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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Thomas Barnardo

In 1862 Thomas Barnado (1845 – 1905) an Irish clerk of Jewish origin converted to evangelical Christianity. After a period spent preaching in the Dublin slums, he arrived in London to study medicine with the aim of becoming a medical missionary. Moved by the child poverty and homelessness around him, he begun to care for destitute waifs and strays. 

In 1870 he opened the first of the "Dr Barnardo’s Homes" at 18 Stepney Causeway, London while still a student. One evening an 11-year old boy, John ‘Carrots’ Somers was turned away because the shelter was full. He was found dead two days later from malnutrition and exposure and from then on the home bore the sign ‘No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission’. 


Thomas John Barnardo


The work steadily increased until, at the time of Barnado's death, on September 19, 1905, by which time there were established 112 district "Homes," besides mission branches, throughout the United Kingdom.


Barnardo arrived at his own funeral by means of the London Underground. His body was transported on the Central Line from Liverpool Street to Barkingside to be laid to rest.

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