The Lost Children Project

The Lost Children Project

 The Story Of The Middlemore Homes

About The Lost Children

as featured on uk tv

In 1873, twenty-six waifs and strays, from the poorest backgrounds imaginable, set sail for Toronto, Canada, some 4000 miles from the industrial heart of Birmingham City.  Many left parents and siblings behind.

The average age of a child migrant was eight but some as young as two were sent.  There are stories of great sadness but also stories of great success.

It is estimated that around 13% of Canada’s population is descended from British ‘Home Children’,  130,000 of which were sent in total from all over the UK.

Many families were separated, with some children remaining in the UK while their siblings were sent to Canada.  Where siblings sailed together, most of them were separated once in Canada. We have connected families both in the UK and Canada, many of whom had no knowledge of their living relatives across the Atlantic

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Lost Children Project Is Made Possible With
Funding From The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Commonwealth Games Of 2022
2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Children's Emigration Homes in Highgate, founded by John Middlemore. Between the years 1873 and 1954 they emigrated over 5000...
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British Local History Interview
This is a ten minute interview about the Middlemore homes on the website.You can view the accompanying pdf notes by clicking HERE. Click below for the full interview...
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The story of Mary Louise Hawkes 1902-1989
Emigrated 1914 aged 12  Why did Mary go into the Middllemore Emigration  Homes? At the time Mary was born her parents’ marriage was due to take place but unfortunately...
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Stories of the Lost Children
Herbert Morand The Middlemore Annual Reports include photographs of some children from 1896 onwards. One of the earliest children to feature in this way was Herbert Morand.  His father,...
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The Lost Children Book
The Lost Children: a book by Val Hart & Rowena Lyon Is now available! All the stories and information from the popular Lost Children Exhibition in 2019 have been...
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A Presentation by Pat Skidmore
Marjorie - Too Afraid to Cry Saturday 21st September at 2.00 pm The Lyttelton Theatre at the Birmingham & Midland Institute (Margaret Street B3 3BS, near to the Council...
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Time Line
The Historical Timeline Of The Middlemore Homes Progress of the HomesReports & Legislation1834 Poor Law Amendment Act setting up workhouses1850 Emigration...
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A Heritage Lottery Funded Project The Background In 1873, twenty-six waifs and strays, from the poorest backgrounds imaginable, set sail for...
Letters from the Lost Children
The archives in Birmingham Library contain quite a number of letters sent back to England by children emigrated to Canada. Some...
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Sir John T MiddleMore
Sir John Throgmorton Middlemore, 1st Baronet (9 June 1844 – 17 October 1924) was an English Liberal Unionist politician who served...
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Middlemore: 1949 onwards – family rehabilitation
 Child emigration by the Middlemore Homes continued until 1949. By this date government legislation (the Children Act of 1948) and changes...
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The Middlemore babies’ home (Crowley House)
The Middlemore babies' home (Crowley House) The Middlemore Homes also ran a babies' home at Selly Oak called Crowley House. This...
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MiddleMore: Emigration: 1873 to 1949
The first group of children, a party of 29, departed for Canada on 1st May 1873, accompanied by John Middlemore. On...
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MiddleMore: Foundation and aims
The Middlemore Homes were founded in 1872 by John Throgmorton Middlemore as the 'Children's Emigration Homes'. The first home, for boys,...
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Birmingham’s Emigration Homes

Historian Carl Chinn MBE Talks about the Lost Children Project

In 19th Century Birmingham, John Middlemore saw poor children living in overcrowded slums, in unhealthy conditions. Some children were suffering from neglect and at risk of falling into crime through a need to survive. His original mission in establishing the Middlemore Homes was to offer children a healthy upbringing, the chance to receive training and what he perceived as a better life through emigration to Canada. Children were often placed into the care of the homes by the local magistrates or were transferred to the homes from the cottage homes of the local poor law unions. 

The surviving records of the homes reveal the mixed fortunes of these children once in Canada. Many child migrants, as John Middlemore had hoped, were better off in Canada than if they had remained in England. Others experienced ill-treatment from their employers.