Tag Archives: british home children

The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

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The British Home Children — The Trip to Canada

Between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home. The children were placed with families in rural Canada.

Douglas G Barbour of Brockville who was sent out in 1927 on the very day he turned 16 recalled being very sick on the voyage. The journey which took seven days “wasn’t a bad crossing” he said, “but the first day out was rough. All the children were put down below to get out of the way of the waves which were just swishing over the deck.

Another lad and myself just had to see the waves so we walked out on deck. A big wave came along and swept over us and we were washed overboard. I grabbed the rail so hard I think the marks are still there on my hands and I saved myself.

His companion was washed overboard but was rescued. On the same ship was his friend John Thomson now of Gananoque who had been in a home for five years. His father was killed in an accident at the creamery where he worked and he and his four younger brothers had all been sent to live at Quarrier’s Home. He also was 16 years old.


British Home Children in Canada
Ships the BHC Came On – BRITISH HOME CHILDREN IN CANADA

Both boys along with the 40 or 50 others in their group were sent to receiving homes in Brockville. From there Thomson was sent to the market garden farm of Howard Keyes in Cataraqui which then was well outside the city of Kingston.

“It was all right” he said “but it was all work. If you want to eat you’ve got to work they say.”

He worked on the farm from 1927 to 1931 when he married and rented the farm next to Keyes and set up market gardening with his wife. “It turned out OK” he said with a smile, But a lot weren’t as lucky as I was to get a good home.” 

Diana Thompson of Huntsville had a sizable display of family photos and documents detailing the experiences of her grandmother Margaret Watt who was with her twin sister Sarah and was sent over in 1890 when they were 14.

Their mother had died when they were three and their father, a joiner, remarried. When he was killed in an accident on a ship his wife gave the girls to their uncle to care for. However one day when he was at work his wife and her sister took the girls to the Quarrier’s Home and left them there.

Quarrier Homes at Bridge of Weir. Read more here click

Their crossing took 21 days and after landing at Quebec the twins were separated and sent to farms in the Brockville area “My grandmother wouldn’t talk about her life story” Thompson said, “She had left two older sisters and a brother behind.” 

Beth Bruder, chair of the Canadian organizing committee, also touched on the theme of separation and loss – loss these children suffered going into the home loss when they came to Canada and especially loss of innocence. Many she said were shocked to find that they were viewed only as workers, not as equals in their new country.

Bruder recalled her own mother telling her of overhearing someone ask who she was on her first Sunday in church. “Oh she’s just a Home girl” came the reply- a reply whose sting was never forgotten “Today however” Bruder said “I want to focus on the success that many of these children had in a country that gave them a chance to grow and prosper.”

with files from

The Kingston Whig-Standard

Kingston, Ontario

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children

Robert Laidlaw Home Boy — British Home Children–Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children

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Ernest Kennings — Home Boy — British Home Children
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 Sep 1898, Wed  •  Page 3

“When I could not go to school my stipend from the Home was stopped. Mr. Bradley was supposed to pay $125 over three years into a fund controlled by the Home. I am supposed to receive this money after I reached the age of 21. One thing that bothers me is Mr. Bradley had a son and a daughter–why did they want me?

I worked all day for the man while his children went to school, and I was younger than them. The only time I got to go to school was when the weather was too cold to work outside! I fell out of favour with the life I had and left.”

Name:Ernest Kennings
Arrival Age:11
Birth Year:abt 1885
Departure Port:Liverpool, England; Londonderry, Ireland
Arrival Date:8 Aug 1896
Arrival Port:Quebec, Quebec, Canada; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Vessel:Scotsman
Search Ship Database:Search for the Scotsman in the ‘Passenger Ships and Images’ database

The trail ended there…:(

Robert Laidlaw Home Boy — British Home Children–Buchanan Scrapbook Clippings

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

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Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys
Dr Bernado’s Baby Castle — Real Photo taken by family of the Nigel Klemencic-Puglisevich Photo Collection ( side stairs are no longer there and stone pillars are now covered in trees looking at earler photo below)

Photograph from Edward Jones, a Barnardo child who was sent to live here when his mother died. He was three months old.


