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The Female Refuge in Hackney Road opened in the first decade of the 19th Century (1805, at Cupars Bridge, Lambeth, moving to Hackney Road in 1811) and the Male Refuge at Hoxton probably slightly later. Minutes of the Female Refuge survive from 1812-1902 and are complete except for first two volumes. Minutes of the Male Refuge begin in 1819 (with some early minutes and those for May 1826 - October 1830 missing) and finish in June 1849 when the Refuge was closed. The institutions were intended for the relief of destitute young people when released from prison.
The "General Court" was the governing body for both institutions, though day to day administration was left to the local committees. Two minute books of the General Court survive, for 1819-41 and 1842-77.
During 1848 there was much discussion about the possibility of rebuilding the Hackney Road Refuge. It had proved impossible to negotiate a new lease on favourable terms, and the charity's legal advisers recommended that a freehold site be purchased. The Manor House estate at Dalston was bought (almost certainly from the Tyssen family) for £3200.
In November 1848 the Secretary of State indicated that Parliament's annual grant to the Refuge (given in return for the care of prisoners from Government institutions) would be drastically reduced. It was decided to close the Male Refuge at Hoxton and to concentrate all the resources on the new Female Refuge which opened at Dalston in June 1849.
(n.b. The charity had its own Act of Parliament which set out details of the financial grant.)