Kingsley Hall

Charles attended a Children’s Society home at Kingsley Hall, near Frodsham. Charles and his sister Emma were sponsored throughout their stay in care by Hubert Winstanley, the Registrar of Manchester District of Lancaster Court of Chancery. He guaranteed £15 a year towards Charles’ support and he offered to pay 1 shilling per week towards Emma’s maintenance. Winstanley kept in contact throughout Charles’ life until his death in 1937.

Hubert Winstanley
Hubert Winstanley

The application forms were completed by Winstanley of the Ferns, (The Firs Road), Bowdon, Cheshire. He wrote the following report, which applies to both children’s circumstances on Charles’ form:

“The mother of the boy as above mentioned died in her last confinement and her baby died soon afterwards. After the mother’s death, the father engaged a woman to keep house and look after the children but she does not seem to have taken much care either of them or him. His life might have been saved if she had got a doctor to see him but she neglected to do so. The only relations of the children who have taken any interst in them are their uncles John Hassall and his wife who took care of them for a time after their mother’s death and their aunt, Mary Leigh, and her husband who haven the family occasional help… The mother’s relations do not know anything of the father’s and the only relations of the mother who seem to be in a position to do something for the children are their aunt, Mary Leigh and their uncle Ralph Hassal. Mary Leigh and her husband keep a cow and poultry and seem in fairly good circumstances and their own two children are both grown up. But they have lately had some losses and they have an adopted girl who was deserted by her mother and whom they have brought up since she was a year old. They have taken into their house Charles Johnson’s half brother. Frederick Skelhorn, but they say that they will only keep until a home can be found for him elsewhere. Their uncle Ralph Hassall and his wife may be able to contribute something towards the maintenance of one of the children, but they are a young married couple and could not do much. The eldest half brother, John Skelhorn, has now gone to live at the farm where he works.”

Charles was Captain of the home for two years and reports suggest he was disciplined and kept the other boys in order. It seems that a life as an army officer was always on the cards. In 1894 Charles left to join the Cheshire Regiment. The Children’s Society magazine ‘Waif and Strays‘ noted in its September 1894 issue:

“During this month our oldest boy (C.J) who has been in the Society’s care since 1887, has joined the Regimental band at Aldershot. He will be much missed, as his influence as Captain at Kingsley House has been so good.”

Charlie joined the Regiment as a boy in 1894. Charlie’s first appointment was with the 2nd Battalion in Aldershot, but in February 1895 he was drafted to the 1st Battalion which at the time was located in Bellary in India.