Young Immigrants to Canada

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Annie Macpherson

Annie Parlane Macpherson was born in Scotland and educated at the Home and Colonial Training College in Gray's Inn Road, London. Her father, James, was a teacher and she helped him with correspondence and other work. When her father died in 1851, Miss Macpherson moved first to Cambridgeshire and then to London. It was through friends in London that she became aware of the conditions in the East End of the city.

In 1869, Miss Macpherson opened the Home of Industry at 60 Commerical Road in Spitalfield. April of that same year she helped send 50 families to Canada. The spring of 1870 saw Miss Macpherson on board the Peruvian with 100 children. These first children were placed in Quebec City, Montreal and Richmond, P.Q.; Belleville, Toronto, Hamilton and several other places in Ontario.

While in Canada Miss Macpherson was invited to use a home in Belleville, Ontario with the rent being paid for by the County of Hastings. The home was called Marchmont. Miss Macpherson placed Miss Ellen Bilbrough in charge of the home. Two additional homes were added in 1872, one at Galt (now Cambridge), Ontario and the other at Knowlton, P.Q.

Miss Macpherson brought children to Canada from her own home in London but she also had arrangments with Barnardo, Quarrier, Smyly, and many other organizations to accompany and place their children as well. Some of the children came from workhouses.

After a great deal of bad press, brought on by the Doyle Report of 1875, Miss Macpherson decided to change the way she worked. She turned the Knowlton home over to her sister, Mrs Birt, in 1877, and Marchmont was turned over to Miss Bilbrough that year as well.

The home at Galt, called Blair Atol, was used by Miss Macpherson until 1882. At that time she moved her work to a home in Stratford, Ontario located at 51 Avon Street. The Stratford home was used until 1920 when the Liverpool Sheltering Home took over the work.

Miss Macpherson's organization continued to bring children to Canada until 1920 when the work was amalgamated with that of the Liverpool Sheltering Home. Children were placed all over Canada but mainly in Ontario. Some 10,000 children came to Canada with this organization.


Enquiries about children from this home can be sent to these addresses.

You must include as much information as possible. Inquiry forms are available from the National Archives of Canada. Although Barnardos does not charge for this service a donation would be welcomed. Please note that the records from the Liverpool Sheltering Home and the Annie Macpherson Home are not as complete as those for Barnardo children.

There is material available at the University of Liverpool, Social Work Archives, however, they will not answer queries so you would have to pay them a visit.

If any one has additional information on any of these children please contact me.

UWInfo | Young Immigrants | 19th Century Immigration | Genealogy | Local History

© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1997- 2010
Last updated: October 27, 2010, and maintained by Marj Kohli