Township of Havelock Belmont Methuen

Public Library

British Home Children

On Monday April 17 we had two special guests at the Library Book Club. The book that was being discussed was “The forgotten home child” by Genevieve Graham which was a fictional story based on the true story of the British Home Children. Diane Cosway with her friend Marg Trottman-Graham gave our group an enthusiastic talk about the “Home Children” migration scheme that was started in 1869 by Annie MacPherson, where children that had been “abandoned or orphaned” were sent to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, for a better life. Dr. Barnardo, created  his foundation  around the same time. The boys were sent to work on farms and girls as domestics. A lot of these children were placed in our area. Diane told her story of how he father-in-law was one of these children having been found abandoned at 11 months old and being shipped over to Canada when he was older where he was placed on a farm. Marg’s grandmother came over and also was placed on a farm. Both ladies told the group about what their relatives went through and how they had to dig to find out their stories. Marg brought in a trunk that had been her grandmother’s. They explained how some of the children had made their own trunk or had like a sailors sack with their belongings in and even described what each child were given for their new life in Canada. – number of dresses, suits, shoes etc. Each child was given in their belongings, one housewife (sewing kit) and a bible. It was quite an extensive talk, both ladies very knowledgeable on the subject and told us that September 28 is British Home Child Awareness day. If you would like to learn more on the British Home Children there are two books that are in both libraries, The Little Immigrants :the orphans who came to Canada by Kenneth Bagnell and Barnardo Children in Canada by Gail H. Corbett. You can also go on-line and search British Home Children in Canada where there is a wealth of information or .to find out if a relative of yours was part of this program.

We would like to sincerely thank Diane Cosway and Marg Trottman-Graham for their wonderful talk on such a difficult subject. If you would like to have  a presentation or more information contact

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