This photographic archive is one of the oldest, extant, dedicated photographic archives in the world. It is currently housed in Barkingside, East London and is under threat and needs saving. The archive dates back to 1874, and contains 500,000 images and 300 films of the visual history of the organisation, including their work overseas in Canada and Australia.
In the next few months, Barnardo's will be having their entire photographic archive digitised in Manchester. Due to space issues at Barnardo's, the company will then destroy the images unless an archive or museum can be persuaded to save these important historic documents.
Dr. Thomas Barnardo began photographing the 'waifs and strays' that came into his care at his first children's home in Stepney causeway as early as 1875, employing two photographers, Barnardo preceded most prisons and asylums by seeing the benefits of photography for institutional record keeping. He soon came into legal trouble for faking the condition of the children for the purposes of publicity.
The importance of these beautiful images - not just to photographic history but to the study of archive practices and British social history - cannot be underestimated.