Young Immigrants to Canada

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John T. Middlemore

John T. Middlemore founded the Children's Emigration Homes on St. Luke's Road in Birmingham, England. Middlemore started to bring children to Canada in 1873. His first receiving home was Guthrie Home (pictured at left) located in London, Ontario. These children were placed around the London area.

The following item is taken from The Canadian News, March 25, 1875.
"Dr. Middlemore, in his report on the Birmingham Children’s Emigration Homes for 1875, says that the success of the work in Canada has, with a few exceptions, been complete. “Last June I visited most of the children who were settled in Canada in 1873. I found them very happy in their new homes. They were being conscientiously educated; they were attending both day and Sunday schools, and they were very much attached to their adopting parents, who, in their turn, were very fond of them. A gentleman who had adopted a little outcast girl said to me, ‘We love her as if she were our own child.’ And these children, now so full of happiness and hope, were rescued from squalor and crime in Birmingham. I am sometimes asked,’ continues Dr. Middlemore, ‘why I do not settle my children in England. I will anewer [sic] by an illustration. We have now in the Spring-street Home two little girls, aged three and six. Their grandmother was educated at a Christian Home in England, but has come to infamy. Their mother had a similar training in a Home belonging to the Society of Friends. She too has come to shame, and is now in prison. And yet I have been asked to repeat with the grandchildren the ineffectual and disastrous experiment of merly interrupting for a year or two their iniquitious [sic ] associations. Of the eighty children taken to Canada two boys have run away from their settlements and have thus been lost sight of, while two girls have given very great trouble. Several other children taken to Canada in 1873 have disliked their first situations or have failed to give satisfaction in them; but of the forty-nine children taken to Canada in 1874 I have not to record a single case of failure. The reason why I have suceeded better with the children who were settled in 1874 than with those who were settled in 1873 is simply that in the former I had more experience than in the latter year, and could form a sounder judgment as to the most advantageous settlements for the children. The success of the Homes has been so pronounced and so thorough that the duty of renewed and strenuous effort in their support and development is clear and peremptory. It is plain that God has opened a way in Canada for those outcast little ones whose paths man has blocked up in Birmingham. It appears that forty-nine children cost in maintenance, clothing, travelling expenses, and passage to Canada some where about £2,000, which was subscribed by benevolent persons in Birmingham and the neighbourhood, among whom we notice the Lord Bishop of the diocese, who gave £10£; Mr. G.F. Muntz, £50; Mr. William Middlemore, £250; Right Hon. Lord Calthorp, £30; Mr. Dixon, one of the members of the borough, £5, and many ladies and gentlemen well known for their intelligent and discriminating charity. In another column we print an article from the last Saturday Review on the emigration of pauper children to Canada."

In 1893 Middlemore closed Guthrie Home and started to send his children to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Some of the children were placed through Miss Stirling's home at Aylesford, Nova Scotia. But, in 1895 the Canadian government pressured Middlemore into establishing his own receiving home in Fairview, Nova Scotia, not far from Halifax.

Some 5,000 children came to Canada with Middlemore. They came from Middlemore's home in Birmingham as well as from local workhouses and reformatories. Some children were sent by Guildford Union.

Until about 1932, the children were placed in the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and also in Ontario and Manitoba.

Photo: Refreshments for the Workers. National Archives of Canada, C-86484


The Archives of Nova Scotia do have some of the record books from the Middlemore home. More recently, the records from Middlemore homes have been copied and sent to the Library and Archives of Canada. In The Archivist, No. 115, 1997, (a publication of the NAC) is an article about the Middlemore collection.

More information can be obtained from the following:

British Isles Family History Group

Middlemore Homes
55 Stevens Avenue
Bartley Green
Birmingham, England, B32 3SD
Phone: 0121 427 9791 (plus the county access code)

The actual Middlmore records (a copy of which is held at the LAC in Ottawa) are held at the Birmingham Public Library (Archives), telephone 0121 303 4217.

Birmingham Public Libraries
Central Library
Birmingham, B3 3HQ

Reunion Information

Each year (usually in September) a group in the maritimes arranges a reunion. Announcements for the reunion will be posted on the homepage.

Lists of Children

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

St. Luke's in 2002 - Courtesy of John Graham.

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

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