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Born 19 January 1882, an illegitimate child in East Ham, Essex, (now Greater London), Madge Gill spent much of her early years in seclusion because her family could not tolerate the embarrassment. At age nine, despite her mother still being alive, she was placed in a Barnardo’s Girls’ Village Home orphanage at Barkingside, Ilford, Essex. She was sent by Barnardo's to Canada in 1896 and then worked as a domestic servant, nursemaid and nurse before she married. Following her death in 1961, thousands of Madge's drawings were found in her home and later exhibited internationally.
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