History

History

The story of Andrew Reed


Rev Dr Andrew Reed was one of the great Victorian philanthropists. There are many charities and institutions still thriving today that he founded and Reedham Children’s Trust is one. Rev Reed had a particular interest in helping children as a consequence of his own very happy childhood albeit that he was from a relatively humble background. He wanted other children to enjoy the same happiness.

He became a congregational minister in the East End and a hymn writer. He visited America and was, like many of the Victorian philanthropists, very forward thinking. He was known as a kindly, caring man who believed in equality for all. In 1844 he opened the Asylum for Fatherless Children in temporary accommodation in Richmond. Construction of The Reedham Orphanage was finished in 1858 and all the children from the Asylum for Fatherless Children moved there. To enable transportation to the orphanage [then out in the countryside – to benefit the children] a railway station was also built and the area became known as Reedham.

We believe that we must be one of the few charities in the UK that has given its name to a whole location. Proving again his modern approach he insisted that his orphanage, unlike other similar institutions, was non denominational so all children had the opportunity to go there.

His wife Elizabeth worked tirelessly with him to raise funds for all his endeavours and together they were very successful. His legacy was carried on by his own children who followed him into the same philanthropic way of life. Reedham Children’s Trust today still has Andrew Reed’s descendants involved.

In 1950 the orphanage became a school and continued until its closure in January 1980.The building was demolished and the land sold to fund what is now the Reedham Children’s Trust. The Trust is actually housed in the original entrance lodge to the Orphanage.

We aim to be as inclusive and innovative as our founder and, like him, we believe that stability, care and education are vitally important in enabling children to forge successful futures.