Care, Page 2 - Kibble, A Lasting Legacy. Residential, secure, education, fostering, social enterprise, training for young people and youths.



Page 2

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Aerial shot of Paisley, showing Kibble school

Aerial shot of Paisley, showing Kibble school

This image from1964 shows the airport, St. James' Playing fields and Kibble School.

Early Twentieth Century

Improvements to bathroom facilities were recorded in the minutes of Kibble’s Property Committee meetings in October 1908. The lavatory and bathroom were enhanced, with the ceilings being taken down and lined with wood and the whole place painted. This same minute goes on to say that ‘each boy now has his own towel hung separately on a rack from the ceiling’, which appears to suggest that they didn’t have their own, individual towels prior to this! By 1912 ‘daily baths were taken by each boy’.

The same minute book recorded in December 1914 that inquiries had been made into the possibility of extending electricity cables to the school. Almost two years later, the Committee agreed that hot water would be supplied to the upstairs boys’ lavatory. Although these are indicative of fairly primitive facilities, this would not have been unusual in the outside world of the working class population at that time. In many cases, conditions would have been better for Kibble boys than those available to them at home. Improvements in the school were ongoing, as reflected in this minute book, which records maintenance work such as new boilers and ‘improvements to cooking apparatus’.

Apart from these more practical aspects of residential care, early twentieth century records highlight that even then some attention was directed towards boys’ welfare when they were ready to leave Kibble. In 1910, for example, in the case of one boy who was proposed for licence it was recorded in the Education Committee minutes that this would only be agreed ‘on condition he gets a situation away from home’. This was due to the mother’s alcoholism and the father’s ‘unsteadiness’. Another boy’s proposed licence was delayed due to overcrowding at home.

Kibble’s Medical Book (1897-1966) records medical examinations for boys on their admission and discharge, as well as quarterly medical examinations. Reports on these were sent to the Home Office and monitored the general health of the boys and the sanitary conditions of the school. This book also records incidences of illness or injury and treatment. The Medical Officer visited at least once a week and illnesses were similar to those we would see today, such as influenza and tonsillitis; however there were more cases of pneumonia than would be expected today as well as those that we rarely see in this country now: tetanus, tuberculosis and scarlet fever among them.

Former Kibble boy Mark and his wife

Former Kibble boy Mark and his wife.

“…he was glad to be sent to Kibble; for the first time in his young life he was well clothed and fed, had proper footwear and some money to his name”

So there was some provision of medical care for the boys under the auspices of the Medical Officer. However, dental healthcare seems to have been rather more lacking. Mr Bulley, H.M. Inspector, recommended in 1911 ‘the use of toothbrushes and the appointment of a visiting dentist for the school’. When the boys’ teeth were examined six months later the dentist estimated that an average of two extractions and 1.7 ‘stoppings’ (fillings) were required for each boy.

Later Twentieth century

Mark, a former Kibble boy admitted in 1948, has told us that he was glad to be sent to Kibble; for the first time in his young life he was well clothed and fed, had proper footwear and some money to his name, from the wages he received for farm work. Mark’s care extended beyond his time at Kibble, largely due to the professional and personal dedication of Peter Gardner who followed his father, George, as Headmaster from 1952 till 1982. Peter was also a guest at Mark’s wedding to Isa fifty-one years ago. Mark is just one of many examples in our records of this extended, informal after care. Some former pupils continued to visit Kibble as much as fifteen years after their discharge and were provided with clothing, footwear, accommodation and/or money when necessary. Joe, one of Mark’s friends from Kibble brought his laundry to be done in the school for many years after he left to take up farm work. (Mark and Joe remain friends to this day, keeping in regular contact by letter.) We also know, from records and oral histories, that former Kibble boys were regularly welcomed at Christmas dinners and celebrations.

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