Putting Children First

From Presbyterian Orphan Society to Presbyterian Children’s Society - The Story of 150 Years.

Logo - Presbyterian Childrens Society

by Dr Paul Gray, Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Children's Society

‘Generations of Generosity’
 The Presbyterian Orphan Society was founded in 1866 to address the needs of Presbyterian orphans.  It was very much the brainchild of Dr William Johnston of Townsend Street, Belfast, and Dr Wilberforce Arnold, a medical doctor and member of Elmwood Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  Poverty and destitution was rife in Belfast at the time so children were particularly vulnerable.  The Society started with 175 children aided in 1866 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.  In response to the need to reflect the changing circumstances of families and children, the Society changed its name in 1997 to the Presbyterian Orphan and Children’s Society and then in 2016 to the  Presbyterian Children’s Society.

Helping Presbyterian Children before the Society's Foundation
1866-1922: From Foundation to the Era of the First World War
1923-1969: From the Great Depression to the Advent of 'The Troubles'
1970-2016: From Welfare Consensus to Austerity
From Presbyterian Orphan Society to Presbyterian Children's Society - Themes and Perspectives

Published by The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, 2016

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Presbyterian Childrens Society 150