Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

Waifs and Strays

by Julia Green

On working with young people from The Charter School Dulwich in the Children's Society Archives (formerly known as the Waifs and Strays Society)

There are stories buried in these
frail, faded folders:
handle them with care.
Put on the white gloves.
Take out the letters, forms, photos:
blow away the dust.

Gather in circles at tables:
look closely. Listen well.
Let your imagination unlock
secrets; find the ghost voices
whispering between the lines
of neat handwriting on thick paper
made properly, to last.

Find the words. Give your own.
Let the voices spill out
onto the page. Let each child
Hear the loneliness echo down the
long corridor.

Open the door.
Light a fire.
Put food on the table.

Call it home.

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