To be read in conjunction with Part 1

Mittendorff House, East Street, Epsom
Mittendorff House, East Street, Epsom
Image courtesy of Epsom & Ewell Local & Family History Centre © 2013

A dose of reality

It all sounds very good, doesn't it. The accommodation was better than anything the children would have been used to, the staff were kind and the boys were decently fed, clothed and educated (they attended local schools, such as Pound Lane School).

It is impossible to discover why all of these children ended up in Barnardo's, although in many cases we can make an educated guess. My researches suggest that few of the 1901 and 1911 residents were actually orphans - quite often they had lost their fathers and the mothers couldn't cope. This next item, a 1902 report concerning admission to Hendon Orphanage, is taken from the Ancestry Public Member Trees and illustrates very graphically the kind of situation which could lead to a child's admission.

X - male (5) and Y - female (7)
Brother and sister.


Admitted - September 8th 1902.

Age - 5 years 6 months.

Date and Place of Birth - February 27th 1897 at Shepherd's Bush, W.

Religious Denomination of Father - not stated.

Religious Denomination of Mother - not stated.

If Baptised - Yes (Church of England).

Full Agreement, with Canada Clauses, signed by mother.

Physical Description

Colour of Hair - Fair.

Colour of Eyes - Brown.

Height - 3ft 2½in.

Chest Measurement - 19½in.

Complexion - Fair.

Vaccination Marks -

Weight - 30lbs.

Condition of Body -

Remarks by Medical Officer - To be vaccinated. Vermin bites over body.

Personal application by the mother resulted in the admission of these two children. The facts subjoined were gathered from our enquiry officer's report. The father (name) died of consumption in Fulham Union on March 15th 1899 and was buried by the parish at Hammersmith Cemetery. He started in a small way of business as house agent at Shepherd's Bush and about five years ago he fell ill and two years prior to entering the Union he was unable to do any work.

During the father's long illness the mother had to dispose of the home bit by bit and at the father's death she was left not only totally unprovided for but also heavily in debt. The mother, together with her three children (one other in service), went to live with a Mr and Mrs Johnson, boot and shoe manufacturers at Kilburn: here, the mother was engaged in assisting Mrs Johnson in the general work of the house etc, her earnings being from 6/- (30 pence) to 7/- (35 pence) weekly. The eldest sister, a domestic servant, now out of employment, was in the habit of giving her mother 5/- (25 pence) per month.

About eight weeks ago the mother left Mrs Johnson and removed to Kilburn, where she took one room at 3/- (15 pence) per week, in the hope of getting a home together. She procured some furniture on the hire system but, being unable to continue the payments, it was taken away again. She owes six weeks' rent and is under a Magistrates' ejectment order to get out in a week's time; hence this application.

The mother is highly respected, but has been very unfortunate.

The maternal and paternal grandparents are both dead and the mother has no other relatives living.

The mother died in 1910, ending any hope that X might have had of rejoining her, and he was sent to Canada in 1911, where he remained, although he did visit the UK in later life.

Another example is the case of 1901 resident Oscar Salter. The Salters had seven children and Mr Salter was a seemingly respectable man with a good job as a cashier in the Solicitor's Department of West Riding County Council. The few newspaper reports I can find imply that there might have been financial irregularity, since he suddenly disappeared and was being sought by the police. Tragically Mrs Salter was terminally ill when he fled and she died soon afterwards. The children were split up and in 1901 Oscar, along with his brother Leonard, was sent to Canada. Leonard eventually joined the Canadian forces and became a prisoner of war: he died in 1920 and was listed as a war casualty. Another brother, George, went to Canada in 1903 and apparently was killed in action in 1918, whilst serving with the US Army. Oscar also served in the Canadian forces during World War 1.

An investigation of residents on the 1901 census shows 34 inmates, of whom up to 70% were quite probably sent to Canada, never to return.

Barnardo's themselves say (see letter below) that the East Street Home became an 'embarkation point' for Canada in 1908, but this seems to be economical with the truth, given the evidence from 1901.

A letter from Barnardo's to Bourne Hall Museum
A letter from Barnardo's to Bourne Hall Museum stating that Mittendorff House
became an emigration house for Canada in 1908.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

As far as I can tell the Canada situation had somewhat improved by 1911 and it looks as if fewer children were sent, although the home had more than doubled its number of inmates since 1901.

