Abuse in Oaklands Childrens Home or Wood End Assessment Centre?

I received a message  that began “I’m shaking as I type all this as I haven’t ever discussed with anyone else before.” He wrote his phone number and I called. Immediately. “Do you remember Mr X? ” he said. I did remember Mr X.  He was one of the staff in my children’s home.  I  described his appearance to make sure. We compared dates.  It was the same name  and the right dates  and a corresponding  distinct physical description.  It was him.

She continued “Mr X was removed quite quickly from Oaklands and given a desk job at HQ in Wigan where I worked. I saw why  in his personel file. It was my job to file it.   As far as I can remember he was not disciplined, not sacked and not reported to police, just relocated.”.   I asked what was written in the report?   “Mr X was moved from the children’s home for making boys  strip naked and fight.”  The memory of seeing the file has  stayed with the caller but the Jimmy Saville enquiry  brought it up again. My own memory of Mr X is through one boy who told me (when I was in the Oaklands) that Mr X  had bent him over his knee and slapped his bare bottom as punishment. This confession is a  clear memory.

Oaklands was run by a  small barrel chested beer drinking  man called John Harding, an avid Manchester city supporter. A few years after leaving the care system  his daughter Samantha was imprisoned for bank robbery.  Mr X moved from Woodfields childrens home to oaklands childrens home with Mr Harding in charge of both.  Mr X was, after Oaklands,  posted to  Wood End Assessment Centre (need to check this) which was run with a rod of iron by a notorious ex army man called Mr Mackey. In a previous post a Paul Hindle commented about Wood End Assessment Centre

“I was there. was in Homelea first did think I escaped the abuse. Then I got to Woodend got my first kickin 3 hours later. Nose broken 3 ribs and wrist. They didn’t bother with a doctor. Just banged me up for three weeks. I was 12 years old”


145 thoughts on “Abuse in Oaklands Childrens Home or Wood End Assessment Centre?

    • The question that needs clearing up is “Why does it come up years later?” and then “what institutional practises have been put in place to try to stop historical abuse claims?”. “Is historical abuse why children’s homes have closed down in favour of fostering? Fostering is cheaper than Childrens homes which is why it ahs been employed in place of childrens homes. Insurance costs of childrens homes went through the roof because of claims of historical abuse. In other words has the governments entire change in policy regarding children in care (going into foster care rather than childrens home) a reaction to historical abuse in children’s homes.

            • This came up –

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                • Post Script – BBC Website now along with the Manchester Evening News – probably end up in the Daily Mirror too ? , this might encourage others to come forward and make former staff and their wives / family & relatives nervous http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-31258051

                  ” Poet Lemn Sissay, who said he was abused at Wood End as a child, returned there for a 1995 documentary

                  Police are investigating more than 40 complaints of historical physical and sexual abuse at a former children’s home in Wigan.

                  Hundreds of boys were sent to Wood End Assessment Centre, Atherton, between the 1970s and the 1990s.

                  Poet Lemn Sissay, who said he was “imprisoned” there in 1984, has been campaigning for a police investigation.

                  Both Wigan and Lancashire councils said they would cooperate with any police investigation.

                  Lancashire County Council opened Wood End in 1969 as a remand home for boys aged between 10 and 17.

                  However, many sent there were simply from dysfunctional families or in the care of social services.
                  ‘Strip searched’

                  At the age of two months, Sissay was placed into the care of Wigan Social Services.

                  During his time at Wood End, he said he was “strip searched, physically abused and manhandled”.

                  “I’ve been trying to come to terms with what happened to me inside those walls, that institution, that place of secrets,” he said.

                  “I have visited Wood End sporadically. It never fails to make me feel sorry for the child I was, who was so victimised and traumatised.”

                  Ron Tattersall was 12 when he was sent to Wood End in 1971. His mother couldn’t cope with him and his brother so they were put into the care of social services.

                  When he arrived late one night, he was asked if he wanted food. “When I answered yes, I was smacked across the head,” he said.

                  Mr Tattersall said he tried to escape by smashing a window due to the “beatings” he received inside the home.

                  After being recaptured at a nearby farm, he said he was told to take his clothes off and was caned until “blood ran down his legs”.

                  In 1974, Wigan Council took over the running of Wood End when it took boys on remand as well as those deemed at risk of potential criminal behaviour.

                  Those in residence at the centre said the casual violence continued.

                  John O’Malley, who was sent there, has spoken of being punched in the face and head-butted.

                  The centre was closed in 1990 and three police investigations have taken place, but no-one has been arrested or convicted. ”

                  I recognise the corridor in the picture for the Beech House dorms – the pictures in your film made me shudder a bit .

                  I was brought into that building on the right that’s were the baths , uniform type clothes were kept ….I was told I had to polish up my shoes in case I was due in court , to be fair a female member of staff with the matron said at least you know how to do them , many kids don’t and was checked for nits I was told some heads had to be shaved …when you were sent out to play football you went through that yellow fire type door .

                  I certainly didn’t leave by that door .It would be in one of the other pictures , it was downhill through Hag Fold Estate , Atherton ….Everest Road M46 according to a FOI request on the net

      • I came to woodend just as you was leaving.I was the most persistent absconder on record so they told me.I watched chris luby get his head put through the glass in the door by mr mills, That’s who really ran woodend.I was put on an unruly order and sent to strange ways at 16.I told mr platt as he was sat on me in the corridor,punching me in the face.That the next time he turned his back on me in the dinning room ,I would stick a fork in his neck.A person can only take so much and then all the fear drifts away,I felt like I had nothing to lose.I took my digs off a few of them,mr mills/mr man/mr carter but for me it was mr platt that was a sick sadistic man.I seen one of them once,i walked over and told his wife how he use to get his kicks beating kids,He just hung his head in shame.His wife asked did he ever hit me,i told her no because he knew I would fight back.I told her how I watched him smash the nose of a young souse kid called ross who was about 8 at the time.It felt great to see his guilt and shame.A sad little man.I dread to think what would happen if I ever bump into mr platt,i worked on wigan baths for 12 months.He talked about you to me a lot.I got the feeling you got the same treatment.If you wanna talk about it hit me up pal.are you wearing shoes these days? do you remember fuge from okies?

      • Lem can u do a peom for my wedding it’s Stephen crook kruup my wedding is 7 Nov at 3pm can you contact me on 07934500553 thanks u will always be a mate look after your self add me as a friend

  1. Yes. After seventeen years in care they deemed it important to put me in an assessment centre which in fact was a remand centre for boys on their way to court. As I was not on remand for anything but as the care system were my sole parents and as I had no family to question the placement they slipped me in there and held me for a year. I made a television documentary abotu it in 1995 called Internal Flight which you can see if you type in the words on this blog’s search engine and I made a radio documentary about it on BBC radio Four where I got at least two social workers to speak of the injustice of it. I am strong. I had to be.

  2. I’ve just watched Internal Flight. Factual with an ending that is the most satisfactionaly to be had. Glad you have a picture about where you’re from. Was going to write who you are but you already know that. You and strong. I wish you all the best in all you do and will keep following you.

  3. Yes I do remember Mr Mackey – dark haired man running the place ! – then there was a Headmaster – that description aforementioned tallies , then there was a Mr Sharples ? – another stocky small bloke with a mustache ? …also ” Basket Head Benny ” Mr Benson a balding man with a strange accent and sandals … a very regimented place indeed ….kids would rather be sentenced to Borstal or Detention Centre , as at least it was simple , you did wrong , were punished and eventually let out .

    To be fair some staff were absolutely great – and I didn’t witness or hear of any physical or sexual abuse

      • think I might have heard rumours from the kids about it ….come to think – maybe the staff who had to operate within a pre determined system were ” better ” when I was there ?

        Maybe that lad who got up on a classroom table to launch himself through the window – and was dragged out and put through a smaller one in the corridor was put in one ?

        • I witnessed that,He head butted mr wigman in the dinning room,so he got dragged in the gym and battered by 2 of them.He jumped though the houde room window in c house.Mr Callahan was reading the times when he jumped.He bounced off the first time,then he had another go with his elbow in front on his face.It was the greatest act of defience ive ever seen.Something I will never forget.

          • If you witnessed the same incident as I did – I have to be careful as to what I say in the public domain ; what I remember of the lad is that he might have come from East Lancs , very much into motorbikes , he apparently rode the things and had a tattoo on his arm . He had a girlfriend at the time called Marsha

            • The name Rodgers certainly rings a bell ! , blonde or possibly ! light blonde hair ; Scouser ? – he MAY ( I have to be careful what I say on the internet – in the public domain , there may just possibly ! be these people doing Google or similar internet searches if still alive ; or relatives of said people ; or some people tipping others off to each other ? – It is within the realms of probabilities ? ) – He could well be the person that said ” So you like going through windows then ? ! ” or similar

              I’ll also concede / apologise to Lemn that I MAY have been a bit too kind to him . It is possible that he could have been a shock horror Jekyll & Hyde character / the charm , the well meaningless re comments to keep your nose clean etc was to mask a que-surprise a bully .

