Ancestry UK

The Barnardo Rule Book

In 1944, as an adjunct to its recently established training programme, Barnardo's issued a confidential staff handbook, providing detailed guidance on every aspect of life in its homes. The "Barnardo Book" included sections on such matters as the daily routine, health, maintenance of discipline, and sex education.



For private circulation only.


All water-closets and urinals must be kept in good order and repair, and defects promptly repaired. They must be inspected daily by the Superintendent or his deputy to ensure a high standard of sanitation.

Children must receive early training in the proper use of closets, and in habits of regularity. Toilet paper must be provided, and should be placed in receptacles outside the closet where it can conveniently be obtained.

In Homes for toddlers strict attention must be paid to the conditions under which chambering of small children is carried out. This should be done in a room conveniently close to sluicing facilities, so that prompt and thorough cleansing of the vessels may be carried out.

Children must be taught a high standard of personal hygiene, and a pride in clean hands, teeth and nails, developed. Face flannels, towels, tooth brushes and mugs, must not be used in common, and strict attention must be paid to their cleanliness. Combs and hair brushes must also be for individual use only.

Each child should have a daily strip wash, and at least two baths per week. Where long baths are installed every child should be bathed separately and have fresh water, the bath being thoroughly flushed out before being refilled. In no circumstances must a child be bathed in water which has been used for bathing a child suffering from any skin complaint or giving grounds for suspecting that it has some skin infection.

Between the ages of two and three a beginning should be made in training children to wash themselves, and to attend to their own daily needs. Hooks for towels and flannels must be so spaced that each towel and flannel hangs completely clear of its neighbour.

Teeth should be cleaned night and morning with a simple carbolic tooth powder, and regular inspection carried out by those in charge to ensure that this is being properly done.

An inspection of heads should be made weekly. This is especially desirable in the case of children attending an outside school.