Doctor Barnado: Champion of Victorian Children
Byb Martin Levy
(AAmberley, 252 pages, £25) TheT ‘evolution’ of Thomas Jo ohn Barnado from a lowly Ir rish background into one of th he most influential people in shaping child welfare is illustrated in great detail here.
The profound effect that religion, finance and the work of his peers had upon him and his trials and tribulations is also covered comprehensively.
The popular understanding that Barnado’s is simply an orphanage is dispelled, illustrated by the fact ‘Homes’ were a place where ANY child was accepted and cared for whether an orphan or not. It also shows how children received lessons in the ‘three Rs’ and were given the opportunity to learn a trade, aiming for a return to the community, if not to their home then perhaps to foster parents or even overseas. This enabled Barnado’s to maintain its aim that no child be turned away, and was provided with the best chance of survival as a adult.
The book provides a great insight into the origins, development and influence in the care of children of one of the greatest institutions of our time. While there are very few personal details, for a genealogist with Barnado children in their tree, there is plenty of information on the role of the UK’s leading children’s charity.
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