Young Immigrants to Canada

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Reformatories and Industrial Schools

In 1836, on the Isle of Wight, the first reformatory was established in England. Parkhurst was intended to train boys, who were under the sentence of transportation, for two to three years before their removal from the country. The Philanthropic Society established Redhill Reformatory in 1849 and, soon others followed. However, it was not until 1854 that the British Government finally passed legislation to assist and accredit these institutions.

A child, under 14 years of age, could be sent to an Industrial School for begging, wandering, consorting with thieves or prostitutes or because the parents deemed him/her uncontrollable. If a child was found gulity of a more serious offence or had been before the courts previously he/she was usually sent to a Reformatory School. Sometimes these institutions were used as both Industrial and Reformatory School, for example Feltham. Both institutions gave basic education to the inmates and taught them a trade such as shoemaking, tailoring, wood chopping, carpentry and farming, for the boys and, cookery, laundry and house chores for the girls.

A British government report in 1884 stated that some 2,108 boys and 133 girls had already emigrated to the colonies from institutions in England, Scotland and Ireland. These children came alone or with organizations such as Annie Macpherson's or Maria Rye's. But, in 1891 British legislation made it more difficult to emigrate the children and by the early 1900s it had all but ceased.

The Institutions:

The information which follows was gleened from various sources. This list may not contain the names of all of the institutions and, children may have been sent to places other than those mentioned. This should only be used as a guide. Names of institutions are spelled as they appear in the records with official name, if known, in brackets. If the date of their certification is known it will appear in brackets following the name.
Reformatories and Industrial Schools Listed in Various Canadian Records
Institution Location Britain Sent Location Canada Approx. #
Allesby [Allesley] Farm Reformatory (1856)
(Warwickshire Girls' Reformatory)
Kenilworth (farm near Coventry) girls   4
Alloe Reformatory Essex boys   2
Acton Reformatory Essex boys   2
Ballinasloe Reformatory and Industrial School Ireland? girls    
Barnes Home
(Barnes Home Industrial School)
Stockport, Lancashire boys Qu'Appelle, Sask 11
Bedfordshire Reformatory School (1857) Carlton RC boys Melbourne, P.Q. 6
Bleasdale Reformatory (1857)
(sometimes listed as Lanchashire Reformatory or Beesdale)
Bleasedale boys    
Birkdale Farm Reformatory (1871) near Southport (Liverpool) RC boys Toronto, 193
Boys' Agricultural School London boys   6
Boys Farm School Birmingham boys   2
Boys Home Kent boys   2
Boys' Home Queen St., London boys   11
Boys' Refuge? London boys   15
Brighton Industrial School
(Brighton and Preston School Board Industrial School)
Chailey, Brighton boys   24
Brighton and London Ragged Schools        
Bristol, Industrial School of (1859) Bristol boys Annapolis 10
Brixton Metropolitan Industrial Reformatory London boys    
Buxton Reformatory (1852)
(later made an Industrial School 1894)
Buxton, near Norwich boys Melbourne,
Richmond, P.Q.
Byfleet [Byefleet] Industrial School (1871)
(Surrey County Industrial School)
near Weybridge, Surrey boys   5
Carlton Industrial School (1874)
(School Board Industrial School for Girls, Carlton House)
Bristol girls New Brunswick  
Child Home London & Lancashire boys   26
Church of England Industrial School Staffordshire boys    
Cumberland Industrial School (1881) Cockermouth, Cumberland boys Huntingdon, P.Q. 2
East Chapelton Reformatory (1854) East Chapelton, Glasgow girls    
Everton Terrace Industrial School
(could be either Industrial School for Boys at 33 Everton Terrace (1864) or St. George's Industrial School also in Everton Terrace (1854))
Liverpool boys   28
Fechney Industrial School (1864) Wells Hill, Perth, Scotland boys    
Feltham Industrial School (Reformatory) (1854) Middlesex boys Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario 130
