Ancestry UK

Leopold House, Burdett Road, Limehouse, London

Barnardo's Leopold House home for boys was opened in January 1883 at 199 Burdett Road, Limehouse, London E3. The property had previously been occupied by St Paul's Industrial School for Boys.

The new home was formally opened by Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, and was named in his honour. The property was extended in 1887 and could then accommodate up to 450 boys aged 10 to 13 years.

Leopold House, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Leopold House Gymnasium, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1884, the Burdett Dormitory was opened at 317 Burdett Road, providing additional beds for boys from Leopold House and Barnardo's Stepney Home.

Leopold House closed in 1912 with some of the boys moving to the new Boys' Garden City site at Woodford Bridge and others being transferred to the Dame Margaret's home in County Durham.

The property was the acquired by the Salvation Army as accommodation for the homeless but following the refusal of the local council to approve such use, the premises became a shoe and clothing factory. The building was destroyed by wartime bombing in 1941.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)