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Archive's Document of the Month – January 2018

Document of the Month: Postcard: Off to the Clio

Reference Number: WM/1878/75

This month’s document is this fascinating postcard from the early 1900s, it shows a rowing boat with an officer and boys in the foreground. In the background is HMS Clio, the 22 gun corvette that was anchored in the Menai Strait from 1877 – 1920. The presence of the photographer has obviously captivated the interest of the boys, as they are craning their necks to see what is going on and make sure that they are in the photograph.

The Clio was an Industrial Training Ship, such ships trained and prepared ‘street ruffians’ for a life at sea, and provide the Royal and Merchant Navy with a steady stream of recruits.

The Clio accepted boys aged 11-15, mostly petty criminals, orphans or out of control boys whose parents couldn’t handle. Conditions were tough aboard the Clio, and discipline was strong, notice how all the boys in the photograph have the same haircut, and uniform. There are many fascinating cases within our Quarter Session Court records of boys being punished. For walking out of mass before grace was sung – a boy was imprisoned in Caernarfon Gaol for 1 month. Another boy received 14 days imprisonment at Caernarfon for disobedience. Interestingly it wasn’t just local boys from North Wales that were sent to the Clio, they came from all over the country, and one of the boys punished above was from Nottingham.

Referred to by the locals as ‘the naughty boys ship’ – the fearsome reputation of the Clio was such that the threat of being sent to the Clio by a parent was enough to bring any child back in line – even for years after the ship was broken up in 1920.

To see the document in more detail please see the attachment below.

All images, photographs and documents appearing on this page are subject to copyright restrictions.

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Anglesey Archives
Industrial Estate Road
Bryn Cefni Industrial Estate
LL77 7JA
Archon Code:221
Research room: 01248 751930
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