              Even if you played Devils Advocate – i.e.. trying to see things from their perspective and let’s face it , lawyers , solicitors etc will do this in a court if the CPS decide to prosecute these individuals and / or the individuals in questions will do this whilst being interviewed by the police beforehand and / or being cross examined in court – they would be merely say they were just ” misguided ” / ” mistaken ” in trying to teach people perverse ” moral ” ” lessons ” , two wrongs making a ” right ” is a juvenile viewpoint as a ” state parent ”

              There were at least two scousers there , one was a good one , he had a beard , dark side parted short back and sides with a fairly long fringe and always smelt of deodorant soap

              I remember fat Mills when I first arrived and was made to take a bath . as naive , very mixed up and problematic as I was back then – My initial impression was that he seemed to be creepy and two faced . The comments made by others do not surprise me in the least .

              Let’s just say whilst there were some good staff , some female ones like the House Mother too , there were on reflection a disproportionate number of bad apples too .

              Also the victims seemingly were very carefully selected , i.e.. who would or wouldn’t have parents that might have caused a stir , gone to their social workers , might be a loose cannon etc with a sense of injustice etc – I’m sad to say that’s how bullies work . .

              • Yeah nice house mothers like mrs Greenalsh, who would look the other way why one of the male staff slapped you.Although mrs Lancaster did report graham platt for rapping my head with his knuccles.I think she told mr mills about it.

      • hi my name is wayne owen i was in wood end 6 times , mr carter , mr mills , mr mechin the gym guy , soon as you went in you got stripped and bathed 2 at a time , and you had staff pouring water on you in a bath . mr callaghan fat fuck , used to always smoke capston full stengh cigerettes, the art guy into old type jags, the color scheme thing to see what privileges you get lol

    • I was dumped there by the council while my mother was in hospital when I was 12, I had never been in trouble or had any contact with the police, but by the time I left that place I was a broken child. I have never got over it. It has affected everything I have done in my life. Today I am contacting Wigan council and Manchester police to have my say as well.
      When I contacted Lancashire County Council about this over a decade ago they claimed to have lost the records.
      I have managed to raise a family, send my two kids to university, and have had my own business for the last 20 years but I lived with a life of demons, in the past using drugs, I have bouts of depression, an ongoing struggle against alcohol, low self esteem, self destructive anger problems. I have been one of the lucky ones. Those people who abused us were the weak and the useless, not us. We are still here, and they thought they could get away with it. The boot is on the other foot now, isn’t it Mr Mackey. I hope they all burn in hell. Chin up lads, keep marching on.

      • Kevin. We achieve what we achieve in spite of what they did to us. Your story really gets to me. It’s important to speak out, to speak loud and to speak clearly and unclearly, to speak truthfully as you have done. They depended heavily on what you could call mind control. As children they tried to make us feel complicit and deserving of the abuse.

        • You are right about the mind control. Last night (Saturday) I called Greater Manchester Police and gave some details for a formal complaint. Within thirty minutes I had been contacted by Leigh police, within an hour I was speaking to someone from my local force to arrange gathering the evidence to send on to Greater Manchester Police, (I live very far away from the north now). The understanding and reassurance was staggering, and genuine too, and the police are clearly very willing to look into abuse claims and take us seriously.

          I’d urge anyone who has been afraid until now to speak up, you’ll be surprised how willing they are to hear what you have to say.

          Without what you have done I’d never have had the courage to pick up the phone last night.

          • You are using the same courage that you’ve always had. It is courage that got us through this. There are some that didn’t. I left leigh at eighteen yet I know of two suicides who were in woodend. Even this blog is a record of the few who googled woodend. Since it has been closed for so many years it makes me wonder how many more there are. Thanks for the feedback about the police. It’s important to hear that feedback. All the best Lemn

          • When the police took be back after I had absconded. The police use to laugh at me and joke about how I would get a hiding for running off again.

              • I must know you Owen. I use to steel a knife from the b house kitchen to unscrew the frame that stopped the window from opening fully in the b house toilet, you couldn’t nick um from the main dinning room because they counted them in after the meal. If your at court in July lets chat

      • Hiya kevin you are not on your own I was in woodend in 1977 only lad from Northampton I cant remember the names of the staff but I echo everything you say my life has never been the same in and out of mental hospitals all my life brain injury due to having my head smashed against the black board in maths class no dr was called I was knocked unconscious for over 24 hours I have got a on going investigation going on with Manchester police I was just a innocent child like your self at the time if you want to contact me please do my email is rkmayes@btinternet .com wish I knew the name of the maths teacher in 1977 I want him and all the other staff brought to justice for the abuse mental physical and sexual that I and many other boys suffered under woodends sick regime lets stand together and have a voice …

        • Ricky I was there in 72/73 so probably the same staff.
          I can’t for the life of me remember a maths teacher, I wish I had a name to give you. If he is still alive the police will have it, Wigan Council claim to have spoken to everybody on the staff of Woodend who is still alive. we shouldn’t really discuss too much on here about specifics while the police investigation is still on.
          Yea, you are right, together we all have a voice, probably the first time people have listened and believed us.
          If this investigation comes to nothing like the last two, at least it is now on record properly.

        • The maths teacher when I was there was called mr Fitzpratric he was a small stocky bloke going bald with glasses, and he was one you didn’t mess with.

          • John was you there in 1977
            would mean the world to me to find out who the maths teacher was my life as been shattered by this man and other staff at woodend ..

            • was it not Fitzgerald? I was there in around ’79, also Wigman, Sharples, Mackey, Mills, the PE teacher was a bastard, Mr Mc something can’t remember now, gave me a good kicking for saying ‘jesus’ when one of the guys dropped the basketball as we were playing. Also another guy, short but stocky, could be Wilde but again, not sure now, long time ago.

              • i remember all them cunts, mr mechin the gym guy , and there was the old scottish guy some ex champ weight lifter, mr mechin use to tell the smaller lads to get on his back while he was doing dips , i remember one time he was staring at my dick in shower and when i was drying off he said something about getting an hard on , i would have been maybe 13 14

          • i was at woodend 8 times from 1981 to 1985 and i only ever got assaulted once by little bald londener mr fitzgerrald in 1981-1982 it was in A house where the youngest kids were put to the right of main entrance,,i was playing pool with a lad called mcdonald from manchester,,he was cheating so i snatched the cue from him then pushed him away then fitzgerrald shoved me up in the wall corner then uppercutted me in my jaw really hard with his weight behind it,,,barry spencer witnessed what hed done and shouted at him to get away from me,,,this was never reported and fitzgerrald got away with it,,,i spoke to wigan council about various assaults against me in homes like evil redbank where i was brutaly caned on my behind and hands 108 times for 26 abscondings in 1982 [the cane was outlawed in 81] wigan said they couldnt find no trace of my files to prove i was in care so couldnt take it further how disgusting [ricky kirk] was in woodend with lemb sissay in 1980s.i have a great photographic memory and have forgotten nothing

            • when i say only one assault i meant physical and ive now been advised that a member of staff also yanking you from a chair,throwing you on the floor kneeling on your legs whilst shouting in your face is also a physical assault so im now going to add wigmans name to my list because that is exactly what he did to me in 1984 and it was witnessed by mrs judith lancaster and [evil mrs mills] i have 2 very strong cases against both wigan council and lancs county council for both neglect and abuse and i retain a mountain of proof and evidence gathered over 4 years and wigan and lancs council will be trying to defend their weak case against me in court within the next 3-4 months there isnt much i dont know about woodend and its regime and staff i have an amazing photographic memory so if any lads would like to contact me for help if i can give it or to exchange information then email me at redbankabuse1982@aol.com i will reply to every email and remember that every abused child is entitled to justice so please do not remain anonymous on here because if other lads see your name then they might remember you and make contact to back your case up,,if any lads were in woodend anytime from 1980 to 1985 then contact me dont let the bastards get away with what they have done and the same above if you spent any time in dreaded redbank in newton le willows please contact me especially concerning boss mckewern deputy head and headmaster brynley goldswain 2 evil sadistic child abusers

  4. Since the growing evidence of historic child abuse in residential homes becomes apparent, I feel a need to contribute in some way. I too was abused in a children’s home, Oaklands in Droitwich near Worcester. until I was adopted at age seven. this abuse lasted for a few years from I suppose as far back as i can remember, age 4 I expect, until about age 6 or 7. A few years ago I got involved in a documentary with the BBC as i was trying to trace my natural mother. I had been abandoned at age approx 3 weeks.

    Its very odd, the BBC had contacted some ex staff members who agreed to meet me. One of them said to me, “What are you going to say about the home? Your not going to say anything bad about it are you? About what happened?” At the time i was taken aback, here was someone who knew. I just said no, nothing like that, it’s just a chat about the home.

    The strangest thing is, I never remembered any party, or birthday, or Christmas. I did remember what was done though. It’s affected me more than anyone could imagine, even myself. Very sad. I do ponder if I should report it, to see if others need help, to see an end to this, to make sure children are given the love and care they need, not just a place to be because no-one wants them and the state has a duty of care. People working in these environments need the right values at heart. Well, I said more than I meant! Just wanted to mention it.

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for writing. I’ll send you this reply via email too. Many children’s homes have closed down without a trace. This sudden invisibility seems unusual considering how many children lived in them and how important they were to the lives of so many.

      It is shocking and reveals guilt that while making that BBC documentary a staff member – who probably isn’t even there any more – should admit to wrong doings. “Your not going to say anything bad about it are you? About what happened?” is a damning thing to say and entirely selfish. Abusive. It makes my skin crawl. It’s manipulation.

