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

Case 1214

Case number: 1214
Application year: 1888




Year of birth: 1885
Home: Leamington Home For Girls


A's father was a toy maker in Hackney, East London. He died of bronchitis not long after her birth. Her mother also died of bronchitis, in January 1888, leaving 7 children as orphans. The eldest brother F., aged 19, was also a toy maker, but his business was seasonal and he could not afford to look after the whole family. A. initially went to live at the Society's Leamington Spa Home. Although there were no formal adoption laws at that time, arrangements for a kind of adoption were made. This included a draft legal agreement for adoption drawn up in August 1888. The sort of conflicts that could arise with this quasi-legal situation are illustrated by the rather harrowing correspondence from the parties involved. In July 1888 A. went to live with a couple in Nottingham, but sadly died of scarlet fever in January 1889. She was buried in Nottingham Church Cemetery. [Death rates among children and young people were far higher at this time than they are today, with our improved medical care].

Keywords: Adoption; Custody; Employment; Health; Law; Photographs; Welfare organisations

Items: 1. Application to Waifs and Strays' Society 11 September 1888
2. Photograph of A. aged about 2 years c. 1887
3. Letter to Miss Bartlett concerning Application to Waifs and Strays' Society c. 12 September 1887
4. Letter seeking a child to adopt 19 December 1887
5. Note from Dr Buxton, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 3 February 1888
6. Letter to E.A. Buchanan 3 February 1888
7. Statement signed by adoptive father 7 February 1888
8. A character reference for adoptive father 25 February 1888
9. Letter from Eton Mission, Hackney c. June 1888
10. Letter from A's brother c. July 1888
11. Letter from A's brother c. July 1888
12. Letter from Eton Mission, Hackney 24 July 1888
13. Letter from A's brother c. 2 August 1888
14. Articles of Agreement [for adoption] and letter 9 August 1888
15. Letter from adoptive father 20 August 1888
16. Letter from adoptive father c. 23 August 1888
17. Letter from A's brother 18 August 1888
18. Letter from A's brother 23 August 1888
19. Letter from adoptive father 27 August 1888
20. Letter from adoptive father 19 January 1889
21. Letter from A's brother 2 February 1889
22. Letter from adoptive father 4 February 1889
23. Telegraph to Mr Rudolf
24. Note concerning adoptive father

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