A group of Barnardo boys from Miss Macpherson's Home
A group of Barnardo boys from Miss Macpherson's Home, London, England,
who arrived at the Marchmont Home in April 1922.
Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

Emigration to Canada

Child emigration had been going on since the 17th century, when youngsters were sent to work on plantations in America and the West Indies; it then became the vogue for juvenile 'criminals' (who might only have stolen a couple of cabbages) to be transported to Australia. The export of children to Canada took hold when individual philanthropists conceived the idea of sending some of their charges there. Two of the first exporters were Annie Macpherson (mentioned earlier) and Maria Rye, and the latter was more than a little responsible for some of the bad practices and publicity that grew out of the scheme.

Firstly, we need to look at where poor children were before people like Macpherson, Rye, Barnardo and Muller came along to establish Homes. Many of them were alone on the streets or living with their families in slum conditions: others were in workhouses. The Poor Law Act of 1834 attempted to regulate workhouses by requiring them to appoint Poor Law Commissioners and Boards of Guardians. Apart from workhouses, the only real opportunity for education was to be in the Ragged Schools, which were mainly in London. Ragged schools are not part of the Epsom story, but their history is fascinating and can be found here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragged_school

The Ragged Schools also sent children to the colonies but the organisation died out eventually when the Education Act of 1870 required all children between the ages of five and twelve to attend schools funded by local ratepayers (how many of the destitute street children actually attended is another issue).

Miss Maria Rye

Miss Rye came from a professional-class family and a fuller description of her background can be found here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Rye. The aspect of her life which interests us is her work in trying to find positions for educated women, which was a real problem in those far-off days when the professions were exclusively male and having the vote, even in a limited fashion, was still half a century away. She hit on the idea of sending these ladies to the colonies, where she presumably thought there would be more need/scope for them, but found that the market was for domestic help rather than educated professionals: consequently she turned her efforts to working-class girls who could be trained as servants.

In 1868, armed with $500 from the Canadian Government, she set off for Canada with a party of 119 women, 21 men and 5 children and quickly saw that the market was for youngsters rather than adults - they were cheap labour for the Canadians and were not in a position to protest about their lot. She then established a 'distributing house' at each end of the chain - one in Peckham and another in Canada. The children were supplied by the workhouses and the Boards of Guardians paid their fares, which suited the workhouses because they saved the cost of keeping these inmates long term. There was some documentation involved between Miss Rye and the Canadians who took the children - Indentures for Adoption and Indentures for Service - but they had no legal standing and crucially she and her assistants did not check that the terms of these Indentures were being observed. In other words, once she had signed you away, you were on your own. As one reference book rightly says, 'the term "out of sight, out of mind" might have been invented for Miss Rye.'

Annie Macpherson

We shall return to the consequences of Miss Rye momentarily, but we need to look briefly at Miss MacPherson, who was a Scottish evangelical Quaker. She operated similarly to Miss Rye but with one important difference - she did her best to check up on the children she placed and was prepared to remove them if necessary. Her receiving home was a house called Marchmont in Belleville, Ontario.

Marchmont in 1873.
Marchmont in 1873.
Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Doyle Report

Political caricaturist and artist George Cruikshank had already made his statement on the issue of Canadian emigration in his 1869 work called 'Our Gutter Children'.

Our Gutter Children' by George Cruikshank.  Click image to enlarge
'Our Gutter Children' by George Cruikshank.
Click image to enlarge

The 'balloons' may be difficult to read, so here is what they say.
From the man on the left with the broom:
There are many plans suggested for providing for the neglected children of drunken parents, but none such a sureform(?) measure as this, for by this plan we provide for them at once and get rid of the dear little ones altogether.

From the woman with the broom:
This is a delightful task and we shall never want a supply of these neglected children whilst the pious and respectable Distillers and Brewers carry on their trade and we shall always find plenty of the little dears about the Gin Palaces and the Beer Shops.

From the man in the centre with the shovel:
According to the teachings of Jesus all these little gutter girls are our sisters and therefore I feel it my duty as a Christian Minister to assist in this good work.

