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Work and school

Inside: Life in Children's Homes and Institutions

WARNING: This website contains confronting and disturbing content, and names and images of deceased people. It may not be suitable for children under 15 years. Many of the historical images show an official, sanitised view which did not reflect reality. The faces of some adolescents have been blurred to protect privacy.


Work and school

Four small chidren on their knees scrubbing a floor.

If you were a child in a children's home or institution, what did you do when you were at school, not at school – or sometimes instead of school?

Schooling was there for some, but not others. Sometimes it was there but children were too traumatised to take part.

Many institutions used the free labour of children to maintain the institution and keep the children 'busy', and for commercial gain.

Here are some recollections of that time by those who lived it.

'We were never children ...'