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.



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