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Birmingham Street Robins

Above: Professor Carl Chinn, and groups from Al Hijrah School and Penn Fields School at the Street Robins event

Who bids for the little children -

Body and soul and brain?

Who bids for the little children -

Young and without a stain?

In Victorian times, there was an annual tradition of a special event for poor children, known as the ‘Birmingham Street Robins’ March.’ Some 5,000 children from a range of communities, would gather in the Bull Ring, and march through the streets, bearing flags and banners. After the march, they were fed, and given a special treat; and games and races were organised.

In this project, we worked with groups in Penn Fields School, Al Hijrah School, George Dixon Academy and Calthorpe School. Young people researched the history of the Street Robins, with the help of leading historian, Professor Carl Chinn. They created drama pieces which were performed at a special event at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, in January 2017 - see the video.

At George Dixon Academy, young people wrote poems about the Street Robins. Here is an example of one of the poems. It was written by Halima Mahmood.

Here are three children.

Sad faces, sad eyes.

No hope, no belief.

Fighting for their lives.


Broken windows, bare feet.

Trousers torn, ragged hem.

Nothing on their plate to eat.

Please, please, remember them.

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The project was funded with a grant from Awards for All (National Lottery Community Fund). 

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