      I didn’t have parties either at Birthdays. Christmas was a strange tumbleweed affair. I know you haven’t asked for either help or advice so this isn’t but I can only respond from my perspective. I hope that you a) find support and b) take up your case and get a line drawn. If that means being compensated/recognised/apologys from the state, then so be it. But there are probably others. I can’t make it clear enough that you are not guilty if you never report it.

      Firstly, support. Advice directly through my facebook page from Jennifer French she read your comment and said this “as you say it may help others if you report it, please remember yourself in this. Be gentle with yourself and go at a pace that it right for you. If you google NAPAC they are (National Association For People Abused in Childhood) they will talk you through the legal process if that’s what you choose and have even been known to go to the police with people to support them through the process. They will also be able to find you a counsellor in your area if you feel you need it. Good luck, you are very brave.”

      It’ll be a big leap and you sound capable and we will support you from where we are. I think NAPAC is your one stop shop. The police have never been more open and aware of this if only they were at the time. But they are doing a good job, it seems, in facing the truth about the past.

      All the best


    • I remember Mr wigan and Mr mekin where working as bouncers in the red lion in Atherton at weekends and care staff in a childrens home during the week lol.

  5. I was in Woodfield’s in the early 1980’s when I was 11 years old. Later on I was placed at Woodend in Beech Unit when I was 13 and then Nugent House School in Billinge. I had never been in ‘trouble’ for anything. Mum was an alcoholic and drug addict with mental health problems and I seemed to be moved around a lot each time she took an overdose and spent time in psychiatric hospitals including Winwick.

    Although I never witnessed anything I would class as abuse I did see rough handling of some of the boys at Woodend on occasion when the boys had been uncontrollable, which in no way justifies the way the staff handled those situations.

    It does make me wonder in hindsight what was going on behind the scenes though.

  6. I was in woodend many years ago I remember the kicking you would get if you stepped out of line the member of staff I remember the most was an art’s teacher who had a triumph stag he was ok with me

    • forget his name but I remember the car…he was a 2nd dan judo expert…I was being hassled non stop by one of the bigger lads in there and this particular time I stood up to him…the bloke your talking about looked at me, nodded and went out of the room for 2 mins while I ‘had a word’ with the guy hassling me. Problem solved 🙂 I used to get to go outside with him and help him as part of his duties were maintaining the place, he took woodwork classes so these duties fell to him I guess. Made my life just about bearable as he always chose me when they did the selection for lessons in the gym every morning

      • Is the member of staff your talking about look a bit like Freddie mercury and always wore black airwear boots Glynn

        • umm he didn’t have a ‘tache and can’t remember his boots to be honest, it’s 40 yrs ago now nearly :)…he had quite short hair with sideburns if that helps. Got mixed up with my earlier post, the arts teacher with the Stag was a different guy. Also remember the superbully was Mr Mann, short fella but built like a brick outhouse, Wilde wasn’t staff, he was the guy Mann knocked fk out of for absconding

      • judo expert was mr rigby woodwork teacher and the art teacher was mr dinsdale who loved triumph stag cars he owned a yellow one and a green one in the 1980s both these teachers had sideburns but rigbys were quite long ones dinsdale like lemn states was a good guy in the wrong place and this is also my opinion of him always found time in his class for kids and had lots of patience,,rigby could be a nice bloke but if you took the piss or messed about in his class he would give mr mills the info and he would clear his class out and you and mills would be in the woodwork room on your own,,not a very good prospect as i gathered when he backed me into the corner towering over me,,he never laid a hand on me he just said kirk you dont want to have me coming back to this room you do whatever mr rigby asks,,he just turn away then walked out,,,just his sheer size terrified you and you always had the feeling that your time had come to meet your maker when he was in front of you scary experience for a child

  7. I was at Woodend between 1979 and 1981
    Mr Mackey was a bully, i got my first kicking on my second day there, one of many. I was forced to strip and had my genitals and rectum fondled and examined ( thats what he called it ). Once refused to eat my porridge because i didn’t like the pink packets of low calorie sugar they used, I wanted some proper sugar. so once the hall was cleared I was held behind and had my face pushed into the porridge and held there until I agreed to eat it. My face was marked for about 2 weeks.
    Got into an almighty row with Mr Mackey, a few hours after my case conference was heard, as I was told I could speak to my mum before she left, they never let me see her.. He pushed me against the corridor wall outside his office and held me there by my testicles squeezing them harder and harder, it seemed to last a life time, It made me vomit all over his jacket, to which i was given a good stomach punch which left me on the floor crying and in agony.. The following day Mr Mackey told me I would never see my home again or my parents should I tell anyone what had happened, he said he could keep me in care forever, I believed him, I was 14 and non the wiser. Throughout my stays at Woodened i was made to strip, had my genitals fondled and was punched or beaten at least once a week.. I went from Woodend to St Thomas More at birkale southport..
    Things there were not as regimental as Woodend but the abuse was worse, regular body checks by one member of staff, included having you genitals played with and a finger or two inserted into your rectum.
    I am hoping to make a claim against Wigan MBC and the Catholic church regarding this, but keep hitting brick walls as most solicitors claim it has timed out or tell me I need at least 5 to 8 thousand pounds for them to take the case on. Also contacted Merseyside police to reopen their investigation from the early 1990’s, but they are releuctant to do anything.
    Any help or advise out there would be brilliant.

    • They had a policy where you had to eat what you were given – the rationale was starving people in Africa etc ; you could however ask for a small .

      I remember one lad that used to absolutely wretch with any tomato based meals ; in fact some of the catering staff eventually felt sorry for him and just put a bit of tomato juice on his toast at breakfast . He must have had some sort of phobia / intense dislike or whatever you call it .

      • Spot on with the policy of eating some of everything …Unfortunatly .A guy whos name i do remember got me a huge portion of bread pudding Small amount of custard .I got welcome to the gym .But never ate it even after .Not hundred percent sure thats why i ran away .But did light it up in 1971 all buzzers sounded .Pleased there was no alsation there .Other wise we could of been toasted .Dam and remember guys having to write their names , or had their names written on a peice of bog roll Or toilet paper .10 year old kid in for arson ..Always remember he was at the front of sizing up for our meals .Note i was not sexualy assaulted at all maybe by the incident with the cane ….I was 12 years old .Could of quite easy took 2 whips on my ass or hands

  8. I was there and yes I remember all the thugs like mr mills! if the police investigated the place I have never been spoken to about it so how can that be an investigation? Holme lea at boothstown was a pedophiles playground I remember it only to well!

  9. Remember woodend like yesterday . And remember jumping out of a high florred bedroom window over barbed wire and running down a motorway for 24 hrs .Yes there was bullying from the staff .Only took them 13 hrs or thereabouts to start beating me about that time .Got caught me and afriend in there .came back and remember that fat man bullying person he was , cane me god knows how many times until my ass bled .And then got beat up by the night watchman .Not forgetting the food you was forced to eat !

  10. I was in both oaklands and wood end. Neither place left me with happy memories. I will be speaking to the police about wood end today. Some horrible individuals working for wood end during my stays there.

    • Neil I think I was there when you was.
      I remember a guy who was in our dorm that was called Neil I seem to remember something about the words tony or Anthony diamond!

        • Mr mills use to like to land that sneaky slap,he knocked me about 6 foot with one slap once,and once he dragged me out of music,put me up against the wall and I knew the slap was coming,i got my arm up and blocked the slap and the sneaky bastard head butted me right in the nose,dropped me like a bag of shit ha ha ha

          • Good you can laugh at certain things now . Felt great too let it out in public .Also remember a guy who i met in 1977 from there only remembered it last night .Police told .Met him at wembley 77 cup final .And his name given to the police .Small world

  11. Thanks Lemn, good to hear you speaking out about this for all us who suffered in silence.
    I was at oaklands when you were there and remember you being a strong minded lad. Good on you.

  12. Not sure what brought me here altho some very interesting reads. I was placed at Woodend in 1984 for assessment, what a terrible place i remember that to be. On entry i remember being stripped naked & told to get in the bath which was if i remember correctly a big steel bath- then given ill fitting clothes to wear, biggest y fronts i had ever seen! Glad i only stayed a few weeks and felt for those who stayed longer. This place sure scars the mind-!

  13. It’s quite strange, I’m 45 and just now started thinking of my time in care years back and the thoughts of the witnessed and received abuse that happened at Woodend came flooding back and I could see the man’s face, dark curly hair, moustache then it came to me Mr Carter. I sat here thinking…. I would love to bump into him again one day, but maybe it is better if I didn’t. I ened up in there twice as a 12/13 year old after running away from normal care homes.

    I googled his name and Woodend and it lead me here. I cant remember any of the other staff’s names because I only got a good beating off Carter. I do remember a very tall member of staff start battering a 7/8 year old in the gym and because he wouldnt stop crying he lifted him up and placed him in the basketball net.

    I remember seeing alot of people getting a good battering in there and I just wish that one day these abusing b******s get what they deserve.

    • I am glad this blog is here and that your testaments are a point of record. I’ve got to say that if this is the response from those who go online what is the real story. How many people will pay testament to the physical abuse that went on in Woodend.

