Hidden Lives Revealed is a purpose built website providing an intriguing encounter with children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.

The learning materials are focused on three themes:
Rescued from Poverty, In the Children’s Homes and Preparing for Work, offering students an opportunity to work with original primary sources taken from the archives of The Children’s Society.

The sources, questions and worksheets develop the sense of exploring and unfolding the hidden lives of children who were destitute and sometimes homeless in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They enable students to discover how those waifs rescued by The Children's Society were given the chance of a family life, schooling and preparation for work.

The modules aim to develop analytical skills, encouraging students to make their own observations about photographs and extracts. Evidence such as language used, surroundings and clothes worn are interpreted and used as a basis for a deeper understanding of the ways in which children suffered from poverty, were taken into homes and prepared for work. The material highlights the stories of ordinary children whose experiences have been largely forgotten by mainstream history.

These resources may be linked to the knowledge, skills and understanding requirements within the Programmes of Study for the Citizenship, History, PSHE and RE Curriculum. The content can be adapted in a variety of ways to meet the needs of individual groups.

Target age range:

The questions and worksheets are targeted at an age range from 10-15. The source material may be used in a variety of contexts and with a wider age range.

What’s here :

Most of the material, sources and worksheets, can be downloaded and completed on paper. For a full list of the worksheets and downloadable source material – click here (this links to a list of the 14 worksheets and resource sheets)

The source material is available as A4 print outs which can be used separately as well as being included in the worksheets.

Each theme has an introductory page, which provides:

  • An image
  • Contextual information (a fact file)

This page then links into either 2 or 3 modules, each of which contains:

  • An image and a fact file.
  • A link to 2 original photographs.
  • Initial ideas for questions to promote discussion.
  • A downloadable worksheet and resource sheet.
Themes Rescued from Poverty In the Children’s Homes Preparing for Work
Module 1 On the Streets Issues of overcrowding and child labour. Meal Times Comparing the diet of children in the homes with food today. Girls at Work How the girls were prepared for laundry work.
Module 2 Who would you choose? How children came into care and choosing a 'waif'. In school Comparing school and lessons then and now. Boys at Work Examines the range of trades available for the boys.
Module 3   Play and Holidays Discovering the kind of games they played and the holidays they had.  

List of worksheets and resource sheets: Download  Adobe Reader

Rescued from Poverty:

On the Streets: worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (160k)

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

In the Children's Homes:

Meal Times: worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (102k)

In School: worksheet PDF (13k) | source material PDF (268k)

Play and Holidays: worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (227k)

Preparing for Work:

Girls at Work: worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (290k)

Boys at Work: worksheet PDF (12k) | source material PDF (258k)