved it. We say that it is untrue that we have not turned out well, as can be proved by anyone inquiring from our masters. We don't think it fair for such a statement to be made and not contradicted. We never saw any boy receive unreasonable punishment or starved as stated in the papers.
About 30 boys signed this statement
Alleged Ill Treatment of Children
It will be remembered that, some weeks ago, a report was presented by the Certified Industrial Schools Committee with regard to certain irregularities at Shibden Industrial School.
This report came before the Leeds School Board and was considered.
This morning Colonel Inglis and Mr Rogers, Government Inspectors held an inquiry.
A boy named John Joseph Wiche was said to have been flogged thirteen times from 9th December 1882 to 25th October 1883. The punishment book was found to contain records indicated of constant severity, frequently large numbers of boys having been punished on the same day; and others with serious reduction of entire loss of food; or with solitary on bread and water for three days at a time in a cell of four bare walls without a seat or other suitable convenience.
It also said that one of the Leeds boys named Hutchinson was punished with 20 strokes of the cane on each hand until his hands were cut and bleeding.
Not one quarter of these punishments were entered in the punishment book.
Father Downes said that when he took charge of the school, the boys were insufficiently fed and literally starving to death. Questioned by Col. Inglis, Father Downes, manager of the school, later said he did not say the boys were starved to death, he said they were literally starved, he did not use the expression starved to death. The questioning then continued for some time regarding the punishment. Father Downes said he found the boys had been given dry bread. He had given them some dripping, treacle, etc., At the request of Mr Storey, it was agreed that the gross charge should first be inquired into and that minor matters should be taken at a later stage (proceeding)
Government Inquiry held by Lt.Colonel Inglis (Inspector of Reformatories and Industrial Schools) and Mr Rogers (Inspector of Industrial Schools in the District).
A boy named John Fallon (age 16) stated that at one time he was a teacher at the school, he was also a sergeant. About four or five months ago, he was confined to a cell from half past three on Thursday until four o'clock on the Sunday. He had two meals a day of 8 ounces of dry bread and a pot of water. Once or twice he had milk and water. He had witnessed other boys being punished with one to thirty strokes for big crimes but he only entered twelve in the book.
- Did Mr Gosling tell you to do that
- No, but I put it down in fear of being punished
John Fallon had seen little Jimmy Ward in the bathroom wearing only a shirt and when he was afraid to go into the bath Mr Gosling whipped him with a cane.
Henry Gaffney (age 17) said he left the school two years ago, he could not read. He had been at the school for 4 years 10 months during part of which time he worked in a colliery.
Mr Lee asked;
- Do you remember being asked to spell the word armour
- I shall never forget it
- I got caned
- How many strokes?
- Thirty-one on the bare back, besides lots of times on the hands and head
(Later in the inquiry it was said that there was some exaggerated story about Gaffney receiving 200 strokes)
John Joseph Wilson (age 15) was once caught giving his supper to a lad in the cell and for that he got fifteen strokes and bread and water for three days.
Philip McManus said that after giving one pot of water to two boys he was struck on the hands and face and afterwards hit across the head with a fish slicer. He had seen boys punished by walking round a pole fixed in the playground.
Alexander O'Brien – a present inmate – stated he had been at the school for six years. The supply of food had been much better since Father Downes came.
James Navan said he had been given sixty strokes for not being able to say a pronouncing it e Mr Gosling then laid him over a desk and gave him three dozen. They now had enough to eat after Father Downes came.
Dan Conroy, the labour master, said he had seen Mr Gosling punish boys many a time during the time he had been at the school. He had to punish boys under Mr Gosling's direction for such as running away. When asked if he had ever heard the boys complain about excessive punishment he said
- Yes, they said I myself punished them too hard (laughter)
James Fallon, cousin of John Fallon, said he was there for 2 years and during that time he had occasionally charge of the chopping shed and greenhouse. He had some schooling in the morning when he worked in the pit. He saw Gaffney punished for not spelling the word armour .