      • Hi Lemn

        Thanks for the comment back. The more I see your face, I am pretty sure you were there during my times at Woodend. And please relay my thanks to Jonathan A, talking about it has helped a little.

        I wasn’t going to do anything about it, but after thinking about what Jonathan said, and how lives have been drastically affected by by these abusers I have now added my complaint to the police. What good this will do in the long term, I’m not too sure and am pessimistic but if somebody gets held accountable one day, it is something.

        A couple of things have come back to me recently. Hospital Corners on the bed’s, a strict and regimented way of making beds?

        I’m also vaguely recalling a Staff v Lads football match outside. As there was a buzz going on among the lads that this was a chance to get in a few sneaky beaky paybacks on the staff with sliding tackles.

        I was pretty quiet as a mouse when there probably due to the fear of what I was seeing but I was the guy who wanted the toilet one evening and of course the whole dorm had to go. Carter took us and I ended up getting slammed into the wall with an almighty bareback slap just for giggling at another lad. Would be nice to hear from anyone who remembers this, around 83ish.

        I was also the lad who was responsible for the whole class having to go to the toilet during a mensa like puzzle test by the nicer bald headed teacher that taught basic computer language where we had to make/animate a little matchstick man walking upto a house. During that 1 hour IQ test I was in so much agony trying to hold my bladder as I was so scared of getting a beating if I put my hand up and we all had to go to the loo.

        I think the scary part now is hoping that it doesn’t all come flooding back, but I am grateful to you Lemn for highlighting what happened to us and at least now I know there are avenues of help, should it be needed.

        • Good on you Mark. We have to walk carefully through all of this. Our greatest responsibility is to look after ourselves. Otherwise how can we look after anyone else!

          All the best


        • ” A couple of things have come back to me recently. Hospital Corners on the bed’s, a strict and regimented way of making beds? – See more at: http://blog.lemnsissay.com/2013/02/24/abuse-in-oaklands-childrens-home-or-wood-end-assessment-centre/#comment-1222924

          Yes the beds had to be stripped in the morning and a rigid bed pile had to be made up – I agree it was very regimented , it’s something that you’d tend to associate with either the army / services , Borstals or Detention Centres .

          Similarly they had to be made up on again late in the evening . Clothes had to be put in a rigid neatly folded pile , I think they went outside the door – that tallies in with the comment about somebody going through a dorm window and running in his pyjamas when he escaped .

          You weren’t allowed to wear underpants in bed just pyjamas . What I’m driving at is that everything was geared to preventing escape during the night , neither mind the watchman with his alsatian dog in the corridor office .

          There’s a bit in the ” Scum ” film where the black guy gets pulled up in no uncertain terms about his bed block by Wing Officer Sands , the guy said they weren’t so fussy in the scrubs – meaning Wormwood Scrubs , young prisoners section . When sentenced youths had to wait to be allocated a borstal , that didn’t count towards serving of a sentence , similarily if a trainee was to be moved from one borstal to another , he’d be ” temporally ” held in a prison whilst awaiting a place ; that wouldn’t count towards serving of a sentence either .

          That’s one reason the normally authoritarian & illiberal Thatcher Tory government dismantled the borstal system re 6 months to 2 yr sentences – the system was too ambiguous and open to abuse / corruption . The main reason was that everyone ! was brutalised .

          The important thing about places like Woodend and the rogue staff is the mirrored culture ; i.e. there was not a lot of difference between the criminal element of the youths that had come via the court system and the staff like Mills and Mackie . Perverse ” moral lessons ” don’t usually have much of an effect ? .

          It’s like a bent copper , they’ve spent that much time with crooks that they’ve turned into right Jeremy Hunts ! .

          Again – that point was made more in the novel version of ” Scum ” by Roy Minton , the original TV screenplay was originally pulled by the Home Office as it was ” too close to the bone ” , 3 of them are sent on a work party to the Governer’s house , all the furniture is covered in dust sheets etc , he effectively ” lives ” in one of the bedrooms which was creepily exactly like a borstal cell .

          • Haha, hospital corners, clothes outside, knocky and his lunging alsatian. If only those sorry individuals who staffed that place could see your accurate and perceptive analysis of them, they might realise the most accurate assessments to come out of this so called assessment centre are from the Eresidents assessing the staff years later.

    • only one man in woodend tall enough to sit a kid on the basketball rim that was mr honeybone basketball player 6’7 in height i remember the day he started at woodend it was around 1983 and bobby ball lookalike mr carter started around the same time along with a mr bailey with black hair who had a strong manchester accent but dont get mixed up with the 2 other mr baileys who worked in there,,,,one mr bailey was the number 2 boss beneath mr mackey and this bailey was called mel who looked similar to bodie from the proffessionals and always smartly dressed,,there was also another new member of staff from manchester called mr grieves who started around 1983 also big mr callaghan who smoked the capstan started around 1983 mr chew or tew also started in 1983 i was already in woodend when all these lot started and i was in there 6 different times from 1980-1985

  14. After talking to my brother who now lives in america .The year was 1971 .No happy times memories .I wonder why ?? ….Remember the high fence i had climbed over .Not 100% sure about the wire at the top ……Could of been just the high wire fence .Pretty sure the guy i ran away with was named as a player from manchester united .Seriously .Kids dont need that kind of punishment .Released from mobberley boys school in aug 75 .But remember mobberley like yesterday , mostly good .Nobody made flapjack like Ken thomases wife ..Hats off to the genuine ones who help kids ..Funny bit of it was running down a motorway with no pjs on .Nasty bit is the bullying from those members of staff who thought it was ok to smack kids in the face with their fists .And lucky i am still here ..One inch to the left or right of jumping out of that window would of sliced me in half . Anybody knew the head master from that year ?

    The kids of those eras would not of been believed .Fact in my opinion .

  15. Ye I was their in early to mid seventies twice and remember getting slapped all the tlme off sum Irish fella called mcullock horrible him a wen he finished he wud pass us on to a scouser called rogers an vice versa he used give u agood dig then lock u in the cuboured in his classroom bad place bad memories

  16. pewack ……Is there anychance you rermember .The big wire fencing ? .saying that after i had escaped i was not there long after that .I dont have any recolation of any staff members at all .Do remember the guys name who i did run away with , so know i am not imagining the things that went on with my abuse .as i said it was 1971 roughly april maybe march when i got sent there .Some people are not worth remembering their names .remember the candle making , basket weaving .Oh and the punches from staff raining down on me .Few times got dragged into the gym for my beatings .Also witnessed other guys having same treatment as me .Corporal punishment does not entail beating 12 year old children up with your fists .Oh i wish i could confront some now .remember a guy called gerry daley if antbody has heard of him from that era .He was the one i had broke out of there with .Reinforced glass in a huge dining hall ..No recolection of ever being out playing football .everything even the beatings were done in the gym . Ron

    • You need to report this to the police and get legal represetnation There is an investigation going on into woodend right now.

        • This makes me so angry!! Your message just made my eyes swill!! I’m SO sorry. All I can say is this time it’s different. No need to speak to me but I would say ( for the first time in my life) to report it to the police. I can help.

    • Don’t remember the the wire fence Ron but got a few a bad beatings in the gym next to the dinning room remember the big glass windows in their u cud c the footy pitch from them but I never got the chance to use it I remember it was all grey brick on the inside and u were led in single file to the toilets and if u dident keep ur head strait looking at the person in front of u that horrible nasty Irish man mcullock wud give u such a belt u felt dizzy

        • Thanks for your reply lemn means alot I have been in touch with police they said they only have reports from the 80s onwards I was there in early to mid 70s

          • 80s onwards? thats unsettling to hear. I was there in the early 70s and I have made my statements to the police last November. Hope I didn’t go through that for nothing but I have had two letters from greater manchester police (cut and paste standard stuff to “victims”) telling me their investigations are ongoing etc. Wish victim support would leave me alone, if its not them its some idiot doing a survey to ask for feedback about them. You got to laugh really.
            btw I was there roughly at the same time as you pewack and ron.

            • I think it would be wise to do it again Kevin. There is a specific investigation into Wood end going on at the moment. The number to call for that investigation team is 0161 856 2491. You can also report via the 101 number. Please do report it again. I have not heard great things about that previous investigation.

          • Hiya I was there in 1977 and I know what you are saying is the truth the day I got there I was signed in by escort driver who sexual abused on the way there from Northampton, then I was told that I am no longer to be called my first name and every member of staff is to be called sir or miss, I was then taken into a room striped and told to get into a bath while he watched he then cut my toe nails and finger nails and made me perform oral sex on him. I was terrified having been abused by the driver on the way to woodend then again when I got there , the next 6 weeks was a living hell I was beaten by the maths teacher my head smashed so hard against the black board I was knocked out completely no dr was called , 1 day I was holding my porridge with 1 hand I was then taken to gym and beat again porridge was yuck no sugar only salt on it , the dormitory was like a cell had a buzzer on the door bed was located on the right hand side of the cell you had to make your bed with perfect hospital corners if this was done wrong they would slap you and make you do it again in the morning you had to box up your bed and again if this was not done right you would have a slap and made to do it again , I was so scared at night to buzz as I knew I would be slapped for asking to go toilet or sexual abused in some way , everything was done regimental I was witness to some horrible abuse not just to myself but to other boys every day some poor boy would be taken to the gym and beaten . My life has never been the same since I left that evil place I am currently helping Manchester Police with there enquiries’ never to late to have a voice abuse is abuse no matter what yr it was committed I am here to chat if you need to email me at rkmayes@btinternet.com

            • then I was told that I am no longer to be called my first name and every member of staff is to be called sir or miss, – See more at: http://blog.lemnsissay.com/2013/02/24/abuse-in-oaklands-childrens-home-or-wood-end-assessment-centre/#comment-1226304

              I was told something similar by Mills , only it was you had to address teachers as Sir by creepy Mills – He said you are amongst friends here ….urgh ! .