Officially opened on August 9th 1886, this Barnardo’s home was opened for the reception of Babies

After arriving by steerage, the children (300-400 per boat) were sent to distributing and receiving homes, such as Fairknowe in BrockvilleMacPherson sisters in Belleville, Dr. Bernado in Peterborough and Toronto and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, some did experience a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars. read-Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

A Baby Castle? I had written a few stories about Dr. Barnardos but never ever heard of a baby castle, but there was one.

Dr Barnardo’s Homes, Babies Castle, Hawkhurst, Kent

This record is closed


Opening date: 01 January 2041

More information about the Freedom of Information review process

Reference:HO 366/251
Description:Dr Barnardo’s Homes, Babies Castle, Hawkhurst, Kent
Date:1960-1965
Held by:The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department:VH/S/527 (CHR 5733)
Legal status:Public Record(s)
Closure status:Closed Or Retained Document, Open Description
Access conditions:Closed For 75 years
Closure criterion:Contains sensitive personal information where release would distress or endanger an individual who was a minor at date of file
Lord Chancellor’s Instrument:LCI 89 – Series containing both closure and accelerated opening instruments
LCI signed date:1990 October 04
Record opening date:01 January 2041

Morning Post – Tuesday 10 August 1886

THE “BABIES CASTLE” AT HAWKHURST.

Yesterday her Royal Highness the Princess Mary Adelaide visited Hawkhurst, Kent, for the purpose of opening a new institution in connection with the philanthropic work carried on by Dr. Barnardo. The visit was made the occasion of a remarkable display of loyalty by the residents of the surrounding districts. The building opened is termed “Babies Castle,” and the plan for the establishment of the new institution was conceived three years ago, when Mr. Theodore Moilliet bequeathed two villa houses at Hillside, Hawkhurst, to Dr. Barnardo.

Provision was at that time made in these houses for infant children who could be better dealt with there than in the East-end of London, but it was soon found that the old building was too small, and the necessity for a separate building for treating the infectious disorders incident to childhood also became apparent. As a valuable site was included in the original gift, it was eventually resolved to erect a house to accommodate 100 infants and their nurses, and the results of the carrying out of this resolve were inaugurated yesterday by her Royal Highness.

The bulk of the visitors left town by a special train, and the Princess followed in a second special, which arrived at Etchingham Station shortly before four o’clock. Her Royal Highness was received upon the platform by a guard of honour, composed of detachments of the local volunteers. The Princess, who was accompanied bjy Princess Victoria and Princes George and Adolphus of Teck, then entered an open carriage drawn by four grey horses, and with outriders proceeded to Hawkhurst. The scene upon the road was one of remarkable enthusiasm, the villages being gaily decorated, and many triumphal arches marking the line of route.

Upon arriving at the institution the Princess was received by Mr. S. G. Sheppard, chairman of the committee of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, Viscount and Lady Cranbrook, Dr. Barnardo, and several members of the committee, and was greeted by a royal salute from the West Kent Yeomanry and Hawkhurst Rifle Volunteers. An address of welcome was then presented by the committee to her Royal Highness, who graciously accepted the same; and after a dedicatory prayer had been recited by Archdeacon Harrison, Dr. Barnardo briefly explained to the large company assembled the history and intentions of the institution reminding his hearers that the site had been given by a friend who had been a kind and liberal supporter of the whole work in which he was engaged. The “Babies Castle” was the 30th and last institution established in connection with the homes, and from its operations the best results were anticipated.

Purses containing in the aggregate a sum of upwards of £250 were then presented to the Princess Mary Adelaide, who afterwards formally declared the institution open, and intimated that she desired to become its president. Luncheon was subsequently served, and at the conclusion of the proceedings her Royal Highness and children left for Lord and Lady Cranbrook’s residence near Staplehurst.

The Babies Castle was officially opened on 9th August 1886 this institution was for the reception of babies. In 1908 Babies Castle became a mixed home for children under eight years of age. It was particularly used for babies and young children who, owing to their physical condition, were not suited for boarding out.

On the 21st September 1927 the new extension that had been built was officially opened another outstanding event of that year was the installation of a wireless set which was used for the first time on Christmas Day when the older children listened to the Children’s Service.

In 1964 The Babies Castle was listed as a Nursery with 48 places which was a vast reduction from the early days.

To let you know a little more information we will use the notes of Thomas John Barnardo written about 1887

“Up till the year 1884 the “baby question” met me at every turn in the course of my work, and no answer to its insistent beseeching was possible. I might rescue a family of little girls from circumstances of direct dis*tress, and the Ilford Homes (Barkingside Village) gladly welcomed them; but how about the baby brother?”

So wrote Thomas John Barnardo in about 1887 and the notes give something of the problems he was experiencing in housing destitute children of both sexes. Since The Girls Village Home, Barkingside. (the Ilford Homes, as he describes them), was founded for destitute girls of all ages; the problem of where to house the babies of the male gender, seems to have been really acute, but then he goes on to describe how the problem was eventually solved.

“I need hardly say that I had already placed a baby in every one of the cottages at Ilford, the “mother” of which felt equal to such a responsibility; but this opening was soon ex*hausted, and then what was to be done? I have learned that God never sets His people a problem with*out keeping the answer in waiting, and just when my path seemed hedged with thorns, a way was unex*pectedly opened through the kindness of a friend of long standing, one who has since then, gone to his rest the late Mr. Theodore Moilliet. This gentleman, who owned property at Hawkhurst, offered me the villa of Hillside, consist*ing of two small houses, with the accompanying land, as a free gift to be used for the benefit of the Homes. At that very time my fundamen*tal principle of never refusing ad*mission to desti*tute cases was in imminent danger of break*ing down with regards to the babies. As I have said, most of the Ilford cottages were furnished with a baby, and it seemed impossible to provide for the rescue of several urgently needed cases just then under my observation. How joyfully and thankfully I accepted this timely offer at Hawkhurst can easily there*fore be imagined.”

“The gradual extension of my work brought an even larger number of cases within my purview. When, as during the pe*riod under notice some 7,000 children come under my notice for in*vestigation in a single year, it would, indeed, be strange if not more than thirty babies at anyone time required in*stitutional care. Hence the old trouble began to re-assert itself not very long after the opening of the origi*nal Babies Castle. It was dif*ficult to accommodate sixty babies where there was room for only thirty, as it was to accommodate thirty where there was room for none; and soon an urgent call arose once more for enlarged space at Hawkhurst. Babies – above all, neglected babies – cannot be dealt with rightly … through the mere “by efforts” of Insti*tutions not specially devoted to their rescue. Hence it was definitely decided, after much inconvenience had been ex*perienced, to erect, on the land given, as already de*scribed, a new Babies Castle which should gather in all the waifs whom I find deserted and maimed on the very threshold of life
.

Have you read???

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

Daily News
London, Greater London, England
10 Sep 1897, Fri  •  Page 2
The Winnipeg Tribune
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
11 Nov 1937, Thu  •  Page 20
The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore, Maryland
19 Oct 1937, Tue  •  Page 1

What does the Baby Castle look like now?

This is what it looks like now. CLICK here

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

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Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls
A letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen March 16 1928. B. Roberts Barnardo boy writes from Lanark, Ontario.

We have four Barnardo branch homes In Canada where children are received upon arrival, and from whence they are placed on farms and in home, and where in case of need they can and shelter and can appeal for advice or assistance. Each of them arrived here with their small belongings contained in a wooden box, which had been crafted by Barnardo’s boys who had been trained in carpentry. By great coincidence, a local family who had read about the forthcoming talk, had one of these boxes, and it was loaned to the Society for the evening. Still inside it was a list of the contents from clothing to toilet goods to Bible and Hymn Book. It was a poignant reminder of the many children who came to start a new life here.

There is a great demand for them, for, as you know, farm labour is just as scarce in Canada as it is in the United States, and there are ten applications for every boy we have.

1922

The same is true for our girls who are trained for domestic servants. They get an excellent training and when they are old enough to be sent to Canada they are put in the best homes with generous. Christian people, who are familiar with our work. We could find homes tor ten times as many as we are now lending, but In making up our emigration parties we are always careful to select young men and young women who are suited to Canadian farms and domestic situations.

If you want the exact figures of those gone to the bad. and only a small percent have turned out to be worthless because of insolent and restless nature, bad tempers, insubordination, and vicious tempers Some of them have run away from their homes and we have found them. Others have been sent back to us as incorrigible, but we have never lost sight of any of our emigrants.  Ottawa Citizen 1903

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jul 1910, Fri  •  Page 2
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
25 May 1906, Fri  •  Page 3

Between 1868 and 1930, about 30,000 young children were shipped to Canada to start a new life. They were known as Barnardo Children, named after Irish physician Thomas Barnardo, who gave up medicine to rescue homeless waifs off the streets of England with a missionary’s zeal. The children received board and training until foster homes or jobs could be found. But as employment dried up in Britain, Barnardo and his contemporaries believed it was in the children’s best interests to tear them from their families and foster families and ship them to vast colonial lands of opportunity : Canada and Australia. Girls were usually taken in by families to work as domestic help, and boys were sent to farms to labour in the fields. They did what they were told in return for room and board and meagre wages.

Barnardo was interested in getting desperate children off the streets of London and, eventually, other British cities. His original plan was to prepare these waifs as domestics and workers but, when the numbers became overwhelming, he got into the “export” business by sending them to the colonies – Canada was probably the largest recipient and the British government paid the fare.

Their motives were benevolent they wanted to see the kids were taken care of. Then it quickly went wrong. The Canadian government paid the groups $2 for each child, and a cash bonus of $5,000 for every 1,000 children they sent. The organizations sold the children as slave labour, the Canadian government bought them. The scheme was about money.

The children were not prepared for the harsh climate of Canada. Nor were they ready for the discrimination they encountered. The British organizations regarded the Home Children as fine British stock that would improve the Canadian gene pool, but the Canadians welcomed them only as cheap labour. They accepted the prevailing attitude that the children had “tainted blood,” and were criminals, imbeciles, thieves and carriers of syphilis. Under the Canadian Master and Servant Act, the children were bound to work for their sponsors until they were 18, and were subject to fines and imprisonment if they ran away. There were signs on local Canadian businesses that said, “No English need to apply for work here!”

 It is an era of Britain’s shame – and Canada’s, too. Americans had slavery, and Canada had something close to it

The Times
London, Greater London, England
24 May 1910, Tue  •  Page 45

John Stacey Lanark County

This Bernardo medal belonged to Robert Stacey’s father who was a Bernardo Home Boy. These medals were given out to those who were ‘ good boys”
This is Robert Stacey‘s father John. He came over to Canada with the other home boys via Barnardos.
Roy was my brother, and Lillian was my sister. Bob Stacey-The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Dec 1918, Sat • Page 19

Once in Canada, the Barnardo children were first sent to distribution centres, until a suitable placement could be found for them. These placements were generally labour-based: a Barnardo child might expect to work on a family farm as an agricultural labourer, or as some other form of domestic servant. Although there are some examples of Barnardo children being adopted by the families who took them in, these instances appear to be quite rare. A lot of the children were made to sleep in barns –not fed very well and a lot of them were physically abused, whippings and beatings, some girls sexually abused. Charles Bradbury, a young teenager who, in 1897, worked on a farm in Goderich, Ont., and got into a scrap with the farmer’s son. That evening, Bradbury’s body was found in a burned-down barn. His throat had been slashed.

British Home Children in Canada– Click here

Thomas Bonner

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Apr 1907, Sat  •  Page 8

John Gillies, Arthur Edmond and Arthur Sicard

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Aug 1897, Sat  •  Page 5

Prentiss:(

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Jun 1896, Thu  •  Page 7

Joyce

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
08 Jun 1908, Mon  •  Page 6

Frederick Townsend

Related reading

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

HOME CHILDREN

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

Sad Memories of the Waifs and Strays Society

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Sad Memories of the Waifs and Strays Society

 

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In the Almonte, Ontario Gazette July 2, 1897 a news items caught my eye on the front page. 

Almonte, Ontario Gazette July 2, 1897

A party of young people from Mrs. Birt’s Sheltering Home, Liverpool, England, is expected to arrive in Knowlton, Que., about July 20th. The majority of  children are under 10 years of age; a few boys and girls from 12 to 16.

Photos of younger ones, can be sent to parties needing children: or adoption. Applications accompanied by railway fares and minister’s recommendations will be supplied first. If possible, notice will be sent when to meet the children. Address, Mrs. Louisa Birt, Knowlton, P. Q.

