Barnardo Furriers, 108, Grafton Street, Dublin. This shop is special for several reasons: first, because it has for many years been the premises of the long-established family business — as declared on the frontage; secondly, because the frontage itself is historic (see Casey 523); and finally, because this was the family to which Dr Thomas Barnardo belonged.

Left: interior of shop, downstairs. Right: first floor showroom.

Recognised as the oldest family-run furriers in Europe, Barnardo is now into its fifth generation. The family is descended from a European immigrant of German nationality (until he was naturalised in 1860) and Spanish-Jewish origin, John Michaelis Barnardo, and his Irish wives, Elizabeth (who died in childbirth) and Elizabeth's sister Abigail, whom he married after being widowed. Thomas Barnardo was one of John and Abigail's children.

According to the Irish Times report, Barnardo now exports its fur, lambskin, leather and suede fashions all over the world, has its own workrooms and storage facilities, and, as a member of the World Wildlife Federation, uses materials only from approved sources.

Dr Barnardo chose a very different kind of life. It is interesting to know that his family name still resonates in the world of high fashion, as well as in the charity work that he initiated.

Photographs, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee, with thanks to the kind people in Barnardo who welcomed me in, and showed me round. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


Casey, Christine. Dublin: The City between the Grand and Royal Canals. Mew Haven and London: Yale university Press, 2005.

"Family Wraps up the Fur Coat Business." Irish Times (15 October 2003). Web. 27 August 2018.

Levy, Martin. Dr Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children. Stroud, Glos.: Amberley, 2013 (Ebook).

Wagner, Gillian. "Barnardo, Thomas John (1845–1905), philanthropist and founder of Dr Barnardo's Homes." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 27 August 2018.

Created 27 August 2018