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BOOK - Great Canadian Expectations, The Middlemore Experience
By Patricia Roberts-Pichette
Published by Global Heritage Press, Ottawa, November 2016

Softcover... 44.95 (C$)
pdf download.....15.95 (C$)
Link emailed within 1 business day
Licensed for personal use only

Over 100,000 neglected or homeless and often unwanted children from Britain were settled in Canada between 1869 and 1948 by more than 50 British juvenile emigration agencies. Because they came from an agency’s home in Britain to be settled from the agency’s distributing home in Canada, they were called home children.