16 December 2021

‘She is capable but sullen and troublesome’: Analysis of the Muller Orphan Homes’ Dismissal Books, 1850 – 1900

George Muller’s New Orphan Homes were world-renowned in the 1800s: ‘a wonder even in this age of wonders’.

It is popularly assumed that Muller found all orphans suitable jobs on leaving the institution. However, investigations into archival sources reveal that as the orphans reached working age, the ‘Orphs’ were categorised by the institution as either ‘recommended’ or ‘unrecommended’ for work.

This paper looks at what types of work Muller girls and boys went on to do. It looks at what life was like as a seamstress, housemaid or apprentice in the late 1800s. It will also explore the reasons as to why some were deemed unsuitable for work, and what happened to them after Muller’s.

This talk offers fresh insight into Victorian philanthropic and evangelical attitudes. Muller himself was part of an elite, networked group of powerful and influential preachers, reformers and educationalists.

Muller’s institution was part of Bristol’s everyday life, culture and economy. It should be noted, Muller was adamant that after his death, he did not want to be glorified with a statue.

Speaker: Kate Brooks is an Associate Lecturer in Education History at Bath Spa University, currently researching Muller’s Orphan Homes for a PhD. She is also a Bristol foster carer, and great-grand-daughter of Muller orphan No. 458.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 2pm on Thursday 16 December.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk in partnership with M Shed seminar series.