York Penitentiary Society

Scope and Content

The collection includes various documents relating to the Society, such as minute books, visiting books, and reports and correspondence from the Ladies Committee. It also features annual reports from other similar institutions nationwide.

Administrative / Biographical History

The York Penitentiary Society was formed in 1822. In 1844, the late Dr Beckwith bequeathed his property at Bishophill to the York Penitentiary Society, and this was used to form the York Penitentiary Institution in 1845.

A motion was carried at the 1918 annual meeting that the name "Penitentiary Society" was unsuitable for the work of the Society, and "House of Mercy" was deemed more appropriate. In 1918, the Bishophill premises were sold due to their dilapidated condition and new premises at Clifton Holme were purchased. These premises later became known as York Training Home for Girls, which was an approved school that operated by rules set out by the Secretary of State.

The Home Office responsibility for Clifton Holme ended on 31st August 1950. Clifton Holme was sold to the York Corporation in 1953, and the profits from the sale were used to form the Clifton Holme Trust, the money from which was distributed to various charities.

The York Penitentiary Society initially set out with the aim of reforming girls who had sinned through work and religious instruction. From around the 1920s onwards, it became more of an institution for the schooling of such girls and operated under government instruction.

Access Information

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website ( www.exploreyork.org.uk)

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Jennifer McGarvey, Community Collections Assistant, July 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.