Mobberley Boys’ School, Knutsford

Mobberley Boys’ School, Faulkner’s  Lane, Knolls Green, Knutsford

Operation Cleopatra.

This care home was investigated as part of Operation Cleopatra, an investigation by Greater Manchester Police launched in April 1997 into 66 carehomes. One claim dated back to 1958.  The Operation continued to 2002.

Police investigated over 350 complaints of abuse.  Various complaints were made by children at the time but they were ignored.

Allegations were made against staff at Rosehill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford. Ellerslie in Altrincham and Lynwood, Seymour Road Children’s Home were also implicated.

Abuse scandal dates back 50 years

Rosehill care home (photo courtesy of MEN Syndication)

More than 90 of the claimants attended Rosehill

An abuse scandal which started as one case in a Manchester children’s home almost 50 years ago has ended in a record payout to 168 victims.

Detectives launched Operation Cleopatra in April 1997 after receiving more than 48 separate allegations, one dating as far back as 1958.

More than 20 officers, eight detectives and six social workers worked out of a dedicated incident room in Stockport examining more than 350 cases.

By the time the inquiry wound up in 2002 the team had investigated 66 homes and gathered enough evidence to prosecute six men for the systematic abuse of dozens of boys in care.

What they uncovered was the widespread abuse of boys in a handful of homes, some run by Manchester City Council, carried out by a group of individuals in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Allegations were made against staff at Rosehill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford. Ellerslie in Altrincham and Lynwood, Seymour Road Children’s Home were also implicated.

Philip Roe

Philip Roe, one of the abusers, was described as evil by police

Victims were aged from five-years-old to teenagers when they were abused in incidents ranging from rape to indecent assault.

Some of the abuse, it transpired, was perpetrated by a man who had managed to rise to the top.

Ronald Hall, a former warden of Broome House, was Assistant Director of Manchester Social Services when he was arrested by detectives in 2001.

He was jailed for 11 years for 21 counts of sexual and physical abuse while his deputy at Broom House, Ian Gray, was given a 14 year sentence for serious sexual offences.

Roe ‘evil’

Other men received lesser sentences for abuse, including taking indecent photographs of children, before the final prosecution in May 2004.

The last case saw Philip Roe, from Hornchurch, jailed for 12 and a half years for counts of indecent assault and buggery on children he visited in care while he worked for Manchester’s social services department in the 1980s.

He was described as “evil” by detectives who worked on the case.

Broome House Care Home

Some of the abuse was carried out by Ronald Hall at Broome House

But while Roe’s conviction brought a satisfactory end to the police operation, there were fears that many more victims were hidden.

Police took more than 922 statements and heard hundreds of allegations during the inquiry, although the men were prosecuted on the evidence of just a handful of victims.

In 2000, solicitors Abney, Garsden, McDonald began urging former residents of five homes in Greater Manchester and Cheshire to join a group action against Manchester City Council.

There were just 15 victims when the High Court at Manchester made a Group Litigation Order in June 2001. By the time of the final hearing in March 2007, that number had risen to 168 – more than half of whom attended Rosehill.

Victims were paid an average of £15,000 each for the abuse they suffered and its lifelong effects, an amount described as “pitiful” by partner Peter Garsden.

BBC News 07/03/07


44 responses to “Mobberley Boys’ School, Knutsford

  1. George William Goodwin

    My name is George William Goodwin my date of brth 29 th feb 1952 in 1962 I went to broom house and was treated very well , I got myself into trouble in 1964 and was remanded to rose hill in northenden Manchester things started to happen very soon after I arrived . Cigarettes were used to get you to do favors for certain members of staff ,I declined I was messed with by a boy friend of my mothers so I was not going to have that happen again. The next time it happen was in the gym I was made an outcast by a member of staff and the other boys , I was not going to perform masterbaion on other boys while the member of staff watched . After that I was left alone ,out in the cold made a loner . I did witness physical abuse by a mr Samson a big man it’s easy to hit kids there not able to hit back . I was sent to redbank in Newton le willows for a short time then on to mobberley boys school in knolls green Cheshire the staff where brilliant firm and fare mr berry was head mr tucker the head teacher . My house master was mr Thomas a gem of a man he was a ex bobby from Wales the house I was in was Curtis . I enjoyed my time there .you know most of the boys I was in mobberley with we’re like me from poor back grounds and three meals a day clean sheets and people who cared was all I needed I’m 62 now I have three children 2 boys 1 girl thay say children that are abused become abuses not me one time round was bad enough Yours g w Goodwin Ps sorry my spellings not very good .9

