Smyllum Park orphanage

Picture copyright
Lanark Museum

The our bodies of a whole lot of youngsters are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, in line with an investigation by BBC Information.

The youngsters had been all residents of a care residence run by Catholic nuns.

At the very least 400 kids are considered buried in a piece of St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the house, refused to touch upon the findings.

The analysis by the File on four programme at the side of the Sunday Post newspaper centered on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark.

It opened in 1864 and offered look after orphans or kids from damaged houses. It closed in 1981, having taken care of 11,600 kids.

A burial plot, containing the our bodies of a variety of kids, was uncovered by two former residents of Smyllum in 2003.

Frank Docherty and Jim Kane found an overgrown, unmarked part of St Mary’s Cemetery throughout their efforts to disclose bodily abuse which they stated many former residents had suffered.

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St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark the place the our bodies of greater than 400 kids are believed to be buried

In 2004, the campaigners stated the Daughters of Charity instructed them their information steered that kids had been buried in 158 compartments within the graveyard.

Frank and Jim, who each died earlier this 12 months, believed nevertheless, that the numbers had been far larger because the nuns had indicated their information had been incomplete.

The investigation by File on four and the Sunday Submit signifies they had been proper; a minimum of 400 kids are understood to be buried within the plot.

“Oh my God, I’ve received goose pimples. It is stunning,” stated Frank Docherty’s widow, Janet.

“He had been making an attempt for years to discover a determine and he did not get anyplace. That is unbelievable.”

The dying information point out that many of the kids died of pure causes, from ailments frequent on the time resembling TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Evaluation of the information present third of those that died had been aged 5 or beneath. Only a few of those that died, 24 in complete, had been aged over 15, and many of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

A kind of believed to be buried there may be Francis McColl. He died in 1961, aged 13; his dying certificates signifies he died from a mind haemorrhage.

His brother Eddie spent a long time questioning what had occurred to Francis. At one level, he heard he’d been struck on the top by a golf membership, which now chimes with the proof of the dying certificates.

However Eddie may discover no hint of the place his brother had been buried.

“It is ridiculous,” he says. “I am not joyful about that. Whoever is behind this, I hope they will reside with themselves.”

Many allegations of abuse on the care residence had been additionally uncovered by File on four and the Sunday Submit, together with beatings, punches, public humiliations and psychological abuse.

This case mirrors the investigation into the Tuam mother and baby home, an Irish establishment run by a non secular order, the place it’s thought practically 800 infants and younger kids died and had been buried in unmarked graves between the 1920s and 1960s.

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Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark after it closed within the 1980s

What occurred at Smyllum is among the subjects that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is inspecting.

Two representatives of the Daughters of Charity gave proof to the inquiry this summer season through which they stated they may discover no information of any abuse happening.

The nuns refused to answer detailed questions from reporters about how many individuals had been buried within the mass grave.

In an announcement, they stated they had been “co-operating totally” with the Youngster Abuse Inquiry and that they believed that was the “greatest and most applicable discussion board for such investigations”.

They continued: “…as Daughters of Charity our values are completely in opposition to any type of abuse and thus, we provide our most honest and heartfelt apology to anybody who suffered any type of abuse while in our care”.

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Memorial stone at St Mary’s Cemetery to recollect all who died at Smyllum Park Orphanage

Since 1855, there was a authorized responsibility in Scotland to register a dying.

These dying information can be found for scrutiny on the Nationwide Information for Scotland workplace in Edinburgh. The information include particulars such because the title and age of the deceased in addition to what they died of and their regular place of residence.

After specializing in these individuals beneath 18 who’d been resident at Smyllum, the BBC and Sunday Submit checked native burial information for Lanark, which immediately are held with South Lanarkshire Council.

They discovered no proof that the useless had been buried.

Some kids had been despatched to the house from different locations throughout central Scotland, so spot checks had been additionally made with a variety of different areas. Burial information had been found in Glasgow for 2 of the useless. No different space we approached may discover any burial file for the names we requested them to test.

Because the Daughters of Charity have beforehand indicated that kids had been buried in an unmarked plot on the cemetery, and that their information are incomplete, all of the our bodies are believed to be buried within the graveyard.

The tactic is a reproduction of that used to reveal a mass grave in the Irish Republic.


File on four: The Secrets and techniques of Smyllum Park is broadcast on BBC Radio four on Tuesday 12 September 2017 at 20:00 BST. You may also make amends for the BBC iPlayer.

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