Rev. Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson

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Thomas Bowman Stephenson

Birthplace: Red Barns, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland, England
Death: Died
Place of Burial: London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Stephenson and Mary Stephenson
Husband of Ellen Stephenson and Sister Ella MacPherson
Father of Theodora Stephenson
Brother of Mary A Stephenson; Elizabeth Stephenson; Camilla Stephenson and Jane Stephenson

Occupation: Methodist Minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson

Rev Thomas Bowman Stephenson

Major Reference

The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson

  • Birth: Dec. 22, 1839
  • Death: Jul. 16, 1912

Charity Founder who began his career as a Methodist preacher in Bolton and Manchester, England, before moving to London. In 1869 he founded The National Children's Hospital and Orphanage in a former stable building. By the time he retired in 1900, the charity had opened six further homes across England and was organising the emigration of orphans to Canada.

He later founded the Wesleyan Deaconesses in 1890 and was a member of the London School Board.

In 1868 Thomas Bowman Stephenson arrived in London to take up his new post at a chapel in Lambeth. Moved by the plight of children living on the streets, he came up with the idea of a home for young boys, where they would be safe from poverty and crime.

He and two Methodist friends, Alfred Mager and Francis Horner, renovated a disused stable in Church Street, Waterloo. The first two boys, George and Fred, were admitted to The Children's Home on 9 July 1869.

The Children's Home reflected Stephenson's commitment to family-style childcare, involving discipline and loving. At that time most orphaned or neglected children were sent to big institutions such as the workhouse or even prison.

Within three years, girls were admitted to The Children's Home as well as boys, and the Home had moved to larger premises near Stephenson's new ministry in Bethnal Green, with a second home established at Edgworth Farm on the Lancashire moors in 1872.

In 1878, a group of young women originally taken in as orphans began a training course in childcare, and by 1892, 140 graduates, known as 'the Sisterhood' or 'the Sisters of the children', were working full time for The Children's Home.

By 1908, the charity had grown to become the National Children's Home and Orphanage (later the National Children's Home, and then simply NCH), becoming an adoption agency in 1926 and expanding to work outside the UK in 1969.

In January 2009, a plaque to his memory was erected on the site of the former home in Edgeworth, which he founded in 1872.

The Rev Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson, Founder and Principal 1869 to 1900

  • Church Street, Lambeth 1869-1871
  • Bonner Road, Bethnal Green 1871-1913
  • Edgworth, Lancs 1872
  • Hamilton, Ontario 1873-1935
  • Milton, Nr Gravesend, Industrial School 1875-1898
  • Ramsey 1880
  • Princess Alice Orphanage, Nr Birmingham 1882
  • Alverstoke 1887
  • Mewburn House 1890
  • Farnborough, Hants 1898


England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

Stephenson, the Reverend Thomas Bowman of Clare Bank Dollis Park, Finchley, Middlesex died 16 July 1912. Probate London 28 October to Sarah Elizabeth Stephenson, widow, Edgar Augustus Childe, Bank Manager and William Arthur Lupton, solicitor. Effects £4508 19s 3d

William Arthur Lupton, the Solicitor mentioned in the above Probate entry for Rev. Thomas Bowman Stephenson in 1912, was the nephew of Rev. Stephenson's first wife Ellen Lupton. [1908 - Mr William Arthur Lupton, of Red Gables, Ilkley, and of the firm Lupton and Fawcett solicitors, Leeds, was married at Sutherland Avenue Wesleyan Church, London, on Thursday, to Laura Mabel, youngest daughter of the late Mr John Denby, of Wycliffe House, Shipley. The marriage was a quiet affair and there were no bridesmaids. The honeymoon is being spent in the South of France.]


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Rev. Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson's Timeline

December 22, 1839
Northumberland, England
June 7, 1840
Brunswick Chapel,
Age 24
Age 28
Lancashire, England
February 23, 1893
Age 53
July 16, 1912
Age 72
July 20, 1912
Age 72
London, England