About Rochford Union Children's Lodging (HT)
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Acacia House was built in 1882 and once housed boys and girls of school age for the Rochford Union. More recently, for a number of years the building housed the District Council’s Planning Offices until it was sold and turned into flats in 2014.
Although no longer called Acacia House, the building was actually built as part of the Rochford Union Workhouse to house up to forty-two children. Before the beginnings of the welfare state in 1945, the Workhouse was often the only choice for orphaned children.
The children were expected to complete their compulsory education (up to 14 years old in 1881) before they were put to work. Wearing the plain Workhouse uniform was compulsory and made the orphaned children easy targets for bullying, from both the other children and their school masters.
Apprentice laws established in 1829, enabled boys to find a trade. Girls either worked in homes or shops, and were provided for by their employers. Unfortunately, this meant they were often treated as little more than slaves. Children guilty of committing a crime, would be expected to pick oakum along-side adults. This was particularly gruelling work, separating the fibres of old tarred hemp-rope that had been used for rigging ships, causing sore, black hands.
|Address:||2 East Street|
|Categories:||Point of Interest|