Welcome to The Ephemera Society Website
News   About Us   Membership   Events   Links
Image of Christmas appeal leaflet for Boy's Home

Waifs and Strays

  • A Christmas Sheaf for our Waifs and Strays
  • Christmas appeal leaflet for Boy's Home
  • Printed by rescued boys at the Southwark Home
  • Circa 1890s
  • 191 x 267mm (7½ x 10½in)

A Christmas appeal leaflet for The Boys' Home in Southwark showing a large illustration of a Norwegian village accompanied by a smaller picture of a sheaf of corn. The copy explains:

It is the custom in Norway to save the last sheaf of the harvest on a pole late on Christmas Eve to feed the small birds on Christmas Morning.

We beg a Christmas Sheaf for the starving, ragged, homeless gutter-sparrows of our Great City. Our Home is in absolutely the poorest District in the whole of London.

By your bright firesides, in your happy family reunions, will you kindly pass round our plea? Every grain of help will be welcome in this great work.

The request for donations is signed by J.W.C. Fegan. The back of the leaflet carries a collecting form to list donations gathered from friends and family and a summary of what the contribution will be used for.

Detail of Christmas contribution leaflet for Boy's Home

James Fegan founded a society in 1870, he was deeply moved by the plight of destitute boys in the capital, many of whom slept rough on the streets. He taught in a "ragged school", which gave elementary school classes for street boys in the evenings.

Through that work, Fegan soon saw the desperate need for permanent shelter and schooling for these children. This was the beginning of the Fegans organisation and the first of many children's homes that have brought shelter, care and hope to children and young people. In total, Fegans' homes provided care for over 7,500 children.

Today, Fegans believes that the best way to support children is within their families and communities and no longer operate children's homes but offer a range of support services to children and families: https://www.fegans.org.uk/


This regular feature shows special items from members’ own collections. Submissions by email should include a scan of the item.