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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Birth of Barnardo's
This is where Barnardo's first started caring for poor children.
Location: Ragged School Museum, 46-50 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR
Description: These canalside warehouses, built in 1872, were once used to store lime juice and general provisions. They are now the only mid-Victorian canalside warehouses left in Tower Hamlets.
In 1868, Thomas Barnardo started a ragged school at Hope Place, Limehouse. Ragged schools were free schools for poor children. The pupils' plight prompted Barnardo to open his first home for homeless boys in 1870 at Stepney Causeway. This charity cared for children regardless of their age, faith, colour or disabilities which was very unusual at the time. Between 1880 and 1900, children from China, the West Indies, Africa, India and America were cared for.
By 1875, Hope Place and another ragged school he had opened were condemned due to overcrowding so he needed to rent larger buildings.
In 1876, Dr Barnardo rented 2 warehouses (now 46 Copperfield Road) and converted them into the Copperfield Road Ragged School for children aged 5-10 years. Here poor local children received a free education, breakfast, dinner and help finding their first job.
Each floor was made into a big classroom with a fireplace, and the loopholes (warehouse doors) were replaced by windows. The basements became the playgrounds. A pediment (triangular structure) was added to the top of the building to make it look more imposing. The separate boys', girls' and infants' schools opened in 1877. By 1879, this building housed the largest ragged day school of the 144 in London.