Conclusion to Part One (1850-1937)
For the first eighty years the Sewell family and their friends spent a great deal of money on the school. Was it worth it and was the work a success? They certainly thought it was and so do some of the very old boys who are still around to tell of their earlier days. The Home Office often discussed how to measure the success of a reformatory or industrial school for youthful offenders. In these discussions it was usually agreed that the inspectors should try to judge how well a school measured up to its objectives. The difficulty was to define the objectives in terms which could be related to a boy's behaviour. Always the basic dilemma remained between the desire to protect the public from persistent offenders and the revulsion against holding youngsters in custody.
Members of the Red House staff, both serving and retired, treasure letters which they have received from old boys. Some letters arrived with snapshots of young brides and gave enormous pleasure; these communications were a true indication of success and provided invaluable encouragement to those who received them.