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Living in the British empire - migration
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Extracts from a report published in 1915 on the work of the Dr Barnardo's charity
(Catalogue ref: HO 144/1118)
  • This report was published in 1915 by the Barnardo's charity. Dr Barnardo was a doctor from a wealthy family. He planned to become a missionary doctor like David Livingstone. However, in the 1860s he stumbled across some street children in Liverpool and spent the rest of his life working with unfortunate children in Britain.
  • He set up a series of homes that cared for children in need. They were strict, but generally caring. They trained boys and girls and helped them to live normal lives.
  • Many Barnardo's children were sent to live in Canada.
  • This document was effectively a brochure advertising the work of the charity. In the very back of it was a form encouraging people to give donations.
  • Not surprisingly, it gives a positive view of the charity's work. A big part of this is to show how children have become loyal citizens of the empire. For example, Jack was in a steady trade and was also a member of the QOR (Queen's Own Rifles) Regiment in Canada. In 1915 Jack was probably fighting in the trenches against the Germans.
  • The source also shows a view towards the empire. The charity sees it as a great achievement that these children were empire builders rather than being nobody’s children.
  • The charity was not without its critics. For example, many children of unmarried mothers were simply taken away from their mothers and sent to Canada. As with source 5 in this case study, the charity believed it was doing the right thing, but did it have the right to send children away from their families?
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