Dr Barnardo’s Homes: the home collecting box

Exhibited by
Ken Burnett
October 26, 2009
Medium of Communication
Face to face.
Target Audience
Individuals, regular gift.
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family.
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

The home collecting box remains many people’s closest link with charitable giving. Some collecting boxes are themselves collector’s items, and this is certainly one of these. ‘The Collecting Box collection’ will be a special section featured on SOFII in the near future. Meanwhile click the tag at bottom left.

Summary / objectives

A good home for unwanted loose change.

Special characteristics

Beautiful, idealised construction of a miniature children’s home that looks as if it’s just been lifted from a dream English village.

Influence / impact

It was my first ever contact with fundraising and I’ve always loved it. I presume others must feel the same. See a short explanatory video, Fundraising = fudgehere.

Test details

Not available, unfortunately. I know it worked though because every six months I’d help my mother, who in the 1950s was Barnardo’s secretary for the Nairn area in the North of Scotland (a volunteer post). She advertised in the local newspaper about three weeks in advance of ‘Barnardo Saturday’ and kids, mums and others would come from all around on the appointed day, their boxes clutched eagerly in their hands. As an incentive to top previous years’ totals my mother offered homemade fudge (a rather fattening sticky sweet) to all children (and some grown-ups) who brought in their boxes. In return for one piece they would empty their box on our dining room table and it was my job to count the contents and tell the bearer how well he or she had done. As I heaped the coins higher I’d frequently filch a stray piece of fudge for myself – this was only fair: they'd brought the box in, I’d counted its contents. Sound reasoning, I thought. It was great fun, particularly to see how the piles of coins would grow through the day. I’d never seen so much money in my life and all of it was going to help children in need.


N/A but must have been good. My mother got an award, a certificate as I recall, for being Barnardo’s best fundraiser in the North of Scotland – a tribute to her fudge, I reckon.


Because it is beautiful and very effective. And it was my introduction to fundraising.

View original image
This distinctive home collecting box was proudly displayed in hallways and upon mantelpieces in houses across Britain. Below: a slightly different, rather more elaborate design from around the same period, submitted by SOFII user Wendy Arnold. These hand-painted boxes are so exquisite that it’s highly likely they will have some value, for collectors.