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Dr. Barnardo

Thomas John Barnardo is one of the best known men of the Victorian era. He founded the ‘Barnardo’ organisation which transformed the lives of thousands of children who were otherwise homeless and destitute. Their work continues to this day.

Thomas was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 4th July 1845, and was the son of a furrier, John Michaelis Barnardo, who was an immigrant from Germany with Spanish origins, and his second wife Abigail.

By the 1860s, Thomas was working in London’s poverty stricken East End and witnessed the destitution, particularly among orphaned children, which was left in the wake of the cholera epidemic of 1866. He opened a ragged school in 1867, and in 1870, founded the first ‘Dr Barnardo Home’ for homeless boys at Stepney Causeway. Six years later he opened his first¬† school for girls at Barkingside in North-East London. By the time of his death on 19th September 1905, his organisation was operating 96 homes, with 8,500 children in their care.

The Barnardo family in Banbury Road, Hackney, London, in 1881

To read more about Dr Barnardo and his homes, please click on the links below

You can see the Barnardo family tree in We are related to Dr. Barnardo (with thanks to Elizabeth Herts).
For history go to

Barnardo’s: Who We Are


Dr. Thomas John Barnardo

Velma Dinkley

© Velma Dinkley 2010