Carnegie Orphanage

The orphanage was designed by Wilson and Stewart of Greenock and intended for poor children from the lower ward of Renfrewshire whose parents were not in receipt of parochial relief. The home was restricted to only taking in Protestant children and had room for 30 boys and 30 girls who were housed on separate sides of the building and shared a communal hall/dining room. The children were to be from age 8 to 14 but this was changed to allow children to be taken in from the age of 5.

CARNEGIE PARK ORPHANAGE, PORT GLASGOW.- On January 19th, this new institution, situated about a mile to the east of Port Glasgow, was opened. A gentleman in business in Port Glasgow, Mr.James Moffat, who died five years ago, left the residue of his estate, after the payment of legacies for charitable purposes, for the building and maintenance of the orphanage. The estate of Carnegie was valued at £11,000, and the money amounted to £28,700. The building and furnishing have cost £6,350, and there is a capital of £33,350, yielding an income of £1,146. The grounds extend to two acres, and the aim of the institution is to rescue young children from poverty and crime, and make them useful members of society.
British Medical Journal January 26th 1889
Census returns and other details for 1891 and 1901 can be found here:
Staff at the home included the gardener Mr McMillian who was appointed there in 1887 having previously occupied a high position at Springbank House. He was described as "a prominent figure involved with the children's Halloween and May Treats" and comment was passed on the excellent condition of the gardens and lands surrounding the orphanage.  He retired shortly before his death in 1922 on account of his advancing years  - he was 80 years old when he died at Kelburn Cottage,Low Carnegie, Port Glasgow.
Details of the girls from the home were hard to find other than the fact that they took an active part in the yearly entertainment that was organised there up until the outbreak of the Great War which seems to have put these activities on hold..The children were referred to as "clean, healthy and well mannered" and it was noted that all children attended church on Sunday.
The most noted member of staff was Mrs Christina McCully. She was matron of the boys home for more than 20 years and appears to have been both respected by the trustees, community and well liked by the boys.  Her husband Thomas was a baker to trade and they previously lived in Church Street Port Glasgow before taking up the positions at Carnegie Orphanage.
She was descrided as having a keen sense of duty where the children were concerned and was strict without being severe. This approach seen her very much looked on with affection from the boys many of whom long after leaving continued to keep in touch with her from all corners of the globe.

Thomas McCully, caretaker, died at Carnegie Park Orphanage Homes, Port Glasgow on 10th July 1903

In 1912 the local press reported that the annual entertainment was once again held within the home. At this time Mr Anderson who had been secretary of the trustees since the home opened was not in attendance due to ill health. Others attending included town council officials and local businessmen with their wives as well as Mr George Kerr and WW Beveridge who were treasurer and acting secretary of the trust.

There was also a distinguished visitor on this occasion - Bombardier James McLean of the 45th Battery Royal Field Artillery. This strapping young soldier was dressed in the bright uniform of his regiment and wore his spurs.
He was home on leave and accepted the invitation to be in attendance having spent eight years as a young boy at the home. He proudly showed photographs of himself taking part in the Royal Navy and Military riding and jumping mounted display. He was happy to leave a photograph with Mrs M'Cully who had proved to be his guide, philosopher and friend.

This was the 20th anniversary of the home and the income from the previous year £1190 and expenditure £1200. The orphanage at this point had not applied for any outside aid.
Mrs M'Cully and Mrs Ross were the matrons in charge at this time and they were congratulated on the spic and span nature of both the home and the children.

In August 1921 Mrs McCully handed in her resignation. She was retiring from the orphanage due to ill health and advancing years. Having worked in the homes for nearly 30 years she secured the goodwill of the boys in her charge and earned their respect and affection.
Shortly after her retirement she moved to at Augusta, Georgia to live with her sister Mrs Whyte and in her 83rd year she passed away there.

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There was entertainment organised in 1914 but after that a gap of  11 years till the next evening organised in 1925 took place. Comment was made that none of the children in the home at this time would remember the last such event but Sheriff Hendry who presided over the event thought that it was a tradition worth returning to. 
For many years the home housed only 50 children, funds had not been sufficient to cover the cost of keeping any more. At this time there were 18 boys and 14 girls in residence. The trustees pointing out that there was no stigma attached to the home it was not an industrial home and he wanted this to be especially emphasised.
Both parents of a child did not require to be dead before children were taken into the institution - the trustees would always welcome any child who's mother only had died.
The Government introduced contributory insurance against sickness and unemployment in the National
Insurance Act 1911. In 1925 the contributory principle was extended to pensions by the Widows, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act
This fact did not escape the trustees of the homes and in 1926  the home was still operating with less children than intended.

Sheriff Herald said in 1926 "They were no better nor worse off financially at the home.
So far as the boys and girls were concerned the institution could still take a few more children, and it was hoped that the trustees would be able to get more in the future. He knew that a great many people had a rooted objection to children going into homes. They said they, had an objection that children in these institutions were away from the home influence. Certainly the conditions were very different in Carnegie Park Orphanage. There the children had all the influences of good homes and were under discipline at the same time. So far as the orphanage was concerned children were certainly taken away from certain home influences, but he was afraid in a great many instances the home influence was a negative quantity:

Another reason why the trustees should endeavour to get more inmates for these homes was that unfortunately at the present time many children were living in overcrowded conditions. They did not get the fresh air necessary for their young lives. It was certainly beneficial that these children should leave the overcrowded areas and go to a home such as Carnegie Park Orphanage.
At the present time the trustees could take more children into the homes for the exact same expenditure as at present. Another matter which was causing anxiety to the trustees at the present time was what the outcome would be as a result of recent legislation dealing with widow's pensions.
It remained to be seen whether these pensions would have the effect of fewer children being sent to the homes. If that was the effect he thought it was a matter for which they should all be sorry.

If that did occur, the trustees might require to consider the advisability of extending the area of the usefulness of the institution to include the whole of Renfrewshire. At present the recruiting area was restricted to the lower ward or Renfrewshire They must all respect the generosity and kind heartedness of the donor of the institution, and try to carry it on as he wished it to be carried out."

Proposed Amalgamation with .Greenock Institution 1936

A scheme to amalgamate Carnegie Park Orphanage, Port-Glasgow, and the Scott Institution, Greenock, has been prepared and submitted to the Scottish Education Department by the Educational Endowments (Scotland) Commissioners.

The premises of. the Scott Institution, Aughneagh House, Larkfield 'Road, were closed recently. This hospital was transferred in 1890 to the governors of Greenock Educational- Trust, who were directed to maintain, clothe, and, educate as many foundationers as the funds of the institution would allow.
The beneficiaries were to be indigent orphans or fatherless children and among other conditions they must be the children of persons who for two years had not been in receipt of parochial aid.

In the circumstances, both institutions being in, difficulties with similar functions, dealing with the same class of child, and the area of benefit of the one including the other, the Commissioners consider that the 'amalgamated endowment would be financially stronger

I am unsure at present of when the orphanaged closed but know that by 1968 the building was an approved school managed by Church of Scotland, Board of Social and Moral Welfare and was by then Langlands Park School

This page last modified on Friday, February 18, 2011