    • Hi george, my name is brian aspey i was in shaftbury house . Number 93 ,i was there from 1964 to october 66 . Did you ever know a black boy called joey rose , or donald lindsy .l had a great time there believe it or not. Was nice to read ur 64 be nice if a party of us could have a night out i live in wigan ,by

      • Was Mr Smith Mr spinks Mr Jones where the house master then my cousin jack wall was there as well number 109 kev cooke 110 Brian Davis 117 then that number was taken by mick aspin 97 was Paul Abraham nidge tandy ( Curtis house )
        All from Oldham

    • I was at mobley boys from 69 to 73 my number was 114 that’s where I got my nickname Tomo as I carry to this day in was in shaftesbury house

      • John Faulkner

        I was there at Mobberley a little before you, 61/62 & my number was 115.
        Bobby Rigby was 117. Billy B 76. Peter Parkes, a good friend, well known later, was upstairs, 127?

        I remember Mr Jones as a gentleman, but it was Alexander the headmaster, who was doing most of the abuse. (In his office)

        I remember Baldy Sutton liked to inspect the boys in the showers.
        Spread your legs, raise your arms, turn around, to make sure you had soaped all of you….

    • Was Mr Smith Mr spinks Mr Jones where the house master then my cousin jack wall was there as well number 109 kev cooke 110 Brian Davis 117 then that number was taken by mick aspin 97 was Paul Abraham nidge tandy ( Curtis house )
      All from Oldham

      • My name is Darren, i was in Mobberly on 2 occasions between 83 and 87. I was in Curtis house unit 5. Our house master was Mr Thomas a lovely man who i still to this day have a picture of both of us. My only problem was a bully who was incharge of unit 6. His name was Mr Farrel ex para 4 who broke my arm in a vicious attack on me. Have always hoped to bumped into him in later life but never had the chance.

      • Just been raeding more replys and it must of been 77/8 i first entered Mobberly. It was on my second visit that girls were introduced. Someone further down writes about the riot we had in curtis house and the football game. I was involved in the riot, we were all marched down in bare feet next morning and made to walk on the broken glass. It was during the football game that Farrel broke my arm

  2. Ron tattersall

    Remembers mr thomas from curtis house .1973 .took me to see wrexham while i was there , n pretty agree with what you have said . The odd one wernt .

  3. Ron tattersall

    I actually was in , woodend first on remand .Were nothing but bully boy staff , that much i escaped jumping out of a third floor window , over barbed wire .

  4. Steve Hewitt

    I was at Mobberley Boys School from 1969-71 in Curtis House and Ken Thomas was my Housemaster he was a very good man Robert Lyndsey who started working there with his wife not long before i left he was also a fair bloke
    All the best to anyone that knew me
    Steve Hewitt Now aged 59

  5. Ron

    Remember both .Robert was a OK guy .Had a child called Stuart I think .Has me pinned against a wall .But did apoligise after he found out it wernt me .Got a few cigs .Not a bad place really .Easy ..towards Woodend !

  6. Ron tatt

    Small world think i went there just as you was leaving .The name rings a bell .Few guys names i remembeer , conrad brophy.two brothers called findley .

  7. Philip (Ben) Bentham

    I was at Mobberley from about October 1967 to December 1968, the youngest boy in the school by at least a year. I was in Curtis House, which was headed up by Mr Delight first, then by Mr Rodway. Mr Rodley was second in command. I think there was a bearded assistant housemaster called Mr Thomas.

    The head was Mr Berry, deputy was nicknamed Noddy, who was rumoured to be having an affair with the Matron. I remember others – ‘Tommy’ Tucker was senior master Bert Sutton (nicknamed ‘Shirt Button’) taught Geography. Mr Amer taught wookdwork and Mr Wardle and Mr Petts taught gardening and ‘Nobbly’ Hall taught English. Once Mr Wardle caught two boys masturbating in the potting shed, and thereafter joked about ‘pulling one’s plonker in the potting shed’. In Mr Hall’s last spelling test before he retired, in their honour, he had the words ‘pull’, ‘plonker’ and ‘shed’.

    I remember a few of the boys – David Hamilton, Peter Hart, Alan Doyle, Hill Grundy, someone called McKie, a boy called Barry Whaley, also an older boy called George Pounder, someone called Jocus and someone else called Fletcher. Edward Trelfa was in my class. . David Vasquez I think I have an email address for somewhere, but I didn’t keep in touch with anyone.

