On the streetsWho would you choose?

Who Would You Choose?

Boy pulled from the river Thames

There were so many poor and destitute children that it was hard to decide who best deserved a place in one of the homes.

Click on this photographs link to see some more waif children, then read the fact file and use the worksheet to decide who you would choose.

What do you think?

  • If you were a child caught stealing in those days, what would you expect to happen to you?
  • Do you think the older children in the family are good people to look after the younger ones?
  • How much do you think it costs to feed yourself for a week?

Printable worksheets and source material:

Who would you choose?:
worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (157k) Download  Adobe Reader

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  1. Children came to the notice of the Society in a number of ways. Some came from the workhouse or the police courts (they may have been caught stealing). Others were rescued from the streets where they were living homeless.
  2. Families were large and if there was no father it was difficult for the mother to care for the small children and work. The little ones would have to be left with the older children while the mother did some dressmaking or laundry work. If this was not possible then some of the children may be taken into the Society's care.
  3. Most children were taken into the homes free of charge. There was not enough money to take all the children who needed a home and these children had to be placed on the waiting list.
  4. Some children were fostered by members of local churches.
  5. In 1900 the cost of placing a child in a home was £15 a year.
  6. People who read the magazine, Our Waifs and Strays, were asked to donate 5 shillings a week towards a child in need.
  7. In 1902 there were 2138 children in the Society's homes.
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