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Our History

Introduction

On December 16th 1868 the first move was made to interest the people of Liverpool to the possibility of establishing an Institution where the orphaned children of seamen would be cared for.

The sponsors of the project comprised of a group of ship owners and merchants who, for some time, had been concerned how best to help the widows and families of Merseyside men lost at sea by drowning, or who had died as the result of an accident or natural causes.

The sponsors included many who, despite the calls of business, found time to give their services in helping the less fortunate, sick and the destitute for whom, at that time, there was no Welfare State to offer help and protection. They felt that no section of the community was more deserving of help than the widows and fatherless children of seamen, and decided that the time had come for definite action.

Key dates and events

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1869

The Liverpool ship owners Association, led by Mr. James Beazley, undertook to fund an Institution to provide for the needs of the Orphaned children of Seafaring Men within the City.
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1870

Liverpool Town Council approves a proposal to grant a site in Newsham Park to the Seamen’s Orphan Institution. The foundation stone of the new building was laid the following year.
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1874

Royal opening of the Orphanage, Newsham Park, by H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh.
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1886

Visit of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, the Duke of Connaught, and Princess Beatrice. Her Majesty bestowed her patronage on the Institution.
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1894 - 1900

The Orphanage was extended with new workshops added to the School buildings and the opening of a Swimming Bath.

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1901

H.M. King Edward VII became Patron of the Institution.

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1921

Her Majesty Queen Mary and Her Royal Highness Princess Mary visited. H.M. King George V bestows the title of “Royal” on the Institution.

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1922

Incorporation of Institution under Royal Charter.

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1923

The Orphanage undergoes a further expansion and modernisation of facilities.
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1937

H.M. King George VI and H.M. Queen Elizabeth – Patrons of the Institution.

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1939

With the outbreak of the Second World War, the children were evacuated to Hill Bark, Frankby, Merseyside were Mr and Mrs E.B. Royden offered their home.

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1947

The Orphanage was reconditioned following War damage

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1948

The Earl of Derby – Patron of the Institution.

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1949

Following the new Education Act it was no longer permissible for all age school children to attend the same school and thus the decision was announced to close Newsham Park School.

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1950

With the closure of the Orphanage, the Institution ensured that no effort was spared to ensure that the fatherless children of our Merchant Seamen were adequately provided for with regard to education and maintenance.

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1969

The RLSOI celebrates its centenary with a special letter of support and wishes from Her Majesty Queen Elizaberth, the Queen Mother.

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2000

The Institution extends its education and maintenance grant programme to assist the children from the Fisheries, following the loss of a parent at sea.

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2019

The Institution celebrates its 150th year with a special AGM held at the Liverpool Town Hall. Following an address by our Patron, The Earl of Derby, some former and present beneficiaries spoke of their personal experiences and the importance of the support being received from the RLSOI today.