    Some notable things I remember – like the termly ‘medical check’ where we all had to go into the dining room and get undressed, then stand in front of the doctor and the matron and cough. Once Jocus went in there with an enormous hard on! One term Mr Berry did ‘clinker’ checks. We had to drop our trousers and let them inspect our underpants. One night we were having high jinks at 2am and the following night the fire alarm went off also at 2am and we were forced to run around the floodlit yard for an hour while Mr Berry sliced anyone across the backside whose knees weren’t high enough.

    If anyone was in Curtis House when I was there, or even at Mobberley when I was there, or if anyone knows what happened to any of the people I have mentioned, I would love to hear from you.

    • Me

      Mr waffle “pops” use to cut our hair .Think he was still there in 75 when I left Mr fallon decorator ,Mr johns . I will book you for disobedience was his fav words .Waa very easy being there after how ever long I was on remand at that place .two holidays a year 4 meals a day .Freedom to walk about.remember and still for the life of me the matron sticking a pair of scissors in my Wicklow on my thumb .Boy did it clear it out though . A credit so some horror stories allegedly .
      Curtis house was easy .Because of the respect from the teachers .Ran away a few times .But hey we was kids .better than that army style barracks Atherton .Quite a few from there ended up in Mobberley .

      • tony carter

        I was at Wood end atherton 1973 me and billy Huff, we did a runner over a fence when we on the gym teacher took us all out into the field to do some sports day, billy got caught and I got away,I got home to sale Manchester but was taken back the next by my mum and dad,and got a fucking good hiding by the staff and that fat headmaster,didn’t like there one bit than There moved me to Moberly boys school.

  8. Hi guys nice to read all ur letters , i was there in 1964 to end of 66 ,was in shaftbury house green, was mr wells not the head teacher at that time ,my number was 93 dose anyone rememer a black boy think is name was joey rose ,started a bulldozer up nearley knocked down the old wash rooms , came to me and asked to try to stop it .got caught we both got 3 days knocked of our leave for summer,them was good old times,

  9. steve thompson

    I was in Russell house 81-82 and it was a shit hole, boys on one side girls on the other. Think it was Mr Link the house master, right horrible old fucker he was and his wife was no better.

  10. I was in Carpenter house (No 85) 1971-73. I remember Fatty Howell fuckin bully he was. Mr Whattam was the Warden, he was fair but took no crap.
    Mr Wilks was the other house master. I hated it a Mobberley, absconded at least 6 times, got the cane for it off the headmaster Mr Price too.
    I think MBS was a bullies paradise and not a place if you were timid that’s for sure

  11. mick roberts

    i was 13 in 1946 sent to mobberly to stop me absconding from six previous schools that could not hold me. i absconded from mobberly 12 times got home to London each time . Each time taken back and severely caned in shower room by sadistic head James Alexander. Did not stop me absconding and eventually Alexander gave up and I went to another approved school in Brighton,Mile Oak.Still absconded from there but no caning when caught.

  12. brian aspey

    Its been nice to read all the comments. I wish you all the very best for christmas. fond memmories . Just wish someone knows of joey rose think he was jamacan .

  13. Was in mobberley 81 in Curtis house we rioted got took to wilmslow police arm after nicking the mini bus straight to court etc remember mr Farrell waiting for us when we got back as the football game he had got got smashed up horrible place for youngsters

  14. David Cassidy

    I was in ommberley,81-84, I was in Russel house,,I enjoyed my time at Kimberley after coming from rose hill where I was abused it was a holiday camp,,I remember the staff, the links, mr Burke, mr Mac,,and the French Canadian with his fat misses,,

  15. james whittleworth

    Hi, i’m James Whittleworth, i was in Mobberly, from 1959 to 1962, worked on the gardens with Mr Wardle, and Charlie Petts, ( get mobile ), lol was his motto, teachers i remember were Mr Fred Fallon, painter, Mr Henry Johns, Engineer, Bert Sutton, loved his cricket, Mr Stretch, Mrs Ogden the matron, and Miss Coin, assistant matron, Mr Tommy Tucker, loved Bee Keeping, Mr Animal Alexandra, head master, absolute twat, and filthy man, Then a Mr Jack Berry took over, What a gentleman he was, Firm but Fair, My time at Mobberly was ok, i was treated fairly, had the odd fight with idiot bullies that thought i was a push over, till they realised i could handle myself, i used to box, under Mr Wattam, the Gym teacher, he was a massively built man, mucsels on mucsels, big man. Remember a few of the lads that were there with me, David Gillard, Alan Clark, tall lad, and John Burgoyne from Wilmslow, John Falkner, who has a Cycle business, in the midlands, and then a lad who was in the next bed to me, Philip West, pissy arse, always peeing his pants, always stinking, he was from Nottingham, other folk that were there, i didn’t pay much heed to, either idiots, or queer bugger’s, in the true sense of the word.Anyway, if anyone knew me, please feel free to get in touch.

