John Trimble was admitted to the Poor House in May 1858 at the tender age of aged 7. His mother was still living in Belfast at the time but as his father had passed away. After spending a number of years within the walls of the institution, John  was apprenticed in 1865 to Mr Reed, a stationer, printer and bookseller based at Waring Street not far from the Poor House. Our admission book includes a note that after his apprenticeship John settled with his mother in Charles Street.

However, this was not the last the Poor House heard from John Trimble. He ultimately ended up in Leeds, writing back to the Charitable Society in 1878 giving the first of what proved to be an annual subscription to the Society for the rest of his life. The following extract from his letter sent to the Charitable Society in 1878 is a fitting testament to the work it undertook for the impoverished children:

“…having spent 6 years of my boyhood under it’s [the Poor House] roof… I cannot express the gratitude I feel… to those gentlemen who sacrificed time and money to the good purpose of educating and supporting the orphan who would probably be led into a life of vagrancy, pauperism and may be crime [otherwise].”

Thanks to the information provided in the letter, not only could we trace John in our own records, but using other sources including census returns, birth, deaths and marriages we can learn a lot more about John’s later life. John married a lady called Martha and had at 3 daughters and a son who died within his first 2 years. From our research it appears that only one of his daughters married, and his children all moved to North America.

John Trimble continued to donate to the charity throughout his life, including £50 he gave in September 1918. John himself died in 1929 and was buried in Beckett Street Cemetery in Leeds. In his will he provided one last donation of £250 to support the institution that had helped to turn his life around, as well as a bequest of 1/34 of the residue of his estate of £8,000.