From an unseen cart driver:
I am greatly obliged to you Christian ladies and gentlemen for your help and as soon as you have filled the cart I'll drive off to pitch the little dears aboard of a ship to take them thousands of miles away from their native land, so that they may never see any of their relations again.

And from a child in the cart:
Mother! Mother! I want my Mother!
In 1874 the Local Government Board commissioned Andrew Doyle to visit Canada and report on the 'home children'; he was highly critical of Miss Rye, commenting that she was not fond of children and could be harsh and uncaring and he also thought that she was profiteering. The following item appeared in the Manchester Evening News on 12 March 1875.
THE EMIGRATION OF PAUPER CHILDREN It is understood that Miss Rye intends to commence a suit for libel against Andrew Doyle, Local Government Inspector, in consequence of strictures passed in the report which he has just presented to the House of Commons in the matter of the emigration of pauper children. Mr Doyle has recently conducted an investigation into the emigration to Canada of 400 children under the superintendence of Miss Rye and Miss Macpherson, and some of the conclusions he comes to are so adverse to the system of these ladies, and so strongly expressed, that legal proceedings will, in all probability, be taken. The passage more particularly complained of is that in which it is estimated that the difference between the grant on each child taken out and the expenses incurred during the voyage and at the homes in Canada show a clear profit of £5. Mr Doyle also most emphatically condemns the treatment to which the children in many instances are submitted. He likewise disapproves of the system of mixing 'semi-criminal' children with the young paupers, and considers that if it should be found advisable to continue the emigration it will be necessary to place it on a better footing.
Specifically, Mr Doyle had said that the whole scheme was mainly about cheap labour, the Homes were lacking in some basic facilities, no training was offered and in Miss Rye's Home there was cruelty; she also asked the children to pay back the cost of their passage … and so it went on.

I cannot find out if this libel action ever happened, but Miss Rye managed to muster some supporters with 'The Honourable' in front of their names (plus one Mr Justice Dunkin PC, a former Minister of Agriculture, whose sister happened to be in charge of one of Miss Rye's Homes in Canada - he testified to the fact that it was wonderful!) and she was soon back in business.

After Doyle

Although the Canadian Government rubbished Doyle's report, the British Government (for a while) took it seriously and suspended the emigration scheme as far as workhouses were concerned: this had little effect on Miss Macpherson as she obtained children from other places, but it stopped Miss Rye. Temporarily. A couple of years later she resumed and, on her retirement in 1896, handed over her work to the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society. The ban on exporting workhouse children flew out of the window in 1883.

Meanwhile Dr Barnardo had embraced the emigration plan and sent his first batch of children to Canada in 1882. He and his ilk really did believe that they were doing a good job and considered that they were rescuing the children from undesirable influences. A lot of the exporters obtained parental consent, but what some of them said to the parents is a different issue and there is evidence about how these fantastic lands of milk, honey and sunshine were 'sold' to people. Even Barnardo practised 'abduction' in some cases, albeit that this was illegal. It is estimated that between 1882 and 1908 6% of his exported boys and 8% of girls were sent to Canada without parental consent.

Barnardo was the biggest exporter to Canada and by the beginning of the 20th century his organisation has sent more than 1,000 children there each year - a total of 18,000 by the time he died in 1905 and over 30,000 by 1939. In his own words, the street children were 'criminals in embryo, the offspring of degraded and vicious women'. However, one of the main problems was that his orphanages were overflowing and Canada was a way of dealing with the excessive amount of needy children.

Being exported

So, what could an exported child look forward to? First of all you were embarked as a steerage passenger, usually from Liverpool and usually on a ship of the Allan Line, which specialised in transporting the 'home children'. For example, 'The Sardinian' (400 ft long and 42.3 ft wide) did the export run for decades, plying between Liverpool and Quebec or Halifax in Nova Scotia.

'The Sardinian', pictured in 1891.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

The children were often seasick at the start of the voyage and once disembarked faced train journeys which could take up to three days. Barnardo's largest distribution centre was Hazelbrae at Peterborough, Ontario.

Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

In 1887 Barnardo established the Russell farm school in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Boys would be trained in farming for about a year and then sent out to work. There was a scheme enabling them to obtain their own plot of land and pay back the cost over time, but many of them gave it up and went to work in the cities as factory hands and suchlike. Farming in Canada was very tough, with extreme weather conditions and loneliness in remote locations being the main problems.

Boy ploughing at Barnardo's Industrial Farm c.1900.
Boy ploughing at Barnardo's Industrial Farm c.1900.
Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

No one is saying that the child emigration was a wholly bad scheme, but the children found that there was a stigma to being labelled as a 'home child' and many of them just did not know who they were or where they had come from. In this respect I can recommend Margaret Humphreys' book 'Oranges and Sunshine' (formerly 'Empty Cradles'), which was filmed with Emily Watson as Mrs Humphreys: this tells the story of children sent to Australia, which came to light only in the 1980s, and I will touch on that subject a little later.

Some of the children were badly treated and there were instances of whippings, beatings and sexual abuse. Poor training led to serious accidents with farm machinery and a few children committed suicide. Many of them were treated as skivvies and not taken into the family. The case of Barnardo Boy George Everitt Green illustrates what could happen in a worst case scenario.

George Everitt Green
George Everitt Green
Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

The impact of what happened to poor George was so great that he has an entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography for an awful reason: his fame came from dying through ill treatment. The article in the Dictionary is reproduced below.

GREEN, GEORGE EVERITT, agricultural labourer; b. 8 Feb. 1880 in Tottenham (London), England, eldest son of Charles Green, tailor, and Amelia Green, laundress; d. 9 Nov. 1895 in Keppel Township, Ont.

Following the death of George Everitt Green in 1895, more Canadians knew about him than about any other of the children brought by British charitable agencies to work in the dominion as agricultural labourers and domestic servants. Between 1868 and 1924 more than 80,000 youngsters came to Canada as child apprentices. Boys and girls, perhaps a third of whom were orphans, were transferred from English and Scottish refuges and poor-law schools and placed with householders who had responded to newspaper advertisements offering home and farm help. Green's circumstances showed the immigration program at its worst, and his case, widely covered in the national press and in Britain, became the most compelling set piece in polemics created by Ontario child savers and the Canadian labour movement in their advocacy of reform of the system.

Until he was six, Green lived with his older sister, Margaret, his younger brother, Walter, and his parents in lodging-houses in the Tottenham suburb of London. In 1886 the parents deserted their children, who were admitted to the Old Parish School and then to the Enfield Farm School run by the Edmonton Poor Law Union, a local government institution. Their father died in January 1888. In May 1894 their mother induced Margaret, aged 17, to leave her job at the farm school for a place in service, and in retaliation the union discharged the boys into their mother's care. Within a month Mrs Green was unable to pay the rent on her room, and she and the boys began to sleep rough. In July 1894 George and Walter were admitted to the East End Juvenile Mission of Dr Thomas John Barnardo at their mother's request. George was described in the admission documents as well conducted, but with a cast in his left eye and a peculiar appearance. Eight months later, on 21 March 1895, the brothers embarked for Canada in a party of 167 boys.

George was sent on 3 April to a bachelor farmer in Norfolk County, Ont., who returned him to the Barnardo receiving home in Toronto within the trial period of a month because the boy's defective vision meant that he could not drive a team. On 7 May, Green was dispatched to a second place, near Owen Sound, to live with a single woman, Helen R. Findlay. Since her brother's death the previous summer, Findlay had run the family farm alone. Before that time, two Barnardo boys had been placed on separate occasions with the Findlays. Neighbours who saw Green soon after he arrived described him as clean, healthy, quiet, and backward. Findlay, who after her brother's death had been observed doing field and barn work the community regarded as inappropriate for women, they viewed with suspicion.

Seven months after his arrival on the Findlay farm, on 9 Nov. 1895, George Everitt Green died. A coroner's inquiry found that his death resulted from "ill-treatment at the hands of Ellen R. Findley, and from her not giving him proper care and treatment, food and nourishment during his sickness in her house," and Findlay was charged with manslaughter. In the ensuing trial, neighbours reported that for several months they had observed the boy inadequately clothed and fed, forced by physical violence to do work beyond his strength, and made to sleep in the barn as punishment. None, however, had seen fit to break community solidarity and attempt to assist him. Medical testimony was conflicting. Green had been unable to move from his bed for a week before his death. His frame was emaciated, his limbs gangrenous. His body bore wounds caused by physical abuse. An autopsy of his lungs showed a previous history of tuberculosis. The question for the jury became did Green die as a result of criminal neglect and physical assault by Helen Findlay, or were her actions reasonable chastisement of an inadequately prepared farm servant and his infirmities a consequence of hereditary or pre-emigration conditions? The jury was unable to reach a decision. No further record of the case has been found.

