The Swinton Industrial and Moral School

the Swinton school building from lizzies local
An undated picture of the Swinton SChool band from lizzies local

The School

Manchester, England, was one of the first poor law unions to set up a large separate institution specifically for pauper children in 1846[1]. These children were either orphans or diserted by their parents.

The school was built as a separate institution from a workhouse as a home and school for pauper children. It was set up by the Manchester poor law union of guardians. The school was designed to take up to 1,500 children, but there were never more than 1,000 children there. [3]

Charles Dickens visited one day and wrote about it in this July 13, 1850 article entitled "A Day in a Pauper Palace." [2] .

The Education

The children were educated to a high standard. Lessons included:- religious knowledge, reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, English, arithmetic, geography, history, and vocal music. Boys were also taught mechanics and linear drawing plus a musical instrument, and girls were taught knitting and needlework. The children were also taught skills and had to work in tailoring, shoe making and repairing, baking, painting, gardening, farming, kitchen/dinning hall work, sewing, general domestic duties and infant care.[3]

The children were taught to swim and taken to Swinton baths. As well as having a great reputation for playing sports, the children were also well known for their school band, which gave concerts in the local parks in Swinton, Salford and Manchester.[3].

More About the School

Recollection from a teacher, school regulations, extracts from Head Master's Address to Teachers, and the life of students there was published in 1874 [5].

More about Swinton Insustrial and Moral School can be found in three books [6] and online [7]


All of these citations open in a new window.

1. The book that lists all people enrolled in the school (1846-1865), which is very hard to read. 2. "A Day in a Pauper Palace" by Charles DIckens 3. Picture and story of the Swinton school from "lizzies local," who thanks the Salford Local History Library for use of the photographs used on her website. 4. The website has a list of people at the Swinton School in 1871. 5. Recollections...a Google book. A very intersting read. 6. Manchester, England archives 7. Manchester, England archives