At last a blue plaque at the home of Thomas Barnardo in the Bow Road—after 150 years

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there - Credit: Barnardo charity

A blue plaque has gone up on a terraced house to mark the home of Thomas Barnardo 150 years after he began his work rescuing street children in London’s East End.

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there - Credit: Barnardo charity

English Heritage installed the plaque at 32 Bow Road where Barnardo set up what is now Britain’s biggest children’s charity.

He lived in the terraced house in the 1870s while setting up ragged schools and orphanages in the East End after finding so many destitute children begging on the streets of Whitechapel, where he was a medical student at the London Hospital.

“The foundations he laid are the bedrock on which we support children and families today,” the charity’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said. “He made sure no child was ever turned away from his charity.”

The house at Bow Road was later used by Barnardo’s as a training home for girls entering domestic service to learn household skills to make a living.

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there

Thomas Barnardo and the house in Bow Road with his plaque 150 years after he lived there - Credit: Barnardo charity


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Thomas Barnardo pioneered foster care, sending 320 boys from the slums of the East End to live with families in rural villages for the fresh air and countryside. An orphan girls’ village was also set up in a number of cottages surrounding a green at Barkingside, in what was then Essex, which cared for 1,500 children. It remains the headquarters of Barnardo’s UK today.

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