              I didn’t have the remotest clue as to what was going to happen , I was literally driven up there in a red Lada by a social worker ; more or less straight after court .

              The bit about toe and finger nails being done by staff tallies , they even shaved you on request , if you’d too much ” bum fluff ” on your face . The only thing you were allowed was to carry a comb with you to comb your hair after gym / football .

              I was that nervous that I literally flunked all the IQ tests and came out as a right thickie – To be fair there was a decent scouser ( the one that smelt of deodorant soap ) that told me to do them again …a great guy as I’ve said .

              That account Ricky sounds absolutely awful – however it is encouraging others to come forward . Thanks to Lemn too for putting these blogs up to . Nails in their coffins that’s if they are still alive . I hope their wives , families and relatives are proud ! .

                • Yes I can perfectly understand that – if you play devil’s advocate , there will be people that will have issues with what you say , be they former staff , Wigan Council and / or their social services dept , even former inmates ….and their obviously retort will be , well he hasn’t got the guts or conviction to go under his real name . That’s fair enough .

                  However I could also go under any old nom de plume or nickname as others here have commented or just say ” Dave ” or something ?

                  In this instance Anonymous is simply being ironic .

                  My other justifications are that not all people are thick or stupid , they’ll be doing internet searches and trying to work out who is saying what and trying to put two & two together . That’s a general problem if you are blowing the whistle , at work you could get the sack , not everyone likes whistle blowers for various reasons . So you have to box a bit cleverer ? and importantly we are dealing with some not very nice people so it’d be naive to assume there are Queensberry Rules .

                  I have had a instance where I did get work 800 people applied . However someone else who also got a job tipped the manager off about my past misdemeanours and I was told if I find out you’ve been lying to us ; I’ll bounce you off the walls .

                  So I’ll hope you’ll understand that discretion is required in some instances . You just don’t know ? what might crop up …That’s Life .

                  • Re Jan 22 2015 I don’t advise you go to these solicitors

                    I’ve copied and pasted this from the David Icke forum on Jimmy Savile . I’m not a fan of him , too many Anti Semitic / Zionist conspiracy theories and nonsense about lizards . However I’ve no problem with this comment .

                    It looks like the various law firms have carved up the country between them to deal with compensation claims against former children’s homes

                    Originally Posted by dentedarthur View Post
                    from http://www.abuselaw.co.uk/AbuseLaw/ChildAbuseGuide_.pdf

                    Abney Garsden McDonald Solicitors
                    Child Abuse
                    A Guide

                    Records – we must obtain many types of records upon you from different sources.
                    We will ask you to sign several forms of authority to enable us to obtain the records
                    on your behalf. The following types are common in abuse cases
                    o Social Care Records – held by the local authority if you were put in care.
                    o Care Home Records – these records will be vital if you were abuse in a care
                    home or other type of institution. We may not be able to obtain them without
                    issuing legal proceedings.
                    o GP Records – it is important to obtain a full set of records going back to your
                    date of birth if possible.
                    o Criminal Records – these records can be important if the abuse led to a life
                    of crime
                    o Educational Records
                    o Prison Records – sometimes there is helpful evidence of the effects of the
                    abuse where therapy was obtained in prison or a confidential disclosure
                    made to a chaplain or probation officer
                    o Probation Records
                    o Hospital Records – particularly important where you have undergone
                    psychiatric care subsequent to or even before the abuse.

                    can’t imagine lord whoever and lady whatever having to provide such records to be able to bring a criminal prosecution or any other
                    or do they have to ?
                    These records are needed in a civil legal action for damages.

                    These are amongst the records that anyone who takes legal action against an abuser – or, more likely, the nearest responsible body like the NHS, care homes, prison service, the gov, police who employed the perp.

                    Plus you have to be thoroughly examined by a Court Service Expert Witness or two. These exams are not just a swift 20mins but can stretch over several days.

                    In other words, as a claimant, your whole life, your psyche, and your motivations are intensely scrutinised. This is partly because the amount of damages is based on an assessment of earnings had you not been injured by the abuser.

                    It makes claimants feel like they’re the guilty party and is a gross invasion of privacy as well as very demeaning as the lawyers haggle over the minutiae of your life. It’s all part, I would say, of the ‘blame-the-victim’, anti-victim culture we so evilly allow in the country.

                    Whatever pittance you’re awarded as damages is simply peanuts up to the sheer hard work and emotional rollercoaster often over many years you’ve had to get to a settlement.

                    PLUS, the settlement usually comes with a gagging order and no admission of liability (and covertly, forever after, you’ll be lucky to get good/fair treatment from e.g. the NHS or whatever body you sued).

                    So this is why I defy anyone to parrot that we have a ‘compensation culture’ where people make up stuff to grab some ‘easy money’.

                    As for ‘liars and fantasists’ getting pay-outs…that’s a sheer, evil lie put about by MSM (in the same way as they manipulate our emotions about ‘benefit scroungers’) to deter us from making any claims. You really couldn’t get past the solicitor’s clerk if you were lying or fantasising let alone work with solicitors and barristers to mount an action.

                    We do not have any ‘compensation culture’. WE JUST DO NOT!

                    Nb a ‘criminal prosecution’ is completely different. Very few people take out private criminal prosecutions. You would have to provide an even higher level of beyond-reasonable-doubt evidence to do so. In practice the level of evidence in a civil damages case often has to exceed the civil legal test of ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

                    I agree ! and I’ve some idea how the likes of Wigan Council will defend themselves against claims if you play devil’s advocate .

                  • This is ” interesting ” , possibly too interesting in some respects . The article is by a former Housemaster and Superintendent who then became a director . Some of the replies re the home are none too complementary

                    The key points in the article are ” institutional measures ” and ” managing as a group ” – the problem some people have is where these two things have been handled badly , abused , inappropriately , corruptly to the point of trying make two wrongs make a right and / or there was a mirrored culture i.e. the staff being no better or even worse than the inmates etc , etc ….the comment by ” Check the Files ” and the one under it is very telling .

                    However I do believe it is important to play devil’s advocate on matters , even in a brutal way because you can bet that the Expert Witnesses in Courts , Solicitors dealing with compensation claims , the CPS , the Police , defence solicitors acting for former staff and / or Wigan Council , even just before when and if matters result in trials will be doing this too .

                    Basically it’s all about making things stick and stand up . Fortunately there has been some ! improvement in this post Savile age – and this is what a lot of this ultimately boils down to .

                    It certainly doesn’t mean I necessarily condone or excuse things .

                    Just saying

  17. Met lemn yesterday .Would recommmend mailing him ..Thanks for the reply , school was none existant when i was there , well no recolection of it 40 odd years ago , funny how most only remember this kind of abuse ! But do understand how you feel about it ,locked it away for all this time , If it saves one child from abuse then well worth talking about it .Just my opinion .Yeah i could of reported it .Who listens to kids? .Only by chance think my cousin who is a labour councilor…saw a blog of hers few weeks back .Ended up here .And though oh i was there .As i said my next place was mobberley boys school .Cheers for your reply

  18. Ron can u remember wat year u were in woodend I only recolect being in two classrooms most things can b abit fuzzy but the things that have a big impact during ones life are always very clear for me anyway we cant block the things wat happend from r minds itend to put them at the back but they will always b there and when u here things on tv and stuff it triggers my memory and takes me rite back to situations that I was in 40 odd years ago. need to get this dealt with and try move on

  19. 1971 feb marchish .Remember from the court to my mothers house .Remember my social worker driving me there .the physical abuse , the caneing of my ass the trickles of blood .Now shaking pause .REmeber the two kind farmhouse owners making us both tea and farm house toasted uncut bread .We knew what was coming .We did not run away for the toast and tea .Anguish .Of course .When a social worker kind of shrugs at you at that age .Or was easier for them to send a shrink into see me .What i wanted to say at the time was .They kicked ….k out of you .Now i can because i am still here ..LOTS of abuse in the 70s 80s 90s 2000s …..Pleased it is more public now

    • Think it was about 73/74. I did my first 6 week asessment at woodend I also remember my social worker taking me from court were I received a care order for not going to school .going up through the council estate .do u remember the big painting on the wall in reception of woodend? Your memories of the bad times seem prety clear like I said before other things r a bit fuzzy I must admit without my family ie wife and kids don’t no were I wud b good support in place hope its the same for u some people don’t have anyone to turn to and end on drugs or drink to try and cope sad realy

  20. Great family support ….My two oldest children have always know from as far back as i remember .all family members apart from my mother knew .feel sad that my brother has only just started talking about it .

