Besford Boys

The so-called Besford Boys are a group of North East children who were sent by Sunderland Council in the 1940s and 50s to attend schools run by the Roman Catholic Church.  Boys as young as seven were sent hundreds of miles to the harsh boarding schools of St Joseph's in Sambourne and Besford Court in Worcestershire. 

The schools aimed to teach them trades such as bricklaying and gardening, so that when they left at 16 they could find work. Corporal punishment was a daily occurrence. 

Later in life they found scrupulous records had been kept in the archives of St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham.

In a television programme made by ITV Tyne Tees fifty years later, Besford Boys from Sunderland spoke out for the first time about their experiences, went there to read about their childhood, and are seen making an emotional journey to the harsh boarding school they attended 50 years ago.

Evening Chronicle: A school of hard knocks, 11 March 2004.

Northern Echo: Seeking justice for 'abuse', 7 September 2007.



3 comments:

  1. It's was good school at best court but croome was not goods school for boys I think was num made bad for the boys

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  2. My older brother ( since past away 10 years ago at the age of 62) went to Besford School. He told me it was a wicked place : some of the teachers and nuns were really nasty and cruel.Kids got real beatings and bullying was rife. He told me he had to carry a knife to protect himself and he was not shy to use it on "school inmates" who tried it on. Once he had a reputation for standing top against the bullies they left him alone. He told me there were a couple of really nice nuns though, andthat he often visited the school after he left to go poaching/fishing.The nuns let him and his mates sleep in that elizabethan type
    building without the Headmaster knowing: so that had to ge tup early and leave before everybody woke up.I visited the place with him a few times, because the rural location is fantastic.There is a grave yard next the the entrance of Besford where some if the teachers were buried and he pointed a couple out to me.He never mentioned sexual abuse to me, just violent beating. Infact he told me
    he had an affair with one of young girls working in the kitchens.Thats all I can remember .Oh the trout in the lake were really good.

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