First Inmates of the Skegness Fishermen’s Orphan Home

The following is an extract from a rather lengthy article which appeared in a 1880 edition of the Grantham Journal:

The committee admitted seven boys from number of applicants —two from Grimsby, three from Hull, and two from Yarmouth. It is proposed, ultimately, to erect permanent Homes in the same watering-place. As the funds are increased, so will the benefits the charity be extended, to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of those helpless ones who are too young to help themselves, bringing them into happy Homes, where they will taught lessons that will live in their memories and last in their lives. A.3 will be seen, the cases already admitted are from very deserving families. (1) Albert Heritage and (2) Robert Heritage, aged respectively nine and seven vears; their father, the skipper a Hull smack, was drowned at sea, his oldest boy, twelve years old, perishing with him, in March, 1877. The widow was left with five children under nine years of age, and an infant was born six months after the father’s decease, so that six children had supported by their mother, who keeps a small eliop. (3) Harry Glenton, also Hull, aged six and a half years. His mother was left with four children under eleven years of age, and she supports herself and family by washing and charing. William Hicks, from Grimsby, whose father was drowned of! the smack “Ratler” in March, 1871, leaving three children dependent on relatives, one of whom supports a girl; one boy in another orphanage, and this little fellow was taken from the Caistor Union. He presented to the Countess of Scarbrough a photograph of the seven inmates they were received into the Home, together with a view of the institution, which her ladyship graciously received, expressing the wish that the boys might be both “good and happy,” as “goodness and happiness were sure to go together.” (5) William Lewis Hewitt, also of Grimsby, aged six and a half years, whose father was drowned at sea, leaving five children under eight years of age dependent on the widow, who supports herself and family by letting lodgings and mangling. The eldest son has been admitted into orphanage Hull. (6) Alfred Minns and (7) William Minns, aged seven and a half and five and a half respectively, belonging to Yarmouth, who by their manner appeared to be two superior boys. The matron (Miss Naish) selected the older boy, Alfred, to present her ladyship with the key of the Home. Mrs. Minns was left with seven children under fourteen years of age, but infant twins have died since the first call of Mr. Wills, the travelling agent, so that five children are dependent on the widow, who supports herself and family by mangling, though in delicate health.

Source: Grantham Journal – Saturday 10 January 1880

Notes re research so far:

From the old newspapers, I have gleaned that the FOH (Fishermen’s Orphan Home) was first proposed to be built in Skegness in 1879, and a temporary home was opened in November 1879. Articles around the same time, and into early 1880, report that the erection of a permanent home would commence ‘next season’. However, searching 1880 and successive years, there appears to be no more mention of the FOH in the newspapers until 1885 when the Countess of Scarbrough is deemed to have chosen a suitable building! So I remain confused thus far…

I searched the 1881 census for some of the boys who were the first inmates (as reported above): Albert and Robert Heritage are back with their mother in Hull, as was Harry Glenton. Little William Hicks, however, appears on the 1881 census STILL living in Skegness – with Marion Naish, described as Matron out of Employ! Could it be that the FOH was, in fact, abandoned in Skegness? I’m still looking into this one….

Note also that the extract says that a photograph of all the first inmates was presented to the Countess – wouldn’t it be nice if it still exists today!


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