Publicity surrounding the inquest and the trial influenced both federal and provincial policy on child immigration. The labour movement became involved not only because it was interested in the well-being of the young labourers but also because it was concerned about their effect, as part of an increasing stream of immigration, on Canadian wage rates. In 1897, responding to labour's requests, the new Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier appointed a representative of the labour movement, Alfred F. Jury, as Canadian immigration agent at Liverpool, with special responsibility to scrutinize the actions of the British child emigration homes. In Ontario, John Joseph Kelso, the provincial superintendent of neglected and dependent children, and his supporters in the child-saving movement argued that no youngsters should be as casually placed as Green had been. Their pressure for reform led in 1897 to passage of the Juvenile Immigration Act, which required more careful record-keeping and screening of child immigrants and annual inspections of them in their Canadian situations. This act was subsequently replicated in Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, the other provinces in which substantial numbers of British children were placed.


Enough said, I think.

Epsom's part in child emigration

I intended to give you a fairly short synopsis of the East Sreet Barnardo's Home's role in this practice, with the facts and figures tabulated in appendices. However, the tables speak for themselves and it is unnecessary for me to comment, so I will show them in the main text.

The names listed below have been taken from the census sheets for 1901 and 1911. The passenger lists for Canada, which can be accessed here www.bac-lac.gc.ca, give minimal information (name and age only, and sometimes just an initial rather than a forename), so that it is often not possible to be sure that a particular child did or did not go. The details below are 'best endeavours' and should not be relied on if you are researching an individual. The purpose of these tables is merely to try to establish approximately how many of the children were sent to Canada. The results are shown at the beginning of each table (percentages approximate). Caution should be exercised in making comparisons between 1901 and 1911 and, indeed, in interpreting the information overall, since the absence of a name on a published passenger list does not necessarily mean that the child did not go - we do not know how many lists or names might be missing.

Total inmates Definitely sent to Canada Probably/possibly sent to Canada Definitely not sent to Canada Probably not sent to Canada Cannot trace
34 42% 28% 9% 3% 18%

Surname         Forenames                                Born                                       Canada
Yes or No
Ashdown George

Samuel Herbert
1890 Liverpool

1892 Liverpool
Yes, 1902.

Yes, 1902.
Parents - George Edward and Jane. Mother died 1900, probably as a result of childbirth, leaving George with several children and a baby. He remarried in 1902 and had a new family. Two of the boys' siblings remained with the family.
Atkins Bertram c.1889 (possibly Leighton Buzzard) Possibly yes, 1902.  
Atkinson Robert c.1889 Westmorland Cannot trace  
Beckwith Frederick

c.1892 Bethnal Green

c.1889 Bethnal Green
Yes, 1901.

Yes, 1901.
Father, Christopher, died before 1901; this was probably a case of the mother, Sarah, being unable to cope.
Bignell Frederick William 1889 Portsmouth Yes, 1901.  
Chase George H c.1893 Brighton Probably yes, 1906.  
Clarke? James H c.1894 Woolwich Cannot trace  
Cressey Douglas 1895 Dartford district, Kent Yes, 1905.  
Dare William Thomas c.1892 Claverham, Somerset Yes, 1902.  
Edmonds Charles 1892 Leicester No Joined Royal Navy. Killed 1921 when HM Submarine K5 sank in the Bay of Biscay with all hands. Body never recovered.
Freestone Frederick H

William J
c.1893 Wandsworth

c.1895 Wandsworth
Yes, 1905.

