Saltley Reform School /
Norton Approved School



Norton Approved School

Fordbrough Lane, Bordesley Green


Norton School began life as a reformatory school in 1852 on Ryland Road in Birmingham. Boys were sent by the courts to reformatory schools having been found guilty of a crime. The following year, the school moved to Fordbrough Lane in what is now known as Bordesley Green. The new, purpose-built school buildings were on land provided by Charles Adderley MP who later became Lord Norton. Initially, the school was known as the Saltley Reformatory School. After Lord Norton died in 1905, the school changed its name to Norton Boys’ Home and was commonly known as Norton School or Norton Training School. The school was run by an independent board of officers whose members included, at various times, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Lord Norton.

By the end of the nineteenth century the school had places for 100 boys, and it provided training for them in carpentry, shoemaking, and farming. Around 70 acres of farmland was bought by the school, and there was a focus on outdoor work until well into the twentieth century. Boys were initially admitted between the ages of about nine and 17 until 1933 when the policy changed to admit only senior boys. The school took in some boys on a voluntary basis, subject to fees being paid, in addition to those committed there by a court. In the early years of the school boys were usually sent there for five years, the maximum term allowed, but by the mid-twentieth century this figure had fallen considerably, and boys were considered for licence after their first year.

In 1939, the boys were evacuated to Suffolk and then to Wales. In their absence, the buildings were requisitioned and then purchased by the Post Office. The managers of Norton School therefore purchased a large house and estate in Little Kineton, Warwickshire, and returned there from Machynlleth. From 1945 until 1973 the school remained at Little Kineton, under the control of the Norton School company and its board of directors.

Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, residential care of the kind provided at Norton was being used less and less. In 1985 the school closed.


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