Shibden Industrial School

The Shibden Industrial School or the Industrial School of the Good Shepherd, Southowram was a Roman Catholic industrial school established in 1877 by John Lister to provide training for Catholic boys from deprived social backgrounds.

It stood at 9 Shibden Hall Road, on the site of an earlier National School which had been set up by the Listers in 1857 at Dove House, Shibden.

In 1877, Lister handed the buildings over to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds and the Presentation Brothers. The Industrial School was to be a cross between a reformatory and a home for problem boys, and for the education of around 200 difficult, troublesome, and backward boys between 6 and 14.

Boys were sent to the School by the magistrates.

The School had a chapel, workshops, a swimming bath and a gymnasium.

Normal lessons were taught in the mornings, but in the afternoons trade skills, including printing, tailoring, shoe-making, baking, joinery, engineering and farming were taught. The boys had no holidays and were not allowed home. At the age of 15, boys were encouraged to emigrate and many went to jobs in Canada.

Officers of the School have included

Contributor, Kim Wynn, writes that her great-uncle – then aged 11 – was sent there in 1879 for

being in the company of thieves

and had to remain there until he was 16.

The 1881 Census records

Around 1883, the School was mentioned in several newspaper reports concerning ill-treatment & abuse at the School - see the Foldout.

The 1891 Census records

The 1911 Census records the Shibden Industrial School at 9 Shibden Hall Road, Halifax:

From 1913, the School was supervised by the Presentation Brothers until it closed in 1932.

In 1939, the Royal Engineers took over the buildings, and for a short time, they were a recuperation centre for the troops.

Later, in World War II, Yugoslav and Polish troops were stationed in the Polish Displaced Persons' Camp here.

Its last use was by the Polish Resettlement Corps.

It finally closed in 1948.

The buildings stood empty and derelict until 1981 when they were demolished.

Houses were built on the site in the early 1990s

See Little Ireland Farm, Southowram and Poems in Peace & War

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 11:30 / 27th September 2023 / 7382

Page Ref: QQ_32

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