Chil­dren’s homes

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many smaller homes across the coun­try.

Close be­hind Barnardo was Thomas Stephen­son, a Methodist min­is­ter in Lam­beth, who founded what was to be­come the Na­tional Chil­dren’s Home (NCH) in 1869. In 1871, a large home was opened at Beth­nal Green, and an­other founded on re­mote moor­land at Edg­worth, Lan­cashire. the cen­tralised man­age­ment of Barnardo’s and the NCH, the homes were run by lo­cal com­mit­tees.

As well as the large na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions, many homes were set up by lo­cal groups or even sin­gle in­di­vid­u­als, no­tably Ge­orge Müller in Bris­tol and Wil­liam Quar­rier in Scot­land. Oth­ers, such as the Har­ris Or­phan­age in Pre­ston, re­sulted from be­quests by wealthy in­di­vid­u­als. The phi­los­o­phy of th­ese homes was that chil­dren in poor cir­cum­stances needed to be ‘res­cued’.

The home would be­come their fam­ily, also pro­vid­ing education, religious teach­ing, and in­dus­trial train­ing to equip them for adult life.

For boys, the train­ing typ­i­cally in­cluded trades such as shoe­mak­ing or car­pen­try, while the girls were taught do­mes­tic and laun­dry work to pre­pare them for do­mes­tic ser­vice. Homes for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties were also es­tab­lished by the large char­i­ties.

A num­ber of oc­cu­pa­tional groups set up homes for the or­phaned chil­dren of their mem­bers. Th­ese in­cluded sailors, the po­lice, rail­way work­ers, the clergy, teach­ers, clerks and ware­house­men. The homes were funded by con­tri­bu­tions from em­ploy­ers and mem­bers as well as char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions.

Chil­dren were a ma­jor part of the work­house pop­u­la­tion, ei­ther with their par­ents or un­der the guardian­ship of the work­house au­thor­i­ties. From the 1840s, in­creas­ing ef­forts were made to re­move chil­dren from the ‘taint’ of the work­house.

A few au­thor­i­ties in Lon­don and else­where built Sep­a­rate or District Schools, hous­ing

Chil­dren at The Müller Or­phan­age in Ash­ley Down, Bris­tol, early 20th cen­tury

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