Thomas John Barnardo

Thomas John Barnardo
Thomas John Barnardo
An old photograph of a man, wearing spectacles, writing at a desk.
Thomas John Barnardo, circa 1868
Born 4 July 1845(1845-07-04)
Dublin, Ireland
Died 19 September 1905(1905-09-19) (aged 60)
London, England
Citizenship United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Organization Barnardo's
Known for Founder of homes for poor children
Religion Christian
Denomination Protestant
Spouse Sara Louise Elmslie (Syrie) (m. 1873–1905) «start: (1873)–end+1: (1906)»"Marriage: Sara Louise Elmslie (Syrie) to Thomas John Barnardo" Location: (linkback://
Children Syrie Maugham
6 others

Thomas John Barnardo (4 July 1845 – 19 September 1905) was a philanthropist and founder and director of homes for poor children, born in Dublin. From the foundation of the first Barnardo's home in 1870 to the date of Barnardo’s death, nearly 100,000 children had been rescued, trained and placed out in life.


Early life

Barnardo was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was the fourth of five children of John Michaelis Barnardo, a furrier, and his second wife, Abigail,[1] an Englishwoman and member of the Plymouth Brethren. In the early 1840s, John emigrated from Hamburg to Dublin, where he established a business; he married twice and fathered seventeen children. The Barnardo orgins are uncertain; the family "traced its origin to Venice, followed by conversion to the Lutheran Church in the sixteenth century," but others have claimed German Jewish roots for them.[2]

Dr Barnardo's Homes

With the intention of qualifying for medical missionary work in China, he studied medicine at the London Hospital, and later at Paris and Edinburgh, where he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. However, he never earned a doctorate, and in later life he was prosecuted for falsely claiming he was a doctor. The evangelical work he carried on alongside his medical studies in London served to make him aware of the great numbers of homeless and destitute children adrift in the cities of England. Encouraged by the support of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury and the 1st Earl Cairns, he gave up his early ambition to lead a missionary's life in China, and began what was to prove his life’s work. The first of the "Dr Barnardo’s Homes" was opened in 1870 at 18 Stepney Causeway, London. From that time onwards the workload of his humanitarian venture steadily increased until, at the time of his death in 1905, there were established 112 district homes, besides mission branches, throughout the United Kingdom.

The object for which these institutions were started was to search for and to receive waifs and strays, to feed, clothe and educate. The system under which the institution was carried on is broadly as follows: the infants and younger girls and boys were chiefly "boarded out" in rural districts; girls above fourteen years of age were sent to the industrial training homes, to be taught useful domestic occupations; boys above seventeen years of age were first tested in labour homes and then placed in employment at home, sent to sea, or emigrated; boys of between thirteen and seventeen years of age were trained for the various trades for which they might be mentally or physically fitted. Besides the various branches necessary for the foregoing work, there were also, among others, the following institutions: a rescue home for girls in serious danger, a convalescent seaside home, and a hospital for the terribly sick.

Barnardo and his wife, Syrie, were given a home in Barkingside as a wedding gift. There he created a 60-acre (24 ha) rural retreat, with the vision of creating a way of life for destitute children that resembled growing up in a village.[3] On 9 July 1876, The Girls' Village Home was officially opened with 12 cottages by the then Lord Cairns. In the same year, a modern steam laundry was opened. Over the years, the number of cottages grew to a total of 66 in 1906, housing some 1,300 girls. The cottages were spread over three village greens next to Mossford Lodge at Barkingside, Ilford, Essex that had been opened in 1873. By 1894, a multi-denominational Children's Church was dedicated, and The Girls' Village Home had become a real "garden city".

In 1899, the various institutions and organizations were legally incorporated under the title of "The National Association for the Reclamation of Destitute Waif Children", but the institution was always familiarly known as "Dr Barnardo’s Homes." Barnardo laid great stress on the religious teaching of the children under his care. Each child is now brought up under the influence and teaching of the denomination of the parents. The homes are divided into two sections for religious teaching, Church of England and Nonconformists; children of Jewish and Roman Catholic parentage are now, where possible, handed over to the care of the Jewish Board of Guardians in London, and to Roman Catholic institutions, respectively. In 1877, Barnardo was the resident physician at the Smedley Hydro Hotel in Southport. He also opened a children's school in Birkdale while he resided in Southport.[4]

Barnardo was also a member of the Orange Order in Dublin.[5]

This section incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Marriage and family

In June 1873, Barnardo married Sara Louise Elmslie (1842–1944), known as Syrie, the daughter of an underwriter for Lloyd's of London. Syrie shared her husband's interests in evangelism and social work. The couple settled at Mossford Lodge, Essex, where they had seven children, three of whom died in early childhood. Another child, Marjorie, suffered from Down Syndrome.[6]