 

If you have no idea about one of Canada’s dirtiest little secrets, the British Home Children were placed in a foster home upon their arrival from the UK, usually a farm, where some were treated no better than slaves until they reached adulthood. From 1869 to 1948 more than 100,000 children were immigrated from Great Britain to work on farms in the rapidly growing rural communities across Canada.

Most of these children were generally forbidden to leave their new foster homes and were not paid for their labours. The program was created with good intentions and the promise of a better life, but its results were often tragic. A lot of children were abused and neglected, and some never spoke of what they had endured to their future children and grandchildren.

After I read the newspaper clipping I felt overwhelmed and I composed some fictional words that maybe would be have been written by a young boy living on a farm in Lanark County after someone had replied to the the Knowlton home ad.

 

 

The Story of George

Farm life in Ontario was dreariness in itself years ago when they began to train us little orphans to lead lives of usefulness. Other children weren’t as fortunate as myself from what my mate told me and some were beaten and treated like dogs. In 1897, my brother and I were placed at separate (but neighbouring) Lanark County farms after someone read an advert in the newspaper. In Knowlton they had placed a comment beside our names stating that my brother and I should be placed near each other. In actuality, however, we were not allowed the privilege of visiting–presumably, so we would learn to accept our new circumstances.

At that time neither of us saw anything outside of our own little neighbourhood from one year’s end to the other. Each morning’s sun showed us both the same stretch of woodland and meadow, and its dying rays in setting lit up the same hills and valleys. There was no change to the monotony, nothing to give fresh zest to life, or a new stimulus to ambition and ideas for the children that no one wanted.

My range of vision has been widened since I left my servitude. Improved roads, better facilities for travel by railway, the bicycle and an increase in wealth now enable me to see a great many miles from the side line on which I now live. Minds are made more active by a change of scene; fresh ideas are developed by experience of what others are doing: ambition is strengthened by the increase of knowledge. After completing my farm apprenticeship even the old home itself reveals new beauties to faculties quickened by observation of distant localities. I am finally learning to see how others live, and no one has a monopoly on me in either of the joys or sorrows of life.

I was told of letters from my Mother begging for her sons to be returned to her as she had only agreed to leave her boys for a short time at the Liverpool Sheltering Home on the advice of her doctor. It has been heartwarming to know my brother and I were not “abandoned” by our English family, but were, instead, the unfortunate victims of circumstances beyond our control.  My brother ended up dying at an early age, and today I mourn the loss of my family in England and my sibling. I still live with pain, a pain I will take to my grave. I would like to think that my Mother knew what her children went through all those years in a strange country–even if she didn’t see it for herself.

 

 

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historicalnotes

Please note that I did not make up this name “the Waifs and Strays Society” in the title. This is what the British Home Children were referred to in many newspaper articles I read yesterday.:(

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Louisa Birt with some of the Knowlton children–year and children unknown–Photo Canadian Home Children

 

Louisa Birt was the sister of Annie Macpherson, both of whom worked with destitute children. Mrs. Birt became the head of the Liverpool Sheltering Home in 1873, the same year in which she started sending children to Canada.

From 1873 to 1876, approximately 550 Birt children were placed in homes in Nova Scotia by Colonel James Wimburn Laurie.

Annie Macpherson no longer needed her receiving and distribution home in Knowlton, Quebec, so Mrs. Birt began using the Knowlton Home in 1877.  took in 4858 boys and girls between 1872 and 1912.

Mrs. Birt also brought children over from the Christ Church Homes, Claughton, Birkenhead, and various British Unions and industrial schools.

In 1910, Lilian Birt took over from her mother in Liverpool. Emigration decreased during the war years and the Knowlton Home was closed in 1915. After the war, the work of the Macpherson homes and the Liverpool Sheltering Home was combined. The Birt children were sent to the Macpherson homes in Stratford, Ontario, and after 1920 to the Marchmont Home in Belleville.

