Hidden Lives Revealed: Archive of Children in Care 1881-1918

Waifs and Strays' Society childThe Hidden Lives Revealed site draws from archival materials of the Waifs and Strays’ Society, which took care of “poor and disadvantaged children” from England and Wales from 1881 through WWI. The main concentration of the site is 150 case files, presented as both high-quality scanned images and in transcribed form. Navigate through these files by using the search form or list of keywords. All of the names on the case files have been removed. The case files FAQs section explains that this was done because “[e]ven though these children were in the care of the Waifs and Strays’ Society around a hundred years ago, The Children’s Society, as the Waifs and Stray’s Society successor organisation, still owes them a duty of care.”

Also available on the site are dozens of photographs organized into 12 sections; see children in the Society’s care, children at play, children first taken into care, and much more.

Since its founding around 22,500 children when through the Waifs and Strays’ Society and were housed in about 175 homes.  Browse through and learn the histories of these homes, from the “small cottages” to the “industrial homes.”

For teachers interested in using the Hidden Lives site in the classroom there are learning materials (with worksheets and “fact files” that incorporate the sites photos and information), articles with more information on the Society and the children that were in its care, a bibliography of further reading, links to related sites, and even some fun activities.

The Waifs and Strays’ Society is known today as The Children’s Society, and they helped put together this site along with the EnrichUK Lottery Fund, and the Big Lottery Fund. Hat tip.

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  1. Counsellor & Therapist Associated Sydney

    I wonder whether we have a similar project of archives in Australia for our “stolen generation” and our “forgotten generation”. Our prime minister recently publicly apologised to both groups of indigenous children and non-indigenous Australian’s who were taken into care and to whom the most basic duty of care was denied.

    An inspiring and shocking collection of life stories. What an honour to get a glimpse.

    Counsellor & Therapist Associated Sydney