Ancestry archive gallery

Search our gallery to see if you're related to one of the first children in care

As Action for Children turns 150 this year, we’ve launched a nationwide search for the descendants of the first children in care. The historic images below, released from our archive, show vulnerable children from Victorian Britain in 1869 through to 1919.

It was a time of widespread poverty - with many of the children sleeping rough, from workhouse families, or disabled. The creation of children’s homes meant that they were fed, cared for, and had somewhere safe to sleep every night. Our search for the families of these children aims to remember their lives, and explore the issues that affect vulnerable children both then and now.

Do you recognise one of the children in the photos below? Email us at Some of our records are incomplete, but we'll share any information we can find in our archives.

Watch what happened when we found the descendants of Sophia Fauguel, Ellen Binks, and Alice, who were admitted to Bonner Road Children’s Home in London in 1872.

The descriptions and images in our gallery are taken directly from our archives - no changes have been made to wording beyond those necessary for clarity.

Britain's come a long way since Victorian times, but even today we're seeing families living in poverty and struggling to feed their children. Support for families is disappearing up and down the country.

Sign our petition asking the government to act now to stop the closure of children's centre services.