Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteChildren


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteChildren



From 1842 walks outside the walls became officially permitted for workhouse inmates under the age of 15 though only at the discretion of the Master.

1868 Poor Law Boards began to approve applications from Unions to board out their children

1870 education became compulsory in areas with adequate school places.
The Unions were allowed funds to pay for education outside the workhouse, and the use of state schools for workhouse children became the general rule.

1880 school attendance became obligatory everywhere, 

1889 new regulations were issued allowing the placing of children outside the Union area.

1891 fees were abolished in elementary schools.
Social opinion was changing in the 1890's and many Boards of Guardians felt it was better to remove the children away from the workhouse enviorment.
Moving away from the "farm" schools, they favoured the district school, run by salaried officials employed by the Unions. The first district school was opened in 1850 at Anerley in North Surrey.

1893 A universal minimum school leaving age was introduced at 11 years.

1899 School leaving age was raised to 12 years.

1915 Guardians were supposed to remove all children from the workhouse environment, but the local Government Board had to rescind this order due to the onset of war.

1918 School leaving age was raised to 14 years.

1920 The Ministry of Health claimed that 90% of poor law children in Institutions were living in special accommodation, however this included childrens wards within institutions.

Mailing Lists

A great number of children that came under the auspices of the Poor Law Guardians found themselves in Cottage Homes or Orphanages.

There is a Rootsweb list concerning the subject of Orphanages to which you can subscribe.
Just type "subscribe" without the quotes to one of the following addresses:
Mail mode 
Digest mode 
Dvina is the list owner, and she will be very pleased to hear from you. 

A number of Children were sent out to Canada by the Guardians, and Childrens Homes, known today as British Home Children. There is a list and web site as described below by Perry Snow, Listowner.
British Home Children Website
For those researching the 100,000 children emigrated to Canada by 50 British childcare organizations from 1870-1940. 
British Home Children Mail List
+300 subscribers currently researching their BHC ancestors and unknown British relatives.

"Neither Waif Nor Stray:  The Search for a Stolen Identity" by PerrySnow

Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret