Father Nugent's importance to the generations of Liverpool people who followed him is immense. He saw the deprivation suffered by the people of the city and did something to help by highlighting the issues facing them and encouraging those with power, money and influence to help.
Father James Nugent was born in Hunter Street, Liverpool on 3 March 1822. He was the eldest of nine children born to John and Mary Nugent. At that time educational facilities for Catholics were few, so he was educated at a private school under the patronage of Reverend James Picton of Christ Church, Liverpool. He was engaged in the relief of poverty and squalor. He opened the 'Ragged School' for homeless children, and later The Boys’ Refuge and the Catholic Institute as well as a refuge for women and a home for mothers and their babies in Dingle. He also pioneered child emigration to Canada. His allies included William Rathbone and Canon Major Lester. In 1854 they held a meeting in the city with "Save the Child" as it’s slogan. Father Nugent found homes for many of his orphans in the United States and Canada, many of whom later prospered. His statue is in St. Johns Gardens in the centre of Liverpool.
Some of Nugent Care's children leaving Liverpool for a new life in the new world in the 1920s. Father Nugent took the first group of 24 children to Canada on 18 August 1870 on the SS Austrian.
On 16 May 1905, whilst returning home from a trip aboard the RMS Oceanic, Nugent had a bad fall on the deck, sustaining a head injury and impairment of sight. Monsignor Nugent died on 27 June 1905 at age 83 at the Harewood House, Formby after contracting pneumonia. His statue now stands in St Johns Gardens to the rear of St Georges Hall.