Sunday, 7 February 2010

Canadian Home Children apology - the campaign hots up

From my website

How my genealogy research has led to an international campaign!

Regular Spaghetti Gazetti readers will recall my recent article about the Canadian Home Children from Birmingham and how 2010 is the official Year of the British Home Child in Canada. Home Children were children from very poor families or families with other social problems who were emigrated to countries like Australia and Canada in the early 20th century where many were brought up in harsh conditions and were literally used as slave labour.

I became interested in the phenomenon of Home Children when I made contact via the internet with a Canadian man named Ralph Edwards who was, like myself doing genealogical research. It turned out that not only was Ralph's father a Home Child shipped off to Canada from Birmingham in the early 1900s but that he was my great grandfather, William Clayton's nephew. Ralph and his wife Phylis came to Birmingham about three years ago to meet myself and other descendants whom I had never met before myself and together we visited a former Middlemore Home building in St Luke's Street near Bristol Street in Birmingham which was the last residence of Ralph's dad as an orphaned little boy before being put on a ship bound for Canada.

In Canada literally millions of people are descended from British Home Children and there is massive interest in tracing their roots amongst these descendants. In Britain however, very little is known about the plight of these forgotten little Brummies or their fate across the great oceans of the world.

My article suggested that, because Middlemore Homes were a Birmingham charity and therefore many of the Canadian Home Children came from the West Midlands, Birmingham City Council should take a lead in officially recognising Canada's Year of the British Home Child. My article was also published on Adrian Goldberg's website The Stirrer and gained a response from at least one city MP, John Hemming of Yardley.

I have since learnt from Adrian that he has progressed the story on The Stirrer and also on his national radio programme on Talk Sport Radio and my article has helped to stimulate a national campaign to ask the UK government to officially recognise the story of the British Home Children to Canada and to offer an apology to their families as Gordon Brown recently did for the descendants of Australian Home Children.

This is Adrian's latest email to me with links to recent articles:

" Hi Pete,

Have interviewed John Willoughby on Talksport and am making this a running Stirrer feature

Let's pile on the pressure.


Adrian Goldberg"

Watch this space as they say

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