  21. Just hate presssing that send button .before i finish something .Non recollection of hardly nothing.Only important stuff knowing that we can bring out all that time ago .oh and the guy who hit the window with a chair , remember he had 4 sayings on his arm tattooed in .even remember the tatoo .Tin of beans , a persons eye .a screw , and the letter u .Ok sounds daft to me now .But put an imprint of that tattoo in my head after he got dragged in the gym .By two of them , because he was a big lad

    • Ron ye.support is very important wen reliving a bad past the memories can take hold of ur life. my family did not no anything about my life as a child until about ten years ago wen police knocked at my door over an investigation into another care home I was in and bang that’s wen it hit me it turned my life upside down.hope ur brother is ok useem very close as brothers I no he’s in America and its important that u r there for each other don’t no if u have reported it to anyone yet but I’m just making arrangements to speak to the police did not think I cud do it Ron but I’m a strong person now so ill tell them how it was

      • Just on waiting for the police to contact me back .Cannot believe after 43 years years i have now mentioned it . II have a twelve year old grandson .And if one of those guys had even raised their hands to him , No law in the land would stop me wasting the t…s .No room in this day and age for child abuse .Acceptable corpral punishment , is a couple of canes on your ass or hands , Not stripped naked and beaten with a cane until your ass bled , and the blood trickled down your legs .Mobberley boys school where i was sent to was like a holiday camp compared to woodend .Hell hole shit hole for any child to be sent there . Ronald james tattersall

  22. Can anybody remember the young lad who absconded who only had one leg? I seem to remember hearing that he was caught peddaling a kids bike by the police

  23. I just watched your ted talk which has lead me here, and led me to start unpacking my past and connection to all this. When I was 8 I was placed at regular intervals into respite care at Oaklands during the mid 90’s. I did not have the harrowing experiences that all of you had and I don’t want to hop on and say I feel your pain but the place has haunted every day of my life since that building has become so imbued with pain and suffering that it oozed from every pore. I cannot even begin to understand how you all have been able to move on, it must take so much strength to have managed it.

  24. Annonymous some where i seen earlier about your clothes being on the outside of your door .They was in a big row of lockers when i was there .Only thing i could add really if i am honest pretty sure 100% .Statement done

    • I’ve had a look at Lemn’s ” Internal Flight ” film , this is the You Tube link to it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvwFcrKbvWY , in some parts of Woodend clothes may well have gone into lockers . I think ? , and I stress the word think ; I was in Beech House , this comes up @ 05.36 minutes , I might have said this before but I certainly recognise the mattresses , the beds are divan beds with drawers ; now come to think ; clothes had to placed and folded like the bed packs previously mentioned on here , in a certain order and they would have gone under said beds .

      I recognise the ” psychiatric ward” light green paint on the walls – that all institutions of this sort all seemed to have ! .

      Trivia – I remember a Linda Ronstadt picture in a cheap frame on the wall .

      As Lemn says the corridors were too narrow in certain ! parts of Woodend for lockers . You also had Sunday clothes , mine were like something a pensioner would wear back then- you just got used to it ! . You wore black pumps . The corridor is shown at 06.26 minutes

      You were eventually marched downstairs , there would be metal plates on the door ; this was the only place that you could touch the door . The rationale was disease and infections , which was laughable as I caught jaundice , I was still pretty rough 3 -5 weeks after leaving the place . They would have loved to hold me back there but were seemingly worried a compensation claim / complaint would be put in . So the matron basically verbally bullied me , in the hope that I was gullible enough to believe it was all my fault and in the wrong .

      You could see the Hag Fold Estate as you were marched to the dining hall .

      The name Platt rings a bell , remember who I think was called Platt going on about ” Civvy Street ” or the outside – this shows how regimented etc the place was . A depressing and a very strange / odd place , something you can’t quite put your finger on .

      I swore that when I left , I’d get the train from Wigan to Manchester via Atherton , not the route via Bolton , and have a damn good look at the place . I did purposefully look out for it when it got near Hag Fold and though it sounds stupid really give it the Vs . Then later on if I was on a diverted via Atherton mainline Inter City train , I thought sod it – I just can’t be bothered anymore and chose not to look .

  25. https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/north-west-england/cheshire-east/mobberley-boys-school/

    Good times while in care .And my own personal experience The likes of Ken Thomas ,Ex copper , Most teachers in there could name half the class i guess .Great times as i said . Been emotional G luck guys and you can thank me for the softish beds Lol maybe …Glass and metal dont mix ..Hats off to those from me at mobberly .Like that some who suffered what ever kind of crap in their lives ….Off to concentrate on this prostate shit ……Guys Check it out ..Simple psa test .If like me your in your 50s ,

  26. Cant picture going up stairs with my pjs , but did know our clothes were not with us at night .perhaps near the showers .Just so long ago ,also we called everybody sir .Thats when i got slapped first night in there .And know they were my pjs i escaped in .and deffo the army style beds Neat corners or slap .

  27. I know that some of us have seen this already, but just in case anybody finds it helpful Councillor Gareth Fairhurst of Wigan Council is calling for an Independent Inquiry into Woodend, separate to the police investigation, and both Wigan And Lancashire County Council’s part in the place. (for those of us pre-1975, Woodend was run by Atherton Urban District Council, part of Lancashire, as the current Wigan Council did not then exist).

    Councillor Fairhurst has said he is interested in hearing from anybody who has been a victim at Woodend who wants to talk to him.

    Police are currently investigating more than 40 historical allegations at the children’s home between the 1970 and 90s.
    Independent Councillor Gareth Fairhurst thinks this doesn’t go far enough “The Police are only looking at any criminal aspects of that and any crimes that have been reported. What I would like the independent inquiry to look at is the whole thing. We should be pro active as a council to find out what’s gone wrong, why it’s gone wrong, and we need to get to the truth and the bottom of all this.”
    Link to Wish FM page for full text.

    Link to Gareth Fairhurst Blog

    • Hi I have personally spoken to mr fairhurst and would recommend that u speak to him regarding your time at Woodend he is willing to help anybody who wants to take matters further and help victims and I and another victim on this blog would like to here from anybody who would like to come forward as a group

      • An issue with bringing this forward as a group is that some of us were in woodend pre-1974, before the current wigan council existed (Atherton borough council), some of the councils who put us there no longer exist, and woodend was run under the old Lancashire county council by the now-gone atherton council..

        When I raised the matter with Wigan last year they told me that Lancashire would have the records. Lancashire Council told me by letter they could not take the complaint anywhere for the following reasons:
        a. They hold no records at all of Woodend as an establishment.
        b. the time to make a complaint is expired, within 12 months of any “incident”.
        c. it might prejudice the concurrent police investigation.
        d. it was under the former atherton council, which no longer exists since it was amalgamated into the current Wigan Metropolitain council.

        And, in my case, they have no records of me being in care at all because in those days they did not need to keep records of children in care after they reached adult age.
        So I would guess people like me in your group would only muddy the waters, but I would still be pleased to do anything I can to help a group.
        I have had a couple of email conversations with another victim, and contacted Gareth Fairhurst myself.

        Personally I don’t want any of their money, or compensation, and I have made that clear to them all along, and all I have ever wanted were answers from these people about why they did what they did, and why it was covered up for so long.

        What I have learned from this is that abuse of children in care has been far more widespread and ingrained into the system for decades, probably all over the country, in some areas and establishments it was so ingrained that it became the norm (as in Woodend) and now the Insurance companies are very effective in leaning on councils to prevent them admitting any liability.

