George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans

In 1987, two full-time school workers from the foundation were appointed to work in the local schools in Bristol. Their job was to set up Christian groups within schools and be available to lead religious assemblies for public schools.

Another ministry was also begun that in one sense was the work that George Müller had started come full circle. Beginning in the late twentieth century, it has often been the elderly who have needed more help than orphans. In 1983, the Müller Foundation once again bought property and set up homes, this time for elderly people! Some of these elderly people live permanently at Tranquil House or Tilsley House, while others just come for short stays. Some of the people in these homes are “Müller children,” who as orphans grew up at Ashley Down and, after living productive lives, now need a helping hand in their old age.

The work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution also still goes on. From the beginning, George Müller used money given to him to support many missionaries, including, at times, whole mission organizations. In 1998, one hundred years after George Müller’s death, over four hundred thousand pounds was channeled through the Scriptural Knowledge Institution to missionaries serving in mission fields all over the world.

And what of the orphanage buildings themselves? They still stand proudly on Ashley Down, though the city of Bristol has long since grown around them. Today they are part of the University of the West of England. There is a plan to list them as historic sites so that they can be preserved for future generations. Once a year, in September, the university graciously opens up the old Number Three Orphan House to the orphans who once lived there so that they can hold a reunion and thanksgiving service.

While George Müller would probably have liked to have seen the buildings preserved, and while the buildings hold many special memories for thousands of orphans, the buildings were never the focus of George’s work. The children were always the focus. George Müller’s heart went out to children in need, and George tried to address those needs as best he could, whether by feeding hungry, homeless children in his own home or by ordering five hundred pairs of shoes at a time for the orphans in his care. The buildings were merely a tool in George Müller’s ongoing effort to meet the needs of orphan children.

Today, not only is George Müller’s work still well known and respected in Bristol, but also over one hundred sixty-five years after George began working with needy children, others still carry on his work in an unbroken chain, praying and striving to meet the needs of children as well as adults.