Planting Seeds



James Andrews was born in Herefordshire in 1862. Aged twenty-five he started working as an assistant at the farm, in Bordesley Green, operated as part of Saltley Reformatory, near Birmingham.

Normally details of such lives are lost to history but his diary for the year 1905–1906 has survived and through the generosity of his family who have made it available for study, and shared their recollections and some photographs, it has been possible to provide an insight into this unique farm.

Opened in 1853, for the detention of delinquent boys, Saltley Reformatory initially accommodated twenty-five but was progressively expanded, housing 100 by 1860. It originated in a cottage in Edgbaston, rented by local philanthropist Joseph Sturge, offering accommodation to local boys following completion of their jail sentences.

Demand was strong and Charles Adderley, later Lord Norton, offered a purpose-built establishment on a five-acre site he owned at Saltley, two miles east of Birmingham.

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