Yes, 1905.
Godfrey James Ernest c.1895 Stapleford, Derbyshire Probably yes, 1904.  
Hase Harry Joseph 1890 Norwich Probably yes, 1904 His brother, Valentine, was sent in 1906.
Hush Matthew 1892 South Shields Cannot trace  
Kinnard William Henry 1892 Southampton Yes, 1904.  
Leadbetter Bernard Andrew c.1890 Hanley, Staffs Yes, 1902. Son of Andrew and Maria or Kate. Father probably died 1892. Bernard later moved to Michigan, USA.
Marshall Joseph

c.1896 Islington

c.1896 Islington
Yes, 1906.

Yes, 1906.
Miller Thomas c.1890 Preston Cannot trace  
Moss Thomas c.1886 Barrow-in-Furness Probably no.  
Parker Albert

c.1890 Deptford

c.1895 Deptford
Possibly yes, 1903.

Possibly yes, 1903.
Richards John c.1889 Shropshire Possibly yes, 1902.  
Salter Oscar c.1888 Wakefield, Yorks Yes, 1901. Mother died and father disappeared.
Scott Albert

c.1892 Hartlepool

c.1894 Hartlepool
Probably yes, 1902.

Cannot trace.
Smith Albert H c.1892 Possibly yes.  
Smith Frederick c.1897 Bow Cannot trace  
Summers Edwin George Charles c.1890 Broadway, Dorset No  
Worthington James c.1890 Liverpool No  
Young Howard c.1895 Southwick, Sussex Probably yes, 1904.  

Total inmates Definitely sent to Canada Probably/possibly sent to Canada Definitely not sent to Canada Probably not sent to Canada Cannot trace
87 14% 9% 17% 50% 10%

Surname         Forenames                                Born                                       Canada
Yes or No
Abernethie Alfred c.1901 Finsbury Park, London Probably not Possibly died 1973 Ealing.
Adams Thomas Henry 1900 Liskeard, Cornwall Probably not Parents - Alfred & Lizzie.
Sisters in Mullers Orphanage, Bristol in 1911. Lizzie was widowed, working as a live-in housekeeper and youngest son Joseph was with her.
Angold Leonard Christopher 1898 Hackney Yes, 1911.
Died Florida 1969.
Parents Thomas George and Agnes.
Father still alive - died 1957; mother still alive - died 1961. Leonard's sister Dorothy was probably sent to Canada in 1913 but she came back to the UK later.
Aukett Joseph Frederick

Thomas G (actually George Thomas William)
c.1897 Eastbourne

1899 Eastbourne
No, killed in action 1917.

Parents Richard and Mercy. Father died 1904, mother remarried 1914 John Arnold - she and some of the children were living with him in 1911. Both children went back to their mother eventually.
Auld James

c.1900 (possibly Northumberland)

c.1903 (possibly Northumberland)
Probably not

Probably not
Possibly orphaned.
Banfield Albert Victor

John William
1897 Sevenoaks

1895 Sevenoaks

Parents - James and Emily.
Barnard Albert Edward 1901 Redhill Possibly  
Bawden Harry 1902 Guisborough, Yorks Yes, 1911.
Died 1982 Ontario.
Father died 1907. Mother died 1940. She had remarried by 1911 and started new family. Son Fred was with her then but went to Canada in 1924. Daughter Gladys also went in 1911 on the same ship as Harry.
Blackburn William c.1902 Leeds Yes, 1911.  
Bloom Herbert Thomas 1903 Highgate No. Died 1951 Worthing (lived Highgate).  
Bond William Hubert A A 1899 Warminster Probably not Parents John and Elizabeth.
Brelsford Thomas c.1905 Disley, Cheshire Possibly 1914  
Brooks Ernest Arthur 1898 Stratford, London Probably not  
Brown Alfred James c.1899 Bristol Probably not  
Cameron Ernest George