  28. I am a victim of childhood abuse from the 1970’s at the tender age of 14 and would like to share my story with you in the hope that you may take my case on.
    In 1976 I was arrested and charged with shoplifting some toys from a local store, the court decided that I should be assessed before taking further action and I was to be taken straight from the juvenile court and taken to Woodend Assessment Centre in Atherton, Wigan for 6 weeks.
    I was taken there by a driver who was employed by Northampton Social Services and I experienced my first traumatic moment. The driver brought me some cigarettes and sweets and started to play with my private parts and told me to play with his. Due to past experiences as I was abused by a family member (who has now passed over) and a local neighbour, I was not scared just thought it was normal. However, halfway to Woodend he stopped in a lorry park and took me into the men’s toilet and told me to take down my trousers, he then forced his penis inside me which made me bleed, it was very painful and I tried to cry out but he put his hand over my mouth to prevent this happening. I was so scared my whole life flashed before my eyes and he said “if you speak of this I will hurt you and your family, also I will be collecting you in 6 weeks’ time “. He then put me back into his car and continued to our destination.
    I was greeted by a stern looking man who petrified me; the driver signed me in and then left me. The man told me, “you are with us now and in here you are just a number and if you step out of line once you will be punished”. He also informed me that all the staff should be called sir or madam and he only used my surname to address me. I was then taken to a bathroom where I was stripped naked and put into a bath where he cut my fingers and toe nails. Once I had finished bathing he told me to open my mouth and close my eyes, in which he preceded to put his penis in my mouth. I felt like I was going to choke to death especially when this fluid came from his penis and down my throat, it tasted disgusting. Thoughts were racing through my mind, will I ever go back to my mother or will I die here. I felt so alone and frightened and just wanted to go home.
    Afterwards I was taken to my bedroom which was just a room with a bed in it. The door had a small key hole in and a buzzer on the wall, I was told if I used the buzzer more than once in the night I would be punished.
    Later I was taken to meet the other boys who were staying there. I was taken back a bit when the boys spoke as they all had different accents from me, I had only heard a Northamptonshire accent before, there were boys from Liverpool, Manchester and Wigan. I could tell straight away they did not like me and all because I spoke differently from them.
    For the next six weeks I was beaten by other the boys and also members of staff and at one point knocked unconscious for over 24 hours by the maths teacher who smashed my head against the black board. This was done because I found the subject he was teaching hard partly due to the fact that I struggled to understand his accent and didn’t know what he was saying. At no point was I given any medical treatment and no doctor was called in to check me over and ensure I was ok.
    I was also sexually abused by the night watchman and witnessed beatings to other boys it was a very cruel regime. At regular periods several members of staff would take us to the gym and beat us as a punishment. All you could hear was the anger coming from them and cries of pain from the boys being beaten.
    I tried my best to be good for the six weeks I was there hoping and praying that I would return home to my mother soon but it was to no avail. As he promised the same man who took me to Woodend picked me up and took me back to Northampton, where he again touched me but thankfully didn’t repeat the awful toilet experience and told me that I was never to speak about this to anyone as he knew where my family lived.
    I was taken back to Juvenile court where the report that was compiled at Woodend (which I have a copy of), which is so condescending, no mention of the abuse I suffered by their hands, it was recommended that I shouldn’t return to the family home and should be placed in the care of the local authorities. The court acted on this recommendation and sent me to St. Johns school in Tiffield where I stayed until I was 16. Though I was not sexually abused at St John’s the physical abuse continued not just by staff but I was also bullied by the other boys. I feel had this abuse not happened I would have never been put into care. I would have been well behaved and been able to return to my Mother after the 6 weeks was up at Woodend. I hold whoever wrote that report responsible for incarcerating me into a care for nothing.
    I feel I was treated very harshly being subjected to being removed from my mother and family and placed into an alien environment then into care for stealing a dinky toy, felt tip pens and some jumping puppets plus a pifco fan and battery’s I did not deserve to be abused sexually, mentally and physically for such a petty crime.
    I am now 51 but for the past 37 years I have lived in fear and pain, I have been in and out of hospital after trying to commit suicide, I am unable to bond with males and all of my relationships have broken down due my insecurities.
    Four years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar one but have suffered mental illness all through my adult life. I sometimes wonder if I actually have bipolar or did I sustain a head injury while in care? These questions still need to be answered and I am currently under a neurosurgeon investigating this further.
    I took this to Greater Manchester Police back in the 1990’s when they started investigating child abuse at Woodend but was told that it wasn’t in the public interest to take my case any further. Last year the investigation was re opened by Greater Manchester Police and I was asked to give a statement. However, again my case was dropped, this time through lack of evidence but they never gave me any further detail. As you can imagine I was devastated to have my hopes raised that justice would be done and I could finally get closure only to be let down again. There were 35 reported cases against Woodend in this recent police investigation but only 5 are now still ongoing, this isn’t very encouraging that any arrests will be made.
    I have been fighting this for so long now and with no help from the police or council, however, again I have some hope that the end maybe in sight as just recently for the first time the Chief Executive of Wigan County Council spoke out and apologised publically to the victims of Woodend. I had a conference call with her recently (this was recorded with Ms Hall’s permission), where she apologised to me personally and she asked me “what can Wiggin Council do to help you” and to put in a claim against them. She has also offered me some counselling for the trauma I have suffered she said “she was told it was like a little Coldiz in Woodend” and I have to agree with her it was.
    At present I don’t have a lawyer acting for me, I do have a rape crises officer dealing with my case at Serenity in Northampton, her name is Gillian O’Leary, and she is applying for compensation from CICA on my behalf. But to be honest the best compensation would be to see justice done and bring the abusers to trial. So I could tell them face to face how they made me feel and what pain and suffering they have caused me over the past 37 years.
    However, a financial settlement would help me rebuild my life and to get a proper education which I missed out on, though it will never take away the pain and nightmares that they have caused me to have.
    I would like to know if there is a willing solicitor to take on my case and help me achieve my goal of Justice not only for me but show all survivors of this type of abuse to show there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    I have all my records from the County Council of Northampton showing details of the transfer to Wigan, I also have my assessment from Woodend and all my Social Services reports. In my opinion Northampton and Wigan County Council are responsible for these crimes, even if they can’t bring the perpetrators to trial. I therefore, would like to file a claim against both Councils for the pain and suffering I have had to endure over the last 37 years. I have medical records which prove this. I lay no blame on Donna Hall she was not in office when these crimes was committed and I am so thankful for all she is doing to help me and other abuse victims of Woodend. Donna has offered me some form of counselling and has advised me to put in a claim against the Wigan county council. Wigan Cllr Gareth Fairhurst has spoken to me on the phone and he would like all the victims to contact him , we are taking this to Downing Street we are not going to be swept under the carpet again you can contact him direct via his blog or the contact details below .Tel: 01257 42 32 12

    Email: garethfairhurst@gmail.com

    Twitter: cllrgwfairhurst

    Facebook: facebook.com/cllrgarethfairhurst


  29. At least they acknowledged it happened .Job done .Should be the end of it.And let the police catch and stop it this day and age .

  30. Lancashire county council do not have pre 74 records .depending what area you were sent from .Just save times asking for records .

  31. my name is eddie from birkenhead i was the kid beaten and forced fed at dinner every one was sent out then i was taken to the quiet room was properly beaten mum was informed no visiting due to my bad fall down the concreat stairs dont forget if its on your plate it must be eaten. the beating was not the all you got

  32. Just for the record, and this is an open letter to whoever.
    No dedicated telephone number or email to contact GMP about historic abuse allegations in childrens homes.
    Had to explain what I wanted to the 101 recepionist.
    “what is operation Milan” she asked.
    Just come back from the police station and spoke to a normal police response officer and although he was very polite, he was not
    particuley interested in pursuing my allegations because and I quote, “He did not acutally sexually assault you because you fought him off,
    therefore no crime was commited”!
    “The investigation into historical care home abuse is over”.
    “If we had known about this at the time of Smallmans arrest we could have used you as a bad character witness”.
    So sorry to say this but, dont waste your time thinking that you will be welcomed with open arms, tea and biscuits and a sympathetic
    ear from a specialist officer.
    Cos, it aint happening.
    So, here is the information that I just told the police regarding Rodney Smallman who was deputy housemaster at Homelea Reception
    Centre, 294 Mosley Common Road, Boothstown, Worsley, Manchester. M28 1DA.
    I know the reason why Rodney Smallman left Holmlea Reception centre and went to Oxfordshire.
    That reason was Me!
    On 21/10/1975 I was sent to Holmlea Reception Centre which was a children’s home run by the local authority.
    The local authority at that time was Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council.
    I was forewarned by the children there, that Rodney Smallman was a man who had a penchant for spanking you on the bare bottom with a
    wooden hairbrush and that he derived sexual please from it.
    You had to go and have a private “talk” with Smallman under the pretext of Smallman trying to help you.
    During my “talk” Smallman was obsessed with asking me “did I ever fantasise about being spanked by my auntie or uncle”.
    “Did I ever fantasise about being spanked by the Nazi’s” and such stuff”!
    Weird fucker.
    A short time later, Smallman concocted an excuse to “discipline” me.
    It was night time and in his office he instructed me drop my pants and to bend over his knee, so he could “discipline” me with his
    wooden hairbrush.
    I refused and he asked me “are you refusing to disobey an order” to which I replied “yes”.
    I was then slapped about the face several times.
    Smallman then attempted to pull down my pants and we ended up on the floor fighting.
    I stormed off and Rodney Smallman pursued me a “like a dog on heat”.
    Smallman then followed me into a room and explained to me that it was my Case Conference tomorrow and that if I played ball with him,
    he would play ball with me, and that I could be going home tomorrow for the weekend so I think that it was a Thursday. Smallman begged
    me to acquiesce to him.
    I remember thinking at that time, that I was not going to play with his balls or anybody else’s!
    Faced with the stark realisation that I would not be going home anytime soon, I stormed off, obviously very upset and Smallman
    followed me, hounding me and try to cajole me.
    I stopped at the recreation room to get a glass of warm milk from the trolley that came around just before bedtime, and Smallman
    ordered Mrs M’s, (the wife of my social worker) not to give me a glass of milk.
    Upset, I then threw the metal tray with sixteen or so glasses on, onto the floor.
    I again stormed off very upset and till the day the I die, I will never ever forget Mrs M’s face.
    My mother for years said that Mr M’s, husband (John), kept apologising to her in the police station, but she did not understand why.
    She understands now.
    It is my enjuring belief, that Mrs M’s knew what was going on!
    But as pointed out by the judge in the Oxfordshire trial, Smallman bullied his staff as well.
    “Passing the sentence on Monday 12th January 2015, Judge Zoe Smith said to Mr Smallman: “You took employment as head of house at a
    care home for children where you had young and inexperienced staff that you were able to dominate and who worked in fear. You
    structured routines in the home that allowed you to groom young people you favoured and formed punishment that enabled you to have
    contact with them”
    At this point I was alone in the dinning room.
    Smallman came and shut the door and again, proceeded to try to get me to acquiesce to him and cajole me to accept what he was offering
    in return for him “rubber stamping” my weekend home leave.
    In all my life I have never ever been in a situation where someone has begged of me, in the way that he did.
    He clearly had a sexual fixation on me and wanted to pursue his sexual fantasy on me.
    But enough was enough, my reasoning by now clearly disturbed by my now highly emotional state, I attacked Smallman with a chair.
    I tried to spear his throat with the metal ends but only succeeded in glancing him a blow on the shoulder.
    I picked up a pile of ceramic dinner plates threw them to the floor, picked up a broken piece and turned to where he was last stood
    with the sole intention of doing Smallman serious harm.
    It was then that I heard the lock being turned in the door.
    Smallman had decided that discretion was the better part of valour!
    It is not an understatement to say that, locked in the dinning room, realising I was not going home to family, and very, very upset
    and emotional, that I proceeded to destroy anything and everything that was in the dinning room.
    I went on an mad orgy of destruction.
    Windows, chairs, doors, electrical fittings, crockery, cupboards, piano, everything.
    Some time later the police arrived and I was dragged in to the police car and taken away.
    And if I was not already emotionally upset, I was then beaten up by Sergeant Butterworth along the way, just for good measure!
    I was then ordered by the courts to be detained in Woodend Remand Home in Atherton.
    Only “physical” abuse there!
    For years I have never forgot Smallman, and often thought that I should inform someone about his behaviour, but I had told many people
    before at the time of my arrest about him, and it was like water of a ducks back, so I decide not to because I have a criminal record.
    But on a regular basis I searched the Internet for him because I knew one day he would surface.
    Unfortunately I was searching for Norman Smallman. Dohh.
    So a few months ago I got the shock of my life when I spotted this:



