Young Immigrants to Canada

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Leonard K. Shaw

Mr. Leonard K. Shaw was an evangelical businessman who was greatly affected by the poor and destitute of his city, Manchester. Shaw worked with Ragged Schools in the city and, as an extension to this work, he set up shelters for homeless boys in 1870.The Manchester and Salford Refuges started as an off shoot of a ragged school in Queen Street, Deansgate. Shaw also founded a home called the Strangeways Institute in Manchester as well as the Salford Boys & Girls Refuge. To prepare the children for life in Canada, Shaw founded Rosen Hallas, Cheetham Hill in the 1880s.

In 1872, the first group of children was sent from Shaw's homes to Marchmont, in Belleville, Ontario. At first the children were sent to Canada with the Annie Macpherson organization and later with Ellen Bilbrough and her husband, Reverend Wallace.

Mr. G. Bogue Smart, Inspector of British Immigrant Children and Receiving Homes, stated in his 1906 report:

Children from these influential schools are sent to Canada each year under escort to Marchmont, Belleville, and are placed in situations and homes by the Rev. Robert Wallace. Over fifteen hundred have already been emigrated. The efficiency of these excellent homes and schools is enhanced by the industrial training which they provide. The children receive every encouragement. Each boy is paid a wage which varies according to the work he performs. On Saturday, pay day, the lads are given pocket money, the juniors a half-penny and those attending school a penny each, and every effort is made to treat the children as entities. As a result of this policy I was immediately struck with the freedom with which the children moved about They were very polite and conversed with me unreservedly, giving an account of their treatment and daily routine in the home. It is quite impossible, in the space at my disposal, to adequately describe in detail the training afforded the children in these homes. It is sufficient, however, to say that the training and discipline are thorough, and one may look for good results from the children selected for emigration to the Dominion.
During the last half of this present year 31 girls and 73 boys were emigrated, 44 of whom were orphans and 21 had one parent living.
I desire here to express my appreciation of the kind hospitality and the efforts put forth by Mr. Ackroyd, Honorary Secretary, and officers of the homes which facilitated my inquiries into the care and training of the unbefriended and needy children of Manchester.

Children continued to come to Canada from the Shaw homes until 1921. It is estimated that about 2,129 children were sent to Canada by this organization between 1872 and 1921.

For more information see Manchester Salford Boys Girls Homes.


1. Report of G. Bogue Smart, Inspector of British Immigrant Children and Receiving Homes for the year ended June 30, 1906. NAC PAAP JV 7282,C4C3, pp. 6-7.

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 26, 2010 and maintained by Marj Kohli