The History of Middlesex Industrial School 4


Feltham Industrial School was closed in 1909. Closure was forced upon the school by the passage of the First Offenders Act (The Probation Act) in August 1907. This Act empowered Judges and Magistrates to issue conditional discharges for first offences by children that were deemed trivial or were committed in extenuating circumstances.



The Probation Act gave every child and its parents a second chance and, as a result, the supply of little derelicts to fill the places of the bys discharged from Middlesex Industrial School was no longer forthcoming.

In 1910, the Home Office took over Middlesex Industrial School as Britains second Borstal Institution for young offernders aged between 16-21 years old 


From 1916 to 1918, the Industrial School was used for housing prisoners captured by allied forces in World War I. The prisoners of war were Danish soldiers, and refugees - reluctant conscripts for the German Army. Southern Denmark (Schleswig-Holstien) had been captured by Prussia in its war with Denmark in 1864. At the end of World War I, the region voted resoundingly to return to Denmark.



Image Taken From: 1979, the former Industrial School's buildings were 120 years old and were life expired. Feltham Young Offenders Institution was built in two stages:

The new Juvenile Custody Complex, for under 18s, between 1979 and 1983.

The Feltham Young Offenders and Remand Centre on the site of the demolished Victorian Buildings, between 1984 and 1988.

Image taken from:

Feltham Young Offenders Institute has recently been under consideration as the possible location for a super prison. This would provide a new Young Offenders Institute within a larger prison complex design to house around 2000 adult and juvenile offenders in separate facilities. No decision on the site of a new super prison for South East England has yet been made.



Sam Shaw's autobiography - Guttersnipe, published by Sampson Low, Marston and Co of London in 1946 - provides a moving and remarkable description of daily life at the Middlesex Industrial School, Feltham. Sam was a pupil there from 1894-1898. He had been arrested aged 10 for begging and selling matches, outside London's Victoria Station, to support his poor mother and his younger siblings.

From Feltham, he was sent to rural Central Wales to work as a Farmers Boy, where he quickly became a proficient speaker of Welsh. From 1904-1935, he was a miner in the South Wales coal field, writing for local and regional papers in his spare time. His autobiography is an engaging account of one man's triumph over poverty in Britain in the late Victorian era and the first half of the twentieth century.






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