The Liverpool Sheltering Home continued with its emigration work until it was absorbed by Barnardo’s Homes in 1925. Library and Archives Canada

 

comments

Shanon wrote…
Linda, thanks for taking the time and doing the research for this post. My GGrandfather was a BHC from North Yorkshire who came to live/work on the farm of James & Sarah McElroy in Lanark County.
He and his siblings came to Canada in 1889 (possibly April) I have no information about his life before arriving here and very little about his time as an indentured farm laborer. I have no information on his siblings at all.
It was only after he became an adult that records exist. He became an electrician/laborer on the Rideau Canal at Andrewsville Locks ON, he served in WW1 with the 156th Batt, he returned to his job after the war at which time I lost track of him once again. I believe he is buried in Merrickville but have been unable to verify that information. Keep up the good work and please do more posts on this subject.
Joyce Murray My father was a home child he landed in Halifax 1930 from the orphanage he was youngest of seven children. His both parents died he lived with his grandmother on her death bed if they send you to Canada go you would have a better life. Forty years ago when we were burying my brother in Merrickville my father pointed out a farm that we passed by he said they were nice people to work for that they allowed you to sleep in the house and you could eat at the table and he got his first new pair of boots then. He had worked at another farm near by and was lucky that someone showed up in Feb. to check on him he was living in the barn with no heat and his toes of his boots were cut out because they were too small, and they transfer him to the new farm. My father went on to help build the Alaska highway and then became electrician and work for NRC until his retirement.

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

 

relatedreading

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

 

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The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

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The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

 

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Dianne Kehoe Lawrence sent the LCGS this snippet about two British Home Children and Walter was her Grandfather.

 

BY-Dianne Kehoe Lawrence

Thomas and Walter  Wright born 1881 and 1882 on Guernsey, Channel Islands. Walter is my husband’s grandfather. They were shipped to Canada in 1894 as ‘slave’ or indentured labourers on farms.

Their father, a postman, on Guernsey died suddenly leaving a wife and seven children with another on the way. The mother was not able to manage so many children. The eldest boy entered the military at age 12. The mother kept the youngest children. Two girls went to an orphanage on Guernsey. Two boys went to an orphanage on Guernsey but were later shipped to England to Dr. Barnardo. From there they were sent to Canada.

My husband’s family didn’t know the story of Walter’s past until I began research. I have been able to connect and correspond with Wright cousins all over the world; Channel Islands, England, Canada, United States and Australia. Dianne

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

 

relatedreading

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

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Google Image Photo–Edward Norris – “”I worked hard – I was slapped” he recalls. “Sometimes I thought of my mother, in despair, and started to cry”.

When I grew up in the Eastern Townships I used to hear stories about the British Home children from my Grandparents that had arrived from England in the early 1900s and made Cowansville, Quebec their home. They never really stated anything was horribly wrong, but the looks on their faces made me understand all was not well. I just felt that the words Home Children was a dirty word.

To tell you the truth I never really thought about it much until I moved to Lanark County, Ontario where a large number of children had been also sent. Sometimes I heard stories that made me embarrassed to be a Canadian. After I watched a few documentaries about them I wondered if Canada had been in the same league as slave labour.

On Saturday at the Lanark County Genealogical Society meeting, Gloria F. Tubman told us about the 129,000 British Home Children (alleged orphans) were sent to Canada by over 50 British Child Care organizations from 1870-1957.

These 4-15 year old children worked as farm labourers and domestic servants until they were 18 years old. The organizations professed a dominant motive of providing these children with a better life than they would have had in Britain, but they had other ignoble and pecuniary motives.

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Photo- Google Image-Edith Hutchinson – “My first assignment was at a ministers house. I did not like his wife.  She told me all Barnardo Children came from the slums and I replied that I had as good a home as she.  She did not send me back to Hazel Brae but sent me to a farmer down the road where I was happy”.

The UK organizations began to rid themselves of an unwanted segment of their society and profited when they “sold” these children to Canadian farmers. Siblings in care in Britain were suddenly separated from their families and each other when they were sent to Canada. Most never saw each other again. Many spent their lives trying to identify their parents and find their siblings and most were unsuccessful.

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A letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen March 16 1928. B. Roberts Barnardo boy writes from Lanark, Ontario.

After arriving by steerage, the children (300-400 per boat) were sent to distributing and receiving homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, MacPherson sisters in Belleville, Dr. Bernado in Peterborough and Toronto and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, some did experience a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.