Girls' Industrial School (Maryhill?) (1855) Maryhill, Glasgow girls Kingston and Toronto area  
Girls' Reformatory Glasgow girls   10
Glencree Ireland RC boys   2
Hampshire Reformatory (Hants) (1855) Southhampton boys   40
Hampstead Reformatory (1860) 9 Chruch Row, Hampstead girls   3
Hazlewood Birmingham      
Hert's (Hertfordshire) Reformatory (1857) Chapmore End boys   3
Homeless Boys' Institution London boys   1
Ipswich Industrial School (1857)
(Reformatory School for Girls)
Black Horse Lane, Ipswich girls   3
Kibble Institute (Kibble Reformatory) (1859) Paisley, Scotland      
Killkenny Industrial School Ireland boys    
Kingswood Reformatory (1852) Bristol boys   28
Kirkdale Industrial School (1868) Liverpool girls many came with Miss Rye  
Leeds Reformatory (1857) Adel, Leeds boys   5
Liverpool Industrial (Farm) School Liverpool boys   4
London, Industrial School of (Feltham?) London boys Winnipeg 38
London Ragged Schools London boys   21
Maryhill Industrial School Glasgow, Scotland girls St. John, N.B. and Ontario 34
Meath Industrial School Dublin, Ireland boys   3
Model Farm (Redhill) Surrey boys   18
North Lanchashire Reformatory
seel Bleasdale
Bleasdale boys    
North Lincolnshire Reformatory   boys    
Northumberland Village Homes (1879) Whitley Bay girls London, Hamilton, ON  
Orford (Oxford?) Reformatory   boys 3
Park Row Industrial School (1859) Bristol boys New Glasgow, P.Q. 20
Parkhurst Reformatory Isle of Wight boys    
Queen's Reformatory Bloomsbury, London boys   18
Ready Oak School London boys   2
Red Lodge Reformatory (1854) Bristol girls    
Redhill Reformatory Surrey boys Richmond, Waterville, P.Q. 100+  
Reformatory Institution Dublin girls    
Reformatory School (Feltham?) London     41
St. Conleth's Reformatory (R.C.) Phillipstown, Ireland boys Blacklake, P.Q. 2
St. John's Industrial School (Reformatory) (R.C.) Walthamstow, England boys    
St. Joseph's Home Sheffield girls   2
St. Kevin's Reformatory Wicklow boys Montreal 3
St. Mary Islington, England      
Saltley Reformatory Farm (1852)
(Norton Boys' Home)
Saltley (near Birmingham) boys Melbourne, P.Q.  
Sandbach Reformatory Cheshire boys    
Shibden Industrial School (1877) near Halifax RC boys   24
Smithfield Ragged School London boys   12
Stapleton Reformatory   boys   3
Suffolk Reformatory (1856)
(Kerrison Ref.?)
Eye, Suffolk boys   5
Tiffield Reformatory (1856)
(Northampton Society's Reformatory School)
Towcester, Northamptonshire boys    
Upton Reformatory Ireland RC    
Wakefield Industrial Home West Riding      
Wandsworth Industrial School London boys   14
Warwick Asylum (1856)
(Warwichshire Girls' Reformatory) see also Allesley
Coventry girls    
Warwickshire Industrial School (1856)
(Warwickshire Reformatory)
Weston under Weatherby near Leamington boys   3
Wellington Reformatory Farm School (1859) Penicuik, Scotland boys Nova Scotia 2-3/year
West Leamington Reformatory (1856)
(Warwickshire Reformatory?)
Weston under Weatherby near Leamington boys Melbourne, P.Q. 2

Ships They Came On:

This is a list of the arrivals at the port of Quebec extracted from government records.

Parkhurst Boys in Australia


Sources, including records at the National Archives, and books, such as the Federal Government of Canada's Sessional Papers and the British Government's Reformatories and Industrial Schools Commission Reports, were used to arrive at the above list of institutions. The estimate of the number of children brought to Canada was calculated from data in the Sessional Papers and the records found in the NAC as well as from the British Government's Report of the Secretary of State for the Home Department of the Departmental Committee on Reformatory and Industrial Schools, 1896.

Recently, information on some of these children was found in the records for the House of Industry in Toronto, found in the City of Toronto Archives. If anyone has information about records for this type of institution in cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, or Hamilton, please let me know.

Other records for these children can be found in the National Archives in London.

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© Marjorie P. Kohli, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1996-2010
Last updated: October 26, 2010 and maintained by Marj Kohli