More than 30,000 boys and girls were sent to Canada, most of them to Ontario, between 1882 and 1939. Before Barnardo’s cancelled the program, Canadian farmers could apply to have a child sent to work for them. In return, they were to take care of feeding, dressing, schooling and paying the child. Mr. Howard Vennell said he was forced to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week performing typical farm chores such as milking cows, feeding the animals and taking the manure out, all by himself. He said he suffered physical abuse “kicked in the butt and belted” at the hands of his employers. “The first six months, I remember, I rocked myself to sleep crying. There was nothing I could do because that’s the way the home wasin England, too.”
Mr. Strosberg estimates 3,000 to 5,000 people are eligible to join the Ontario class action. The Trustee Act prevents the lawsuit from covering those who died before June 13, 2000. The lawsuit could be expanded later to include those sent to other parts of Canada. Mr. Strosberg said neither he nor anyone in his office knew anything about “Dr. Barnardo’s Children,” as they were commonly known, when Mr. Vennell approached them.
“What he says is that he was mistreated and that Barnardo’s didn’t have a system in place capable of achieving what it is supposed to, and that is supervision to ensure that these children were properly supervised and educated.” In a written statement yesterday, Barnardo’s said: “We take any complaint of this nature extremely seriously, but as our legal representatives are now handling the matter we feel unable to comment further at this stage.” Mr. Vennell said yesterday months of negotiations with the charity proved fruitless. It offered him $100,000, which he found inadequate. “We didn’t ask for this,” Mr. Vennell said yesterday.
“Barnardo’s Homes asked for it. They didn’t think we’d go this far. Well, they know now we are going this far. We aren’t kidding.” Dr. Thomas Barnardo founded the charity in 1867, setting up homes for destitute and homeless children in and around London, England. The emigration program aimed to relieve overcrowded cities in England, provide Canada with cheap labour and increase its English-speaking population, and provide more opportunities for the children. Mr. Vennell said yesterday he only realized he was a “Barnardo boy” after he saw a program on television that revealed many children were similarly sent to Canada to work.
“I thought: ‘My God, that’s what happened to me.’ They were practically slaves.” When Mr. Vennell was six years old and ill with rickets, his destitute mother admitted him to one of Barnardo’s charitable homes in England. When he was 14, in March, 1932, Mr. Vennell was sent to Canada even though he says his mother refused to sign a special contract that would allow him to be sent to Canada. “It took five days to come across. We were down in the hold…. It was rough. I was seasick all the way over. They fed us old, dry buns ’cause you wouldn’t be throwing up as bad.”
Mr. Vennell stayed briefly at a Toronto home before being sent to a farm in Pakenham, Ont. A Barnardo’s representative visited the farm once, but failed to do anything despite Mr. Vennell’s “obvious neglect, abuse and unhappiness ,” the lawsuit says. Mr. Vennell was moved to another farm in Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
When he was released from Barnardo’s care at 18, the organization failed to give him accounting of the money he should have earned, says the lawsuit. According to the statement of claim, Mr. Vennell still suffers physical and psychological damage from this abuse. “It was tough, but I managed. I’m a survivor,” he said. Mr. Vennell is married and has one child.
In 1957, Mr. Vennell and his then-future wife had a child out of wedlock. He said the infant was taken away from them. After 42 years of trying to find his son, he finally got to meet him and they are now close. “We talk every day. He calls us, we call them. My granddaughter calls me ‘Grandpa.’ It’s nice to hear. It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. Similar emigration programs were run by the Catholic Church and the Church of England, and more than 100,000 “home children” were sent to Canada in total.
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. 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
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.
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.
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
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
John Stacey Lanark County
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.
My grandfathers photos, the first, taken on his admittance to Barnardos — Larry Clark
Larry Clark’s Grandfather–Alfred Henry Mallindine
This first piece was found here (Lynwen Clark, no relation) historian’s remarks. the Her web page is here
Alfred was born in Plaistow, Essex on 7 September 1889; he was the second son of Joseph Mallindine and his wife Alice Manhood. After his father died in 1898, his mother was unable to care for her three youngest children and placed Alfred and his brother Stephen in the care of Dr. Barnardo’s Home on 1 May 1899.
