Stepney Home - Emigration to Canada
The great institution known as "Dr. Barnardo's Homes " was founded by the late Dr. Barnardo forty-four years ago, with the object of rescuing destitute children, and this is now a national incorporated association, of which her Majesty Queen Alexandra is the patron, and the Duke of Somerset the president. The headquarters of the association are at Stepney Causeway, London, E. At this Home no destitute child is ever refused admission, and 73,658 boys and girls have been rescued and trained in forty-four years. The founder of this association, Dr. Barnardo, was born in Ireland. His father was born in Germany, but was of Spanish descent. His mother was born in Ireland, but of English parentage. And although Dr. Barnardo was not an Orangeman, he was a strong Protestant.
With a view to undertaking mission work in China, he came to London and entered the London Hospital as a student. But shortly after this cholera broke out in London, and a stampede took place, leaving room for volunteers. And although Dr. Barnardo was then only a student, he volunteered for cholera service, and was accepted. He thus began a house-to-house visitation of the East End poor, which gave him a deep insight into the conditions of their lives. Two nights in the week he devoted to Ragged-school work, in which he was assisted by a few other medical students.
The school was held in a disused donkey-stable in the heart of squalid Stepney. To this place a poor ragged boy, named James Jervis, came one night in 1866, but he was only known as Jim. He came, not with any desire to be taught, but to get warm. Another lad had told him of the school; or, as Jim put it, "He tell'd me to come up 'ere to the school to get a warm, an' he sed p'r'aps you'd let me lie nigh the fire all night." It was a raw winter night, and when all the scholars had left the room, little J i m lingered, casting a longing look at the fire. He had neither shirt, shoes, nor stockings. He had the careworn features of an old man, although only ten years old; and he was stunted, pinched, and starved. The young student ordered the boy to go home, but the poor waif pleaded to be allowed to stay by the fire, as he had no home or friends. The young student did not believe the boy at first, but having learned from him that there were many others equally destitute, Dr. Barnardo gave the poor child food, and went with him after midnight to see the sleeping-quarters of the "Don't Live Nowheres."
Jim trotted along, leading his new friend down lanes and alleys until they came to a high, dead wall, on the top of which, on an iron roof, lay asleep eleven boys, from nine to fourteen, with no covering of any kind over them except their rags. The sight of these upturned, piteous faces as they slept on the roof in the moonlight haunted Barnardo, and he vowed to dedicate himself to save the arabs of the street and leave the Chinese missions to others.
Dr. Barnardo's First Helpers
Young Barnardo himself was at that time comparatively friendless and unknown in London. Nevertheless, he resolved to accomplish his purpose. Now, some weeks after, whilst dining at a great man's house, he spoke of what he had seen, and some of the guests went with him after dinner to see for themselves the lairs where destitute children slept at night. Amongst others, there was one at Billingsgate where, under a pile of old crates, boxes, and empty barrels, seventy-three boys were sheltering for the night. Lord Shaftesbury and other philanthropists were amongst the party.
Young bakers at the Stepney Home. Boys over school age, with an aptitude for technical work, are apprenticed to and taught various trades in the great workshops attached to the Home
From a photograph taken at Dr. Barnardo's Home
Dr. Barnardo, having proved his case, was not long in getting funds to start his life work. He began in a little house in Stepney, which was first opened for twenty-five boys, and which has now grown to the big building, embracing eight houses. 18 to 26, Stepney Causeway. The building itself is a curiosity in architecture, as it was built bit by bit, and block by block, as the work increased and the money came in. It is a wonderful complication of offices, dormitories, kitchens, baths, elementary school, and technical classes. There is a chapel which easily seats 350 boys, a playground which has grown with the buildings, a creche for babies, and workshops, where boys over school age who have an aptitude for technical work are apprenticed to various trades.
One day's admissions at the Stepney Home. The children come from all parts of the kingdom and from every conceivable kind of misfortune. No destitute child is refused admission From a photograph taken at Dr. Barnardo's Home
At present (1910) there are 12 bakers being trained, 10 blacksmiths, 30 bootmakers, 18 brushmakers, 26 carpenters, 10 harnessmakers, 16 matmakers, 34 printers, 45 tailors, 17 tinsmiths, 6 upholsterers, 10 wheelwrights. In the technical classes a good deal of work for the Homes is done.
For example, the tinsmiths covered 761 of the Saratoga trunks made by the carpenters for the Canadian emigrants last year, and they also received and executed some 321 orders last year for asylums - baking-dishes, boilers, bowls, etc. The shoemakers manufactured within the year 2,100 pairs of boots, besides repairs. The blacksmiths and wheelwrights dealt with326 orders, including the building of three one-horse vans, repairs to 16 vans and 12 trucks; and Bo an enormous quantity of work has been carried out in the workshops of the Home.
Music is also taught in the Home, and the East End of London takes a pride in the boy's band. The first band numbers 40 performers, and is made up of the following instruments: Flute, piccolo. 2 E flat clarionets, 4 B flat clarionets, 7 comets 2 baritones, 2 euphoniums, 4 trombones, 4 basses, 4 horns, 4 drums, and cymbals. Physical training is also given by formal instruction, and the regular practice of physical exercises in school, by the holding of evening classes during the winter months for recreative exercises, and by the encouragement of open-air games and sports.
At the top of the building at Stepney is the photographic studio, where all the children are photographed on their arrival, and again on their departure from the Homes. And the last block of this wonderful building is Her Majesty's Hospital for Sick Children, which has 84 beds.
All the children rescued are received at the Stepney Home, and sent from there to the various branches. There are in all 139 separate Homes and branches.
The rescues effected from 1867 to the end of September of this year (1910) amounted to 72,590. At present, under the care of the management, there are 9,044 boys and girls Of these, 5,091 are boarded out in England and 1,330 in Canada. Of those boarded out in 1909. 53 were under one year of age. The foster-parents must be personally known to the lady acting as inspector or local correspondent. No more than two children - or, in exceptional cases, three children - are allowed in one home. The foster-mother must be clean, capable, and experienced. A minimum of 5s. a week is paid for each child. A larger sum is paid for an infant or child requiring special care.
Church of England children are boarded out with Church foster-parents and Nonconformist children with Nonconformist. Catholic children are not received in the Homes; they are sent to Catholic institutions. Since the Homes opened, 22,612 boys and girls have been helped to emigrate to Canada.