In 2018 Barnardo’s published 125 year-old photographs of disabled children

When Barnardo died in 1905, there were 7,998 children in the care homes – and some 1,300 were disabled. These previously unseen photographs, going back more than 125 years from the charity’s records, tell some of their stories

Herbert Horace Harris was admitted in March 1892 aged 18. His father died from tuberculosis three months after Herbert was born and his mother remarried a porter who worked at the Millwall Dock Company. Herbert was working on machinery at a paper mill in Millwall when both his hands were drawn into the machinery. He spent three months in hospital where his arms needed to be amputated – one above, the other below the elbow. His mother received £50 from Herbert’s employer which was used to stock her shop. The admission report says that it appears that none of the money was spent on behalf of the boy, apart from buying a barrow for him on which he might sell fruit. Herbert’s aunt claimed his mother and her husband brutally ill-treated him, that the husband had severely beat both Herbert and his mother. And in his admissions report, was described as, ‘civil-mannered’ and ‘in great fear of his mother and her husband’.

Herbert died in August 1896 and is buried in Tower Hamlets cemetery.

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