British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

Middlemore Home Children

Between 1873 and 1936 more than 5,000 young immigrants, aged 2 to 18, mainly from the Birmingham, Warwickshire, England area arrived in Canada under a program originated by John Throgmorton Middlemore (1844–1925).
 
Middlemore's child emigration program was neither the first, nor the largest, for Canada. However, it is unique in having made many of its internal records openly available on microfilm for family and social history studies. This website provides resources for Middlemore researchers.
 
Background
John T Middlemore, after gaining his medical degree in the USA and travelling in Canada in his early twenties, was shocked to see the condition of the poorest children in the city when he returned to Birmingham, England. He was especially struck with the difference between the filthy, crowded slums and the wide clean spaces in Canada. He could see the opportunities available for young people there.
 
In 1872 Middlemore opened a home for boys on St Luke's Road, Birmingham, and,, shortly afterwards a home for girls on nearby Spring Street. These two homes were known as the Children's Emigration Homes. The next year, in May, he brought 29 children from Liverpool to Quebec City, then on by train to Toronto, finding homes for them in Toronto and London, Ontario.
 
In the beginning, he used the Newsboys Lodgings in Toronto as a base of operations, but by 1874 had acquired use of Swart's Tavern on the outskirts of London and renamed it Guthrie Home. Guthrie Home remained the headquarters in Canada until 1890, when it was closed. Arrangements were made with Miss Macpherson to receive the Middlemore children at her home in Stratford in 1891 and 1892 and for their after-care until 1898.
 
In 1893 Mr. Middlemore switched his operations to the Maritimes, depending on local assistance, especially Miss Sterling and her Hillfoot Farm in the Annapolis Valley. The Fairview Home was opened in 1897. From then until 1932 most of the children were settled in the Maritime Provinces, except not in Nova Scotia after 1927.
 
It was about this time that child migration was reduced in Canada, and the Fairbridge Society was made responsible for the overseas placement of Middlemore children (among others). Most were taken to Australia. Since then the relatively few Middlemore children brought to Canada were taken to the Fairbridge Farm at Prince of Wales in British Columbia.

Sir John Throgmorton Middlemore

9 June 1844–17 October 1924
 
Parents:
William Middlemore and Mary Groom of Edgbaston (fourth son and tenth child)

Honours:
Created first baronet of Selly Oak, 27 May 1919

Education:
  • Edgbaston Propriety School
  • MD, Brunswick, Maine, USA
Occupations: 
  • Worked in Middlemore and Lamplugh family saddlery and leather business (ca 1858–60)
  • Founder (in 1872), manager, and chief supporter of the Children’s Emigration Homes in Birmingham and the Middlemore Homes (Guthrie Home in London, Ontario, and Fairview Home in Halifax, Nova Scotia) in Canada
  • Member, Birmingham City Council 1883–1892
  • M.P. for Birmingham North, 1899–1918
  • J.P. For Birmingham and Worcestershire
Marriages:
  • Firstly, 25 September 1878, Marian (died 1879, probably in childbirth, a daughter was born 8 November 1879), daughter of Richard Bagnall, J.P, of Worcester, at Severn Stoke, Worcester
  • Secondly, 29 December 1881, Mary, daughter of Rev. Thomas Price, Vicar of Selly Oak, at St. Mary's, Selly Oak
Children:
  • William Hawkslow, born 10 April 1908, m. 1934 Violet Constance, daughter of Andrew Kennagh of Worcester; who succeeded to the title
  • Mary Evangeline, born 1 November 1882
  • Sara Dorothea, born 12 October 1883, m. 1922 Nicolai Khoslov of Vilnia, Powursk, Poland
  • Emily Christabel, born 12 March 1885, m. Percy Theodore Hughes, M.B., (Barnsley Hall, Bromsgrove)
  • Amphilis Throckmorton, born 14 April 1891, died 26 July 1930
  • Barbara Carola, born 14 July 1895, m. 1920 Samuel Mason of Maryland, USA
  • Merell Philippa M.A., MRCS, LRCP, London University, born early 1900s died 13 November 1938
  • At least two more daughters were born to this family who did not survive childhood.
Sources:
  • Burkes Peerage, 1950, 1970, 1999
  • International Genealogical Index, 2002
  • One hundred years of child care, 1972; Who’s Who, 1920
 
For more information please see "John T Middlemore and his Child Emigration Scheme" [PDF] by Patricia Roberts-Pichette.