John Joseph Wiche said he was working full time for 6s a week and had not passed the second standard of education and had no time given for school'
John Anthony Fleming who left the school eight months ago after being there for five and a half years said one boy had been put in a tub whilst the master squirted him with water and the boy also had a caning the same morning.
Patrick Barrett (age 15), Thomas Cairns (age 16), Michael Coleman (age 12) and Michael Sheridan (age 12) each gave evidence as to ill-usage and deficient food, but when Father Downes came they had sufficient to eat. These lads related several acts of excessive punishment by Mr Gosling.
Michael Madden (age 16) who left the school eighteen months ago said he used to go out with a donkey and cart hawking vegetables. He got up at five o'clock every morning and cut and packed the vegetables until eight, when he went without food. He did not take any food with him and did not return to the school until six o'clock in the evening. The neighbours used to give him food. If he sold well he got 3d or 6d. When he had money he bought butter for his bread, and if he had no bread he would spend it on spice. Witness admitted he had put a cross to a letter denying the charges of ill-treatment.
Martin Cooke (age 15) said he had seen Mr Gosling give a boy named Barrett 100 strokes because he could not spell a certain word. He worked at the brickworks for eight months from six o'clock until half-past five. He never had sufficient food. For tea they had what was called cocoa, but it was hot water. They only threw their porridge when the milk was sour, which was very often. The men working in the brickworks sometimes gave them bread and butter, He never knew any boy leave his food but they did go to the cook to ask for more.
Mrs Regan who had a son at the school said she had complained to Mr Gosling about his treatment. On one occasion Alderman Pollard wrote to Mr Lister about Mrs Regan's complaints and passed the letter to the butler but received no reply. She later saw Father Geary who, in reply to her complaints said
- You, big good for nothing. I don't believe a word you say
Dr Dolan also refused to listen. She had been refused permission to see her son and he had been refused permission to see her. Later is was said that when Alderman Pollard had written to Mr Lister about Mrs Regan's complaints Mr Lister said he was very much annoyed and insulted at receiving such a letter.
Martha Ambler, the laundress, said she had often brought something for the boys to eat from home. She remembered one lad being on half diet of bread and water for nine days. The boy was rather mischievous having tore up no fewer than forty shirts in one day. When asked if she had ever seen Mr Gosling sober she replied
- I have seen Mr Gosling occasionally, a little before he left
John Garbutt, manager of Dove House Farm said that he had a number of boys from the school under his control.
- Were they always sober when they came
- Some of them were not sober at odd times
Conroy was discharged about nine months ago for not looking after the boys properly. On one occasion he went to a public house with the boys. He gave the boys good advice but they did not take it.
Another witness said that Mr Gosling was discharged about nine months ago but before that had been with the boys to a public house.
Mrs Mallinson of the Mitre Inn, Halifax, said she had seen Mr Gosling in the Mitre Inn. She had seen him with girls.
Nathan Whitley, ex Mayor of Halifax, said he had visited the school on two occasions and considered that the general appearance of the boys was satisfactory.
Rev F. E. Millson, Unitarian minister of Halifax said the same.
Rev W. Davenport, Vicar of Southowram said he had frequently seen the boys who were apparently contented and clean. He did not believe for one minute that those he had seen outside had been suffering for want of food or other ill-treatment. The boys never complained to him or his wife about the treatment.
Mr Hodgson Wright, factory surgeon, Halifax, said that all the boys going to work in the pits or brickworks would have been examined by him. They were an unusually healthy lot of boys.
Mr Holroyd Smith, civil engineer, Halifax stated that on his visits to the school he had never seen any indication of starvation. They were decent, orderly and cheerful.
Thomas M. Dolan, medical officer of the school until six weeks ago said that the dietary was very good and amply sufficient. The boys put on weight and growth. He had them at his house on occasions and he had shown them in public platforms in Halifax as excellent specimens of what could be done by good training and good food.