Reginald Frederick
1902 Marylebone

1900 Marylebone
Probably not

No. Probably died 1978 Eastbourne.
Castles John Burrell

Edwin Wilson
1902, Alnwick, Northumberland

1904 Alnwick
Yes, 1911.

Yes, 1911.
Father died 1908. Mother charring in 1911 - had kept some of the children. She died 1951. Another boy was in the Watts Naval Training School (branch of Barnardo's).
Chamberlain William James c.1899 London Probably not  
Collings Charles c.1903 Wallsend, Northumberland Cannot trace  
Cordell William Sydney 1901 Surrey Yes, 1912.  
Cowling John Reginald 1900 Sheffield No. Died 1973. Father was in prison in 1911.
Cox John William c.1902 Hoxton Probably not  
Cox Robert Charles c.1904 Bow Probably not  
Cross Richard Walter 1899 Seven Kings, Essex Probably not  
Dakin Edwin Charles c.1903 Camberwell Cannot trace  
Davies Lewis Aubrey 1903 Woodford, Essex No. Died 1973.  
Denman or Hoare Ronald c.1899 Peckham Rye Probably not Son of George and Elizabeth Hoare.
East or Kidman Kenneth Victor 1901 Girton, Cambridgeshire Yes, 1911. Father died and mother remarried.
Edwards Albert George

Sydney Charles
c.1901 Ipswich

c.1903 Ipswich
Probably not

Probably not
Fenton Frederick c.1900 Paddington Probably 1914  
Gay John c.1900 Newcastle Probably not  
Genery Sydney 1897 Plaistow No. Died 1980. Parents Edward and Elizabeth. Father died, mother still alive in 1911.
Haim Horace Arthur Hedley

William Albert Russell
1903 Blandford, Dorset

1902 Blandford
No. Died 1945

No. Died 1928.
Father died 1909, mother still alive in 1911.
Haslam Cyril 1901 Eccleshall, Yorks Probably not  
Hayes Herbert c.1902 Hucknall, Notts Probably not Son of Frederick and Alice. Father possibly died before 1911.
Hedges Alfred George 1902 Knightsbridge Probably not  
Hedges Frederick Henry 1903 Fulham Probably not  
Hudson Charles c.1901 Canning Town, London Probably 1912 or 1914.  
Hurford Percy c.1895 North Petherton, Somerset Probably not  
Ingram William Alfred c.1900 Deptford Probably not  
Jones Arthur Cyril c.1902 Liverpool Yes, 1911.  
Jones John Thomas or Charles c. 1901 Denbighshire Cannot trace  
King William Edward 1900 Brighton Probably not  
Lippiatt Hector Francis Douglas c.1896 Cardiff No. Died 1912.  
Lodge Albert c.1904 Mill Hill, London Probably not  
Miller Arthur c.1901 Brighton Probably not  
Milstead Albert Henry c.1902 Bristol Probably not  
Mitchell Samuel James c.1899 Lurgan, Armagh Probably not  
Palmer Allen c.1898 Chelsea Probably not  
Parker William John c.1902 Rotherhithe Probably not  
Pople William c.1904 Bristol Yes, 1915.  
Price Edward Charles c.1902 Walthamstow Probably not  
Price James Harold c.1903 Bilston, Staffs Probably not  
Primmer Charles c.1905 Canterbury Yes, 1921.  
Reece Alfred Howe

1898 Peckham

c.1897 Peckham
No. Died 1946.

Probably not
Parents Joseph and Gertrude. Children probably put in Home temporarily due to sheer number of offspring. There were 17, of whom 11 were still alive in 1911.
Rees Frederick Robert c.1901 Haggerston, London Probably not  
Robbins Albert George c.1903 Lambeth Probably not  
Rogers George Alexander 1902 Harefield, Middx Probably not  
Ross Frederick c.1899 Grimsby Probably yes, 1912.  
Salmon Reginald Walton Diamond 1897 Shepherds Bush Yes, 1911. Died 1982 British Columbia. Orphan, but still had a mother when he was first institutionalised.
Smith Albert Rowland c.1904 Probably not  
Smith Alfred Ernest c.1904 Woking Cannot trace  
Smith Frederick c.1902 Birmingham Cannot trace  
Smith Frederick William c.1898 Birmingham Cannot trace  
Smith Harry c.1902 Birmingham Cannot trace  
Smith Harry Ernest c.1900 Bermondsey Cannot trace  
Smith William Edward c.1898 Bermondsey Cannot trace  
Schaffer Alfred

c.1902 Millwall

c.1902 Millwall
Probably not

Probably not
Stoner or Luff James Ernest c.1898 Shamley Green, Surrey Probably not Parents James and Frances Annie Luff. She remarried 1907 and had a new family but some Stoner children were with them. Frances possibly wasn't married to James Luff.
Townsend Frederick James c.1901 Newbury Yes, 1912.  
Tufrey Edward Cecil c.1901 Wood Green No. Died 1998.  
Wilson Edward c.1901 Hull Probably not  
Wilson Frank


c.1902 Grimsby

c.1904 Grimsby

1900 Grimsby
Possibly, 1911.

Possibly, 1911.