Alfred stayed in Barnardo’s Leopold House in Stepney for six months before sailing for Canada on the SS Arawa on 11 September. Two weeks after arriving, ten year old Alfred was placed with Marshall Armstrong on his farm near Maberley, Ontario and an update to Barnardo’s reported that Alfred was ’in good health, a bright lad, willing and useful.’ He stayed on the Armstrong farm for four years before being moved to Robert Donald’s farm in Mount Forest but this placement was not a happy one and Alfred was moved on again six months later.
In November 1904, Alfred was placed with Edward D. Foster in Ingersoll but this was another short stay and he was moved again in February 1905 and sent to work for Thomas Adams who had a farm in Hawthorne in Gloucester Township near Ottawa. He remained there for almost three years before moving to his last placement under Barnardo’s guardianship on a farm in Bolton ( This was Quebec- read Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid). Once he reached legal age, he was no longer bound to Barnardo’s and was free to make his own decisions.
In January 1910, he was working in a lumber camp, operated by the V.A. Lumber Company, in Wahnipitae near Sudbury but later that year, he returned to the Ottawa area when he obtained a position as a moulder with the Findlays Foundry in Carleton Place. On 4 October 1911, twenty-two year old Alfred married Violet Thake at St John’s Church in Weston, now a suburb of Toronto, with Violet’s aunt Daisy and uncle Charles acting as witnesses. Violet was born in Putney, south London on 30 September 1893, the daughter of Henry Thomas Thake and Flora Wacey, but she was raised by her maternal grandmother and emigrated to Canada in 1908.
Alfred returned to Carleton Place with Violet following their wedding and on 25 July 1912, Violet gave birth to their first daughter, Eleanore Emma. Their second daughter, Kathleen Violet, was born in Carleton Place on 13 January 1914 but she lived only one hour. On 5 April 1915, their son Frederick Alfred was born followed by daughter Evelyn Lillian on 3 October 1916.
The family suffered a devastating loss when Violet died of Typhoid Fever on 5 September 1917 at the public hospital in Smiths Falls, about 30 kms south of Carleton Place. Typhoid is an infection caused by the salmonella typhi bacteria and it is most often contracted by drinking water or milk contaminated with feces carrying the bacteria. In 1911, a typhoid epidemic in Ottawa left 987 people ill and 83 dead and a second epidemic in July 1912 affected 1391 people and left 91 dead. The epidemics were traced to raw sewage that had been released into the Ottawa River and later entered the city’s drinking supply and it was typhoid epidemics like this that forced many cities and towns to improve city sewers and build water treatment plants.
Violet was sick for five weeks before her death and she may have been moved to a hospital in Smiths Falls in the hope of better treatment and an eventual recovery. She was only 24 years old when she died and left three children aged five, three and 11 months; Violet was buried in the cemetery at St James’ Anglican Church in Carleton Place on 7 September — Alfred’s twenty-seventh birthday.
In a letter dated 14 February 1969, Alfred explained that he did not know what to do following Violet’s death but eventually hired a housekeeper from Ottawa to help care for their children. The arrangement worked well until Alfred fell ill with influenza and pneumonia and despite an initial recovery, he was told by doctors that he only had six months to live. After his experience in the Barnardo’s Home in London and as a home child in Canada, he had no wish for his children to be placed in an orphanage and so in 1918, he agreed to let neighbours, Dan and Tilley Bennett, have his youngest daughter Evelyn while son Fred was placed with another local family, Harris and Katherine Bennett, although they were not related to Dan and Tilley. Alfred’s eldest daughter, Eleanore, came home from school to discover her brother and sister were no longer there but had been given up for adoption and she was told not to speak about them or her mother — a traumatic experience for a six year old who had lost her mother only one year before.
Alfred left Eleanore with her great-grandmother, Emma Wacey, in Weston and despite the prognosis from the doctor, he took a physically demanding job in a lumber camp near Blind River on Lake Huron and worked on the river drive where the raw logs are floated down the river to the sawmill for processing. With his health seemingly restored, he returned to Carleton Place and claims that he tried to get his two youngest children back but the Bennett families were not willing to return them. He left the town and got a job as an Iron Moulder in Guelph, 100 kms west of Toronto, but he occasionally returned to Weston to visit his daughter and on one of these visits, while travelling on the street car with Eleanore, he met Lilian Richardson. (Lynwen Clark, no relation) historian’s remarks. the Her web page is here
I have added to this family (Lynwen Clark, no relation) historian’s remarks. the Her web page is here— Larry Clark
My grandfather’s story by Larry Clark:
On 4 June 1898, Joseph (my great grandfather) died of tuberculosis at their home at 51 Tucker Street in Canning Town (London) and he was buried three days later at the West Ham Cemetery in Newham; he was only 47 years old and due to his illness, he had been unable to work for six months prior to his death. His death left his family in a dire financial situation and although Alice received some relief from the parish and found employment, she did not earn enough to support herself and her children. Fifteen year old Alice Eliza was working as a domestic servant and twelve year old Joseph was sent to live in Norfolk but it is not known if he went to live with family or to work in exchange for food and lodging.