Robert Ostler, clerk to the School Board,
Rev Father Wake, a member of the late Local Committee of Management,
Mr M. Booth, a butcher, Rev Father Geary, Charles Newsome, farm bailiff for Mr Lister, G. K. Maxwell, manager of the brickyard where the boys worked and Mr Lister of Shibden Hall, all bare testimony as to the general appearance and cheerfulness of the boys under Mr Gosling's care They had never heard of any complaints of either excessive punishment or insufficiency of food
Shibden Industrial School founded by John Lister of Shibden Hall, 26th December 1877.
Since then 290 boys admitted at the present time, 129 at the school and 161 had passed through training
To the Mayor and Mayoress of Halifax, Alderman and Mrs Brear.
Dear Sir and Madame, We the boys of Shibden Industrial School had with joy your presence amongst us.
We have heard of your many kind acts during your long period of office. We know you have never spared yourselves when any good work called for your patronage or help and you come here now at considerable inconvenience to yourselves to encourage us on our prize day. We thank you most warmly for this proof of the kind of interest you take in our welfare. The recollection of your kindness will, we hope, spur us on to endeavour to grow up good men and useful citizens.
We are, dear Sir and Madame, yours respectfully and gratefully,
The Boys of Shibden Industrial School
The Tone of the Establishment.
H.M.Inspectors' report for the present year just received, show that on a recent roll there are 136 inmates and four on licence. Clean and in good order is the description given of the premises, and, as regards instruction, the general award for the elementary standard subjects is good, the highest attainable. Concerning the industrial training, the school, says the report is fortunate in possessing a wide range of shops. All bread is baked in the school and the visiting instructor comes twice a week.
A great feature of the school is the turnery shop where a large number of broom heads and handles are turned out. The boys take useful notes on the use of the lathe and other tools. This shop works in with the painting and japanning shop, where the brush and broom handles are painted.
In the adjoining carpenters' shop a considerable amount of joinery is done, largely by machinery.
Good notes and drawings have been made in the tailors' shop, and very fair notes in the shoemakers shop. The courses of instructions are practical, and the boys have an intelligent knowledge of their work.
The printers' shop showed a refreshingly wide range of work, and good notes have been taken.
Out of 83 boys over the age of 13, 71 are employed in skilled occupations. Twenty five boys left during the year, of whom 23 went to progressive employment, and of these 14 were found by the school. The physical training given is well spoken of. In conclusion, the report statesThere appears to be a good time in the school, and, although the boys are well and under control, they are all owed plenty of freedom, and show very friendly and frank attitude to visitors
Other newspaper reports mention the School and the pupils
Halifax Independent Scholars' Startling Prank.
Two boy inmates of Shibden Industrial School, Halifax were yesterday charged with having feloniously and maliciously set fire to the premises. Canon Worthy, the resident Superintendent, stated that they had placed paper saturated with turpentine under some loose floorboards in the dormitory. Another boy awakened by the smoke raised the alarm and the fire was put out before it had made much progress.
It was thought that the object of the lads was to secure their escape from the school.
The magistrates, ordering their transfer to a Reformatory, pointed out to them that they and the other inmates might have been burned to death
Richard Gallagher (age 12), a native of Newcastle, 4ft 9ins in height, wearing a blue jersey, dark knickers and black boots, escaped from Shibden Industrial School, Halifax, yesterday
Fred Gallagher the boy who disappeared from Shibden Industrial School, Halifax was found concealed in a motor car outside the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, making his way to Blaydon-on-Tyne where he formerly lived.
He was handed over to Shibden Industrial School authorities
Owing to a decrease in the number of juvenile offenders Shibden Hall Industrial School, Halifax, is to be closed as soon as possible. Formerly known as Dove House, the first deeds relating to the property, preserved at Shibden House, is dated 1408. The original rough tie beams of the roof are still in their original positions and some of the oak panelling is still preserved
Revised 12:21 /6th November 2020 / 22402
Page Ref: X461
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