Another daughter, Gwendolyn Maud Syrie (1879–1955), known as Syrie like her mother, was married to wealthy businessman Henry Wellcome, and later to the writer Somerset Maugham, and became a socially prominent London interior designer in the 1920s and 1930s.[7]


Barnardo died of angina pectoris in London on 19 September 1905[8] and was buried in front of Cairns House, Barkingside, east London. The house is now the head office of the children's charity he founded, Barnardo's.[3]

After Barnardo's death, a national memorial was instituted to form a fund of £250,000 to relieve the various institutions of all financial liability and to place the entire work on a permanent basis. William Baker, formerly the chairman of the council, was selected to succeed the founder of the homes as Honorary Director. Barnardo was the author of many books dealing with the charitable work to which he devoted his life.

At the time of his death, his charity was caring for over 8,500 children in 96 homes.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Wagner, Gillian (2004). "Barnardo, Thomas John (1845–1905)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (September 2010 online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 November 2011.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ Rogal, Samuel J. (1997). "Barnardo, John Michaelis". A William Somerset Maugham encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 5. ISBN 9780313299162. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Wrightman, Sara (June 2008). "The birthplace of Barnardo's". Essex Life (Archant): pp. 88–89. Retrieved 3 February 2009.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ Manning, Danielle (8 October 2010). "Heritage Open Days offer an insight into the history of Smedley Hydro". Southport Visiter. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "F.A.Q.'s". Dublin and Wicklow Loyal Orange Lodge 1313. 2010. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Rogal, Samuel J. (1997). "Barnardo, Sara Louise (Syrie) Elmslie". A William Somerset Maugham encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 5. ISBN 9780313299162. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Rogal, Samuel J. (1997). "Maugham, Gwendolyn Maude Syrie Barnardo". A William Somerset Maugham encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 160–163. ISBN 9780313299162. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Public Funeral". The Goldonian Web. Goldings The William Baker Memorial Technical School for Boys. 2003. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "The history of Barnardo's". Barnardo's. 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Barnardo, Thomas John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thomas John Barnardo — Dr. Thomas John Barnardo Thomas John Barnardo, né à Dublin, (4 juillet 1845 19 septembre 1905) était un philanthrope irlandais, fondateur et directeur d asiles pour enfants déshérités. Entre la fondation de son premier asile, en 1870, et sa mort …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Barnardo, Thomas John — ▪ British social worker born July 4, 1845, Dublin, Ire. died Sept. 19, 1905, Surbiton, Surrey, Eng.  pioneer in social work who founded more than 90 homes for destitute children. Under his direction, the children were given care and instruction… …   Universalium

  • Barnardo's — Logo Barnardo s is a British charity founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866, to care for vulnerable children and young people. As of 2010, it spends over £190 million each year on more than 400 local services aimed at helping these same groups.… …   Wikipedia

  • Barnardo — s Barnardo s est une organisation caritative fondée en 1866 par le médecin irlandais Thomas John Barnardo pour s occuper d enfants et jeunes. En 2007 elle a dépensé £195 millions par an sur 394 projets. Barnardo s est basé à Barkingside,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Barnardo's — est une organisation caritative fondée en 1866 par le médecin irlandais Thomas John Barnardo pour s occuper d enfants et jeunes. En 2007 elle a dépensé £195 millions par an sur 394 projets. Barnardo s est basé à Barkingside, Redbridge, dans l est …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Barnardo — is a surname, and may refer to:* Thomas John Barnardo (1845–1905), an Irish philanthropist, founder of the Barnardo s charity for destitute children, and his daughter, * Gwendoline Maud Syrie Barnardo (1879–1955)surname …   Wikipedia

  • Barnardo — Barnardo, Thomas John, engl. Philantrop, geb. 1845 in Irland, Arzt in London, gest. das. 19. Sept. 1905, errichtete seit 1866 für die verlassenen Straßenkinder Heime, Krankenhäuser, Schulen, aus freiwilligen Spenden …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Barnardo — /bəˈnadoʊ/ (say buh nahdoh) noun Dr Thomas John, 1845–1905, British philanthropist who founded homes for destitute children in England …   Australian English dictionary

  • Barnardo — /bahr nahr doh, beuhr /, n. John Thomas, 1845 1905, English physician, social reformer, and philanthropist, born in Ireland. * * * …   Universalium

  • Barnardo — /bahr nahr doh, beuhr /, n. John Thomas, 1845 1905, English physician, social reformer, and philanthropist, born in Ireland …   Useful english dictionary