    So, memories came flooding back.
    And the point of this information about Rodney Smallman is this.
    Whilst I was in Holmlea, Smallman suggested to my parents that they should all go for a drink at the local pub, to discuss how best
    they could help me. During the discussion both my parents noticed how Smallman would regularly mention physical discipline as a means
    to help me.
    He was before in the services, the RAF.
    In essence smallman was “grooming” my parents!
    Smallman was testing the water.
    In 1975 When my father and mother asked me why had I gone nuts, I told them and many others why.
    At this point my father realised what Smallman had been doing and so confronted Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council about it.
    Their response was dismissive, so my father contacted the leigh reporter or The Journal, the local weekly newspapers and informed them
    of his beliefs.
    I vividly remember some time later, my father showing me a newspaper cutting stating that “Mr Smallman was unavailable for comment as
    he was on holiday in Northumberland”.
    Its clear that the local newspapers had asked Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council about the allegations that my father was making and
    their response was as detailed above.
    So having pieced all the bits together and the dates from the newspaper articles from the Internet, I have no doubt whatsoever, that I
    was the catalyst for Smallman leaving Homelea and moving down to Oxfordshire to carry on his reign of sexual abuse.
    Again working the dates out and from the newspaper articles, it would seem that from that night of my arrest to Smallman carrying out
    his first sexual assault in Oxfordshire, the time gap between the two, was less than three months! Maybe two months!
    Smallman wasn’t one for hanging about was he?
    After all, he had many kids to go and sexually assault!
    “The assaults took place between February 1976 to March 1983”
    It therefore begs the question, did Smallman leave Holmea of his own violation?
    Was Smallman asked to leave?
    Was Smallman given a “glowing” reference?
    So when you have my father making allegations of a sexual nature against Smallman, and the local newspapers contacting Wigan
    Metropolitan Borough Council asking for a reply to those same allegations, it can not be said by Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
    that they did not have more than a passing inkling, that Smallman was a sexual risk to young boys.
    From the article:


    Smallman himself has admitted at Manchester Crown Court that he committed serious sex crimes against young boys, two who were in the
    care of Holmea Reception Centre where he was deputy housemaster.
    I have worked the dates out, and Smallman committed those offences at Holmea Reception Centre before my arrival.
    Boy, was I lucky, but I do feel sorry for the victims at Oxfordshire.
    That I was the catalyst for Smallman leaving Homelea and going to Oxfordshire to carry on his sexual abuse, does not make me feel good
    about myself.
    So, when I read about Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council stating that in the light of alleged abuse in their care homes that they have
    spoken to ex employees to see what they can remember about any incidents that may have occurred in their care homes, I do not believe
    a bloody word of it.
    So none of ex Holmlea care staff, Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council staff, remember a 15 year old boy in their care, going on a mad
    destructive rampage at Homelea with Rodney Smallman figuring predominantly in the equation, or the newspaper articles?
    I remember that the value of damage then on my charge sheets, was about £3,500. So now according to a website calculation it would be
    about £33,000.
    Not something most people would forget!
    It is my honest belief that Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council have and still do, operate a policy of non rememberance lies and denial
    to protect the council’s good name!
    I have over the years attempted to get my child care records and Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council stated to me in a letter, that they would rather destroy those records than let me see them. I still have those letters and the child care records index numbers.
    My only hope is that should some other victims come out of the woodwork to accuse Rodney Smallman of sexual offences, the contents of my open letter today, may assist in someway in collaborating their story.
    As you can no doubt appreciate, it is hard for me to compose this and to tell you what I have.
    In someways it is cathartic.
    My date of arrest is some time shortly after 21/10/1975 when I arrived at Holmlea. Rodney Smallman arrived in Oxfordshire in very
    early 1976.
    I know that I was in Woodend Remand Home, Atherton, on Boxing day 26/12/1975 (leeds vs Manchester City), because I was being
    physically abused by a member of staff on that day!
    You could not make it up could you!
    So Mills, you fat bully, I shall be naming and shaming you next.
    Wigan Council “shame on you”, after all, it was on your watch!

    My email address for communication is: dvr1242@gmail.com
    PS: I was at Woodend Assessment Centre Atherton,when the young lads were going through the windows. Mindblowing!!!!

    • ive got a mountain of evidence gathered personally against severe child abuse i suffered whilst at redbank in 1981-1983 at the sadistic hands of the headmaster brynley goldswain [bastard now dead] and mckewern known as ”boss” due to the kids fearing him so thats what he liked to be called boss,not managed to trace mckewern yet so not sure if hes dead too,the problem getting these cases into court due to them being reported years out of time is the fact that solicitors seem to be terrified to take your case on due to them believing that no judge will accept your case and the fact that there is only a 3 year option to report the abuse from the day it happened which in my mind is condonement of abuse by the authorities,lets face it many of these poor kids were fkin traumatized for life and had their whole lives ruined from a very young age me included but just because you are being oppressed by the authorities barbaric laws does not mean you should give up the fight for justice, tell the world about it bombard mps, newspapers,councils,police,facebook,councilors,social services minister,radio stations,whoever you can put pressure on get it out there,these condoners of child abuse are no different to dirty paedophiles,they wont acknowlege the fact that youve been abused,they hide away behind closed doors dismissing your claims and taking the piss out of us all,these arseholes know the laws regarding the reporting of abuse so they use the law unfairly to their own advantage and its really disgusting,they take us into care homes they keep us from our families friends and loved ones then they never visited when we had problems and they let us get abused whilst in their care,well the bastards were very quick n keen to ruin our lives as kids so they can come back where they finished off and pay for what they did,

  33. I was in Mountwood in 90-91 I was first in beech in short term care I was there for a month and ended up getting excluded from main stream school so I had to go the School at Mountwood too. The first time I met Mr Mann was when he came into the class dragged me out of cooking class for messing about to his office. He grabbed me by my face slapped me and said your not in your old school now he grabbed me by my side burns and started pulling the up he nearly lifted me of the floor and the was the first of many dealings with Mr Mann. I ended up running away and was arrested after I went to court I was remanded to local care. I was take back to Mountwood but this time to Alder when my social worker left I was taken to my room and strip searched I was told it was to see if I had drugs or money on me the tactic’s they used was wrong the odd punch,slap I was only stripped searched twice but the second time was bad I had run off again and been caught in caught in Wigan with money on me so I put the money in my underwear when I got back to mountwood they strip searched me and I wouldn’t take my underwear off so one grabbed old me I cant remember his name but he was old but big with a white beard did weight lifting in the weights room he held me down while Mr Mann ripped my underwear down and the money fell out and at tea they told all the other kids that’s what happens when you run away. I all came to a head when some lad came in as my room mate he set fire alarms off in middle of night messing about and the fire brigade came out twice. On the second time they came out. Once they went Mr Mann came up from his house. He lived in one of them house’s on the side of the drive way up to Mountwood and he gave us a right kicking. The lad who was rooming with me told his social worker his worker told mine and there was a investigation but by I never new what happened.

  34. i would like to put some information on here concerning up to date reporting of historical abuse,,,i reported 2 cases to gtr manchester police following the truth project contacting them,,,the chief inspector phoned me to take the details of my assaults inflicted by wigman and fitzgerrald in woodend,,,the inspector stated that the police were no longer investigating these abusers for physical assaults and that my complaint details would be formally put on file nothing more,,,the inspector stated that the only way ahead was for me to take up a civil case,,the inspector stated that only sexual abuse would be investigated also the inspector stated that there were other claims of assaults made against wigman and fitzgerrald for physical assaults,,the inspector stated that fitzgerrald had vanished and could not be traced



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