A month ago I wrote a story about local Western migration and how young men 18 and up were offered land grants. It seems a lot of the male home children were offered the same deal in Russell, Manitoba, but were underwritten by Dr. Bernardo. They would give them what they needed as long as they paid it back in 5 years.

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Doris Frayne – “Canadians just wanted to used me as a scullery-maid”.

Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. So did these agencies make money bringing these children to Canada? According to the site British Home Children & Child Migrants in Canada– the government began to provide a grant of $2 per child brought into Canada. This clearly expressed the governments approval of the importation of child labourers. Interesting also to note is that there was no bonus paid for children who came from the workhouses in England.

1894 Bonus Report

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These children arrived in Canada with the usual kit given to child immigrants: a Bible, a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, writing materials, a brush and comb, a work bag with needles, thread and worsted for darning. All this was packed into a wooden trunk along with a nicely trimmed dress and hat for Sabbath wear and a wincey dress (made of a plain or twilled fabric), a dark hat for winter, a liberal supply of underclothing for summer and winter, three pairs of boots, four pairs of stockings, gloves, collars, aprons, pinafores and a warm hood.

They thought they were doing a favour to these children– but were they? Certainly a dark period of Canada’s history.

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William  Price – “To be a home boy—it’s so hard to explain—there’s a certain stigma. I know that for a fact. You’re just in a class. You’re an orphan. Years ago you counted as dirt. You were a nobody. That was only common sense. You were alone in the world.”

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Julie–My grandmother Alice Anne Newby and her older sister Louise and younger sister Emily were also taken to the Bernardo home from England. The little one was adopted by a family in Toronto. My grandmother and older sister were sent out to families to work. At 17 my grandmother was given a new dress and told she was going to marry. She was sent off with my grandfather Ora Cooper who was in his 40s to be married. They lived in Knowlton, Quebec and had 6 children.

Sheila Perry-My grandmother, Elizabeth Cowley, came over on the SS Parisian in 1900 from a Liverpool home, connected with The Barnados Home. Her mother and father had died and she was passed around amongst her siblings , and then sent to the home as they could not keep her. She was 13 when she came over with other Barnados children. She landed in Halifax , then on to the Knowlton Home, in Knowlton, Quebec. From here she was sent to different farms to work. At one she was abused , and the keeper from the home rescued her and brought her back to the home in Knowlton.She had left 3 sisters and a brother back in England . There were letters sent back and forth between her sister and a friend Polly , but she never saw her siblings , or any of her family ever again. She met my grandfather, Arthur Perry, and married and had 8 children, one being my Dad, Lawrence Perry.

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Photo-British Home Children in CanadaKnowlton Distributing Home, Quebec

Quebec Eastern Townships Information

Townships Heritage Magazine article

Home Children, 1869-1932

Please sign this petition:

Official Recognition of the Contributions of the British Home Children in Canada

MacPherson Home Knowlton Quebec

KNOWLTON, APR. 01 & AUG. 05,1880

1901, 1902, 1906 KNOWLTON MARRIAGE REPORTS

THE HOME CHILDREN

Related reading

Have you read???

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

Did You Know About Dr. Bernardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

 
All photos- Patricia St-Onge

Derek LacosteMy grandmother came at age five must have been a real culture shock .Luckily she was adopted by a kind family from Bolton Glen ,they raised her as their daughter .sadly she died in her twenties ,My wife Kathy Andi visited the Isle of Man and restablished ties to the family she had left behind.Life was hard then for the unfortunate youth

Trevor JenneMy great grand mother went there in 1892 at the age of 5. I am waiting for Barnardos to open in England so I can get more information about her.

Taylor McClureMy great grandfather was sent here from Liverpool when he was 12. I completed a research project on the British Home Children for an organization in Sherbrooke called Actions Interculturelles and I was able to trace back my family tree. The Knowlton Distribution Home was one of 3 in the Townships. A very sad period in Canadian history.

George AddisDon Cherry’s Grandfather & Gilles Duceppe’s were placed here when they arrived. Thank You to The British Home Children’s Advocacy & Research Association I was able to complete my family tree back to Pontypridd Wales. I now have all Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates from Great Britain. Don’t try to dig to deep into the past of these young Children unless your prepared to find a lot of Skeletons in the closet. They had a rough Childhood over there.

All photos- Patricia St-Onge

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association