    • Pop wardle and Mr petts luck was the garden depart plot 13

    • Pop wardle and Mr petts luck was the garden depart plot 13 with they were great

    • John Faulkner

      Hi James: ) I remember your name, but not much else.

      Proper memory lane stuff. I’d love to get in touch, but not sure how!
      If you checked my bicyclz website there is a contacts page on it. Just use it: ) I’m retired now at 70, but still got a few cool bikes: )

      I never knew Berry, but Alexander, with his VW beetle, will remain in my memory for ever. Creepy, devious little pervert. (His wife was very nice to me though. I used to help her out with stuff in their house for some reason!)

      Henry Johns, the perfect gentleman, maths teacher as I recall, was the other side of the coin. Mr Wardle was cool & also the gym teacher you mention.

      I do remember John Burgoyne & Philip West, plus many more. Where are they all now?

      I know Peter Parkes died quite young. We were good friends there & later.

      When I’m in the area (I got a big family, many in Cheshire) I often check out Falkners Lane. It’s changed a good bit now, thank goodness.

      For me MBS was one of a series. I was in Danesford before & Bryn Estyn after, (& more) so I know the score: )

      John F.

  16. My name is Anthony carter I was in Moberly boys school in 1973-1976,I was in carpenter house unit 1 house masters were peter stringer and wife sue stringer
    Unit 2 don’t know his full name but was called Joseph?.I remember some boys names. but only vaguely I remember Derek love,cookie monster,(nick name)and with his side kick carl from burnage manchester, john Gerrard, Hine nick always eating onion, whey I was there I work in the gardens with pop Wardle I was doing trenching digging up soil on allotment 13,

    • And I remember the house’s name’s to carpenter house, Curtis house, Russell
      House, Shaftbury house, I remember once most of us broke into the games room to play snooker or pool cant remember what it was every one had quick game I miss the white ball and ripped the canvas that was in 1975 and had to pay for the damage out of my pocket each week for last year I where there.
      Tony carter

    • peter smith

      i was there then too, pete stringer was x bbc manchester by and his lovely wife

    • James Short

      Hi Anthony I got moved from rose hill to mobberley in 1976 I was in carpenter house for about 6 months then got moved to engmanthorp hall weatherby Yorkshire. I remember braking my wrist in the gym and getting a slap for complaining that it was hurting me. It was nearly a week before I got taken to hospital and put in plaster.

      • anthony carter

        Hi James on what date or month in 1976 did you arrive at Moberly boys school,I’m sorry to hear that you broke your wrist until it was too late,I bet the pain was extremely painful.

  17. tony carter

    Peter stringer nick name was call cat weasel?

    • Heath Stringer

      I didn’t know my father was called Cat Weasel, ha ha!
      And yes Anthony, my mum made great flap jacks.

      • tony carter

        Hi heath stringer.
        It was he’s gouty beard and mustache, I didn’t mean any
        Offence by the way.

      • tony carter

        Hi heath stringer,I remember you now you came down from upstairs’, ounce in carpenter house,it was 1975-6 when we had all the tables put together once in carpenter house,and we had a big food snack then we went off to Altrincham ice rink for the night for our treat,you were a teenager girl back then.

  18. tony carter

    And his wife made lovely flap jacks for supper sometimes.

  19. Matt Spinks

    Hi, My name is Matthew Spinks – and I am the son of Mr Spinks who was a house master at Mobberley. I was very young so don’t remember a great deal – falling down the stairs (being able to see the gaps through the treads as I went!), being scared witless by everyone singing Happy Birthday to me at breakfast I think, almost drowning in the pool until one of the boys pulled me out, and some sort of show with the song “the leg bones’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the….”. And collecting conkers near a gate. Apparently I used to go with my dad to pick up boys who’d been collected by the police, and they’d hold my hand as they came out of the cell, but I have no memory of that. Nothing but good memories of the boys there though. Oh yeah, also remember a massive model yacht in the window opposite our front door. And playing with Tonka toys!

  20. Vincent harrop

    I was there 67/69 in shafsbury house Mr Smith house father ,I did woodwork.Loved my time there and knew many lads name is Vincent harrop.

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