In 1866, 20-year-old Thomas Barnardo ar­rived in Lon­don to pre­pare for mis­sion­ary work in China, and saw scores of des­ti­tute boys sleep­ing rough

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health, with the loss of just its father usu­ally qual­i­fy­ing a child as an or­phan.

A few es­tab­lish­ments, such as the Lon­don Asy­lum for Deaf and Dumb Chil­dren (1792), catered for chil­dren with

Lon­don’s East End in the 1860s was no­to­ri­ous for its poverty, vice and un­god­li­ness – in the 1851 Census of Religious Wor­ship, less than half its pop­u­la­tion could be classed as church­go­ers – and evan­gel­i­cal mis­sion groups tar­geted the area. In 1866, 20-year-old Thomas Barnardo ar­rived there from Dublin to pre­pare for mis­sion­ary work in China. He fa­mously en­coun­tered the home­less and par­ent­less Jim Jarvis, who showed him scores of des­ti­tute boys sleep­ing rough. Barnardo set up a boys’ home at Step­ney Cause­way, adopt­ing the slo­gan ‘No Des­ti­tute Child Ever Re­fused Ad­mis­sion’.

It was fol­lowed by the mas­sive Vil­lage Home for Girls at Barkingside, Es­sex, and

The Foundling Hos­pi­tal, St Pan­cras, Lon­don, 1749

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