St George's House,
Northern Police Orphanage. 1898-1956  Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.




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Leaving St George's

In the main, when children reached the age of 16, it was time to think of leaving St George's and the future. Miss Knocker individually interviewed each young person in her study and a discussion was held concerning hopes for future employment. Sometimes special consideration by the Finance Committee was given for the young adult to continue with further education, this was however costly and due to budget limitations, comparatively rare.
The young adult was taken to Leeds and Harrogate where a full leaving outfit would be bought, typically the girls would receive: two blouses, stockings, three sets of underwear, one tailored skirt, one tailored suit, one hat, two pairs of ladies shoes, one pair of slippers, one smart outdoors coat, handkerchiefs, handbag, suitcase and one raincoat. Made to measure foundation undergarments too were purchased to complete the set of clothing.

Boys too were well looked after, receiving:  one hat, one suit, sports jacket, one pair of black shoes, one pair of brown shoes (which was a real novelty) shirts, tie, socks, underwear, overcoat and a suitcase to carry it all in.



On leaving day itself, having said (sometimes tearful) farewells to their other St George's friends,  favourite Matrons and Masters, along with other members of the staff, the leavers dressed in their Leaving Outfits and assembled in the Hall where each was given, by Miss Knocker, a St George's enameled lapel badge, behind which was pinned a small red rose bud, as opposed to the usual sweet peas of earlier years.

A Bible, duly inscribed by Miss Knocker, was given to each confirmed child. The children were given whatever money had been accumulated in their name and wished 'God Speed'. Each was told that they could return to visit St George's at any time and that they would receive circular news letters. To use the words of one old boy 'the excitement we experienced on leaving day, was tangible'.


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