Lancaster author writes about orphanage founder

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A Lancaster author and historian has been uncovering an orphanage’s humbling history for a new book.

Published this month by Lancaster publishers, Gazelle, James Dixon’s Children by Melanie Warren is a new biography of the philanthropist James Dixon, 1855-1936.

During his lifetime, James was a well-known personality and fundraiser and utilised his skills as a marketer, entrepreneur, preacher and businessman to achieve his vision of a children’s home for the vulnerable, poor and needy.

The book is based on a collection of archives found in 2010 in the basement of Blackburn Orphanage – an iconic Victorian building which is now the headquarters of the charity, Child Action Northwest.

Melanie tells the story from James’ humble beginnings as a Sunday School teacher in Scotland to his greatest achievement, an orphanage that became the foundation of the charity which works with children and young people across 
the region.

James Dixon’s Children describes the social conditions and desperate family situations endured by these children before their admission.

It tells how, under the care of Dr Barnardo contemporary James and his wife, Jane, these children grew up to be healthy, successful adults.

This fascinating history uses orphans’ records, extracts from Dixon’s personal diary and letters from the children themselves.