Gillum Close, EN4

Place Name

Named in honour of Lieutenant-Colonel William Gillum, who from 1860 lived at Trevor Lodge, Churchill Road. While serving in the Crimean War he lost a leg during the siege of Sebastopol in 1855 and thought he was going to die. Grateful to be alive when he was invalided out of the army he decided to dedicate his life to helping homeless children. With links to the Christian Socialists, who believed such children could be saved from a life of crime through education, he decided to set up Barnet’s first and only industrial school where boys would be trained in tasks such as repairing shoes, farming and tailoring. Dr Gillian Gear, secretary of Barnet and District History Society, explained: “The idea was that they would provide training and education for children so that they would not become criminals. Lots of them were street children – kids living by their wits in cities like Manchester and Liverpool. They were committed to the school through the magistrates court. Some of them did quite well when they left at the age of 15.” Church Farm became an approved school under the Approved Schools Act in 1933, when industrial schools were merged with reformatory schools for boys who had been released from prison. The building eventually closed in 1938, with the school moving to Godstone, in Surrey.

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