Nineteenth Century Waifs

The images are haunting. Children in rags looking bedraggled from living on the streets. Irishman Dr. Thomas Barnardo saw the poverty and neglect in these children’s faces and did something about it. He opened his first home for these children in 1870 and by 1905, it’s estimated he rescued 60,000 kids. His work continues with Barnardo’s Charity.

Here’s an amazing family history fact. Beginning in 1874, Barnardo took pictures of every child that his homes cared for. Over 300,000 images are in that collection. If you had a family member who lived in a Barnado’s home, you can contact the photo archive to see if they have a picture of that relative. Unfortunately the archive isn’t available for searching online.

Now according to an article in the Picture Professional, those pictures are also available for licensing through the stock photography company TopFoto.co.uk. A stock photo house provides images to businesses for advertising and commercial interest. The proceeds from the sale of these pictures will help support Barnardo’s. You can browse the collection without registering as a user of the site. Only a small percentage of this picture trove is currently being digitized.