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
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