Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Bedfordshire Reformatory

The Quarter Sessions dealt with more than just criminal matters; they also dealt with other judicial business.  For example, 1864 included a committee report about the Bedfordshire Reform School at Turvey. This poorly handwritten report (possibly just a draft version) provides us with some valuable insights into the School, its aims and how it operated.

Here’s a brief summary of its contents:  

- last report was 3 years ago and provided for the period from the opening of the school in May 1857 to the end of 1860. 

- the total number of boys admitted since opening is 85.  39 have been discharged. 8 were transferred to other reformatories. 6 had died.  2 absconded. 30 were currently at the institution.

- the committee met on 3rd Wednesday in each month and weekly visitation are made.

- 45 1/2 acres of land was held, the land having been drained by the boys under expert tuition.

- a bake house and dairy had been erected.

- a medical officer visited at least once a fortnight.  The health of the boys was satisfactory.

- instruction in reading, writing & arithmetic was given 3 times a week and religious instruction was given by neighbouring clergymen.

The report concluded the institution was fulfilling its brief and that with divine blessing, best results could confidently be hoped for!


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