Possibly 1911.
Whiteside Robert c.1900 Lytham, Lancs Probably not 1901 - with grandparents
Wakefield Vivian Hussey 1903 Chelmsford No. Died 1974.  
Willis Charles c.1897 Hoxton Probably not 1901 - mother was Alice, husband not there.

Barnardo children disembarking at New Brunswick.
Barnardo children disembarking at New Brunswick.
Image source: Library and Archives Canada.

May we ask that, if any reader has further information about a child from the East Street Home who was sent to Canada, please contact the webmaster. Ideally, we would like to follow up this article with some information about what happened to the children in Canada. (The name of the individual need not be published.)


I could go on for days about this subject - and you probably think that I have - but it is a fact that well over 100,000 British kids were exported to the former colonies. Although the Canadian Government has never apologised, Canada has not forgotten them and Lori Oschefski's website http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com/ is a good place to visit for more information.

Canada became twitchy about the emigration in the end and no longer needed fresh young blood to populate the country, so after the First World War the exporters turned their attentions to Australia and no one, particularly the British Government, seemed to have learned anything from the lessons of the past, as Margaret Humphreys' book ('Oranges and Sunshine' formerly 'Empty Cradles') demonstrates. I will give you just one example of the Australian experience.

Boys Town, Bindoon was an institution just over 50 miles north of Perth, Western Australia, in the middle of nowhere and run by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic lay order. At the time in question (late 1940s) it was a dilapidated farm, presided over by Father Paul Francis Keaney. The Brothers had the bright idea of getting the immigrant lads to rebuild the institution in grand style and they did so, in searing heat, with their bare hands. They were maltreated and abused and some of them were raped. The finished building was splendid and still stands, renamed the Catholic Agricultural College, and I daresay that there are many people still living today who wish that it had been demolished. Examples of comments about this place, which you can find very easily by googling the word Bindoon, are 'I can still hear the kids scream', 'Bindoon Boys Town, a place where the ultimate in evil destroyed child migrant lives', 'torment', 'horrifying child abuse' etc etc. That really is enough said.

The East Street Home closed in 1937 and Epsom at least had no further involvement in child emigration, but children continued to be sent to Australia until about 1970.


You may be caught in two minds about child migration and, certainly, there is a rational balance to be struck between the horror stories and the prospect of a good new life, which so many of the children would have had. However, more than once whilst writing this I have paused to think about it subjectively. I was born in 1948, so I am in the right age group to have been a potential child emigrant to Australia. Fortunately, I had two great parents who looked after me very well, but just suppose that Dad had died and for some reason, such as chronic illness, Mum had been unable to look after me. I could have been placed in a Home and sent off to Australia, bewildered and alone, with Mum not knowing what had happened to me (this is thankfully pure fantasy in my case, as I had an aunt who would have cared for me and we had really good neighbours who would have helped out, but that wasn't so for everyone). The spectre of being put in a Home and sent to the 'colonies' without the permission of family still in the UK isn't a remote fiction - it actually happened. My uncle married an orphaned girl who had spent some years in Dr Müller's Orphanage at Ashley Down, Bristol. Happily she was not exported, but she still lost touch with at least one of her siblings.

Further reading etc

  • 'New Lives for Old' by Roger Kershaw and Janet Sacks, published by the National Archives 2008.
  • 'The Little Immigrants: The Orphans who came to Canada' by Kenneth Bagnell, published by Dundurn Group 2001.
  • 'Oranges and Sunshine' by Margaret Humphreys, new edition published by Corgi 2011; DVD by Icon Home Entertainment 2011.
  • 'Neither Waif nor Stray' by Perry Snow, available as a free download at http://canadianbritishhomechildren.weebly.com.
  • Relevant website: http://www.bifhsgo.ca/links.php?lc=3

Researched and written by Linda Jackson © 2013

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