Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Hundreds of children buried in unmarked graves to be honoured with memorial

Hundreds of children buried in unmarked graves are set to be honoured with a special memorial.

Violet Beckett, one of the hundreds of children buried in unmarked graves Credit: PA

A sculpture depicting a pair of hands releasing a symbolic cockney sparrow will be unveiled at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in east London.

The two-metre memorial - carved by Tom Nicholls - is a tribute to 513 so-called "Barnardo's children" who were in the charity's care.

They were buried at the Victorian cemetery between 1876 and 1924, but despite having proper funerals they did not receive headstones.

Irish philanthropist Thomas Barnardo, who founded the charity, survived on a shoestring to care for destitute children and there was no money for memorials.

Among those set to be honoured by the carving is Violet Beckett, who died in 1909. She spent just a few months in Barnardo's care after being orphaned aged six.

As someone who grew up in Barnardo's care, I regard them as my brothers and sisters and wanted to ensure their lives are recognised.

– Jean Clark, former Barnardo's resident