Barnardo's Publications

The History

Dr. Barnardo purchased "Father William's Stories" 1874-1887, which continued as "Children's Treasury 1868-1881, which continued as "Our Darlings" 1881, which continued as "Bubbles" 

Dr. Barnardo supported his burgeoning philanthropic practice by editing and publishing children’s periodicals continuously between 1874 and his death in 1905. In 1874 he purchased Father Williams Stories, which he re-named The Children’s Treasury and Advocate of the Homeless and Destitute, the title clearly specifying its philanthropic connection. He dropped the titular reference to charity work in 1881, when he replaced The Treasury with the more lavish, Our Darlings: The Children’s Treasury of Picture and Stories. A third periodical superseded Our Darlings in 1894, Bubbles: A Volume of True Tales and Coloured Pictures, a name which also foregrounded visual and print narrative rather than child advocacy. In the 1890s, he also launched another periodical to reflect the work of his newly-formed children’s brigade, The Young Helpers’ League Magazine: A Quarterly Organ of the Young Helpers’ League All the World Over.

Children's Treasury and Advocate of the Homeless and Destitute

Dr. Thomas John Barnardo, a medical doctor whose mission was to help those in poverty, began the children’s periodical The Children’s Treasury in 1866. The periodical featured illustrations, short stories, and religious allegories written for children. The texts are of course simplified for the periodical's young audience, but each has some sort of allegory. Many of the short stories are written specifically for poor children, letting them know that they will someday be saved.

The issues of The Children’s Treasury were very short, only about 10-15 pages. Each story or poem contained very religious aspects, such as some sort of lesson about Christ, salvation, or honesty and charity. Early in his life, Barnardo converted to Evangelicalism and became very aware of the need for everyone to have religion and spirituality. Every page of his magazine has a scripture from the Bible written on the bottom, and it usually relates to the story on the page. Many of the short stories Barnardo wrote himself, each containing a very Christian lesson. Some of the other writers had pseudonyms such as “Uncle Tom” or “Mrs. Sewell.”

The advertisements featured in the periodical were directed toward families, mainly selling Bibles or other religious books. Many of the ads offered these books at a discounted price to appeal to Barnardo’s impoverished readership. He also kept the price for the periodical relatively low. Each issue cost a half penny, unless a child wanted a “drawing room” issue, which was printed on nicer paper. These issues instead cost a whole penny. The Children’s Treasury began to receive a high circulation rate once it caught on amongst children in Victorian England. From: 

Victorian Short Fiction Project/Children's Treasury

Our Darlings 1881

Bubbles 1894-1905

Winter in Canada

Our Darlings January 1891 edition edited by Dr. Thomas Barnardo

Coloured Plates

Plates are whole page illustrations printed separately from the text (illustrations printed within the text are called cuts) and naturally colour plates feature colour illustrations.

To some book collectors, the golden age of colour plates had to be the Victorian era where countless books were produced on flora and fauna complete with numerous colour illustrations of everything from moths and butterflies to grasses and alpine plants. However, many subjects are addressed in colour plate books, including satirical cartoons, sporting scenes, landscapes, costumes, fairy tales and architecture.

Colour plates were produced in eras before improved printing processes enabled true mass production. The production of a book in, for instance, 1820 containing 100 colour plates would a major achievement and come at considerable expense to the publisher.

Mounted and tipped-in colour plates are plates that have been attached to the page. It is also possible to encounter loose colour plates where they are ‘laid-in’ or unattached.

Hand coloured plates are particularly collectable because a black and white outline has been printed onto the page and then artists have manually added colours to the printed page. It was simply too expensive to produce books with hand coloured plates in large numbers.


Description taken from Abe Book

Many of these images have been scanned from the BHCARA Vintage Collections

Mono Tints

Other Articles

Night and Day Magazine

Night and Day, the name Barnardo gave to his house magazine, also summarised his working methods. By night, lantern in hand, he would catch his children, retrieving them from the gutters, roofs and doorsteps where they slept. By day, on their formal admission, his photographer Thomas Barnes would catch them all over again, posing them in his studio, or, more usually, in the yard outside Stepney Boys' Home. Barnardo also used sketches in his magazine, including one called "Born of a Dream" - an allegory of the origins of his mission, himself asleep in an armchair, a drowning child above his head.

Mabel Owen

Barnardo Boy's Magazine

Taken Out Of The Gutter

The boy in this drawing was Samuel Reed. According to the publication "Imagined Orphans" Samuel, during an 1877 arbitration, testified that when he first arrived at Barnardo's in 1871, he was taken to the studio where Dr. Barnardo "took out his pen-knife and tore my clothes to pieces" before positioning him for the photographs.  The photographer Thomas Barnes supported Samuel's testimony. Describing the photograph Barnes had claimed "His dress had been tampered with". Forty to fifty thousand copies of this photograph and a second one with Samuel tucked into a cot, covered with a blanket and smiling were printed out for sale and the above sketched copy was drawn for use on Barnardo's publications.