Doc­tor Bar­nado: Cham­pion of Vic­to­rian Chil­dren

Byb Martin Levy

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

(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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