With no other options, Alice made the difficult decision to place her two youngest sons, Alfred and Stephen, in the care of the Dr. Barnardo’s organisation. On 1 May 1899, Alice took the boys to Barnardo’s, possibly the one in nearby Barkingside, and they were admitted that very same day. The boys were separated when ten year old Alfred was transferred to Leopold House in Limehouse where he remained for four months before being sent to Canada.
Leopold House on Burdett Road opened in 1883 and after it was extended in 1887, it could accommodate over 450 boys between the ages of 10 and 13. Five year old Stephen was considered too young for emigration so he was boarded out first at Messing near Colchester and then at Palgrave near Diss on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. He returned to Leopold House and was sent to Canada in July 1904.
Stephen went to the home of a doctor in Toronto and was then employed by the CPR as a telegrapher. He joined the army in WWI, served in Europe, winning the DCM: returned to the CPR after the war, married in 1926 and was stationed in Chapleau, where he succumbed to cancer in1930. I have not been able to find an adult picture of him. We have no knowledge of Alfred ever meeting his brother after his arrival in Canada.
The only known photo of my grandmother, with my aunt Eleanore
My Grandmother’s Story- Larry Clark
In May 1893, Florrie married Henry Thomas Thake at the Emmanuel Church in Putney south London and four months later, she gave birth to a daughter, Violet Daisy Emma (my grandmother). Violet was baptised on 14 January 1894 at St Stephen in Clapham Park but instead of remaining with her parents in Putney, she was placed in the care of her grandmother. It is not known why or when Emma Wacey started caring for her granddaughter but Violet never returned to live with her parents.
In early 1899, James Wacey died in Hull, East Yorkshire at the age of 50; Hull was a major fishing port and it is likely that James died there while working. By 1901, Emma (James wife) had left Yarmouth and moved to 41 Willow Grove in Plaistow, Essex and she appears there in the census along with her five youngest children, granddaughter Violet and a boarder named Joseph Dumsday.On 24 December 1905, Daisy Ann (Emma’s daughter, Violet’s Aunt), married William Joyce in West Ham and shortly after, they emigrated to Canada and settled in Weston near Toronto.
In 1908, Charles Frederick Wacey, his mother (Emma Wacey) and his niece Violet Thake also emigrated to Canada. On 29 July 1908, they sailed from Liverpool on board the Lake Manitoba bound for the port of Quebec City and after taking the train to Toronto, they joined Daisy and her husband in Weston. In 1911, they were living on Main Street in Weston and Charles was working as a labourer, Violet as a shop assistant and Emma was receiving a private income.
Later that year, Violet met and married Alfred Mallindine in Weston and moved with her new husband to Carleton Place near Ottawa.
The family started to grow and in 1912 Eleanore Emma was born; 1914, Kathleen who died 1 hour later; 1915, Alfred Frederick and lastly, my mother, Evelyn Lilian in 1916. At the time of my mother’s birth, the family were living on Moffat St., street number unknown.
I did find them in the CP assessment rolls, 1916/17 at the town hall but found no further info other that they owned a dog. Looking back I think there may have been a lot number but in any event I have lost my notes and will try again sometime in future.
The only known photo of my grandmother, with my aunt Eleanore followed by my grandmother’s grave marker in St. James Cemetery, lastly, Alfred and first born Eleanore in CP-perhaps Moffat St.
I was disturbed by the fact that Violet was not mentioned by name (no one in the family knew her name), also, Mallindine was misspelled (perhaps, I could fix it with a chisel). (One of the first things I want to do when covid is over is to correct this situation).
Violet was buried in the cemetery at St James’ Anglican Church in Carleton Place on 7 September 1917 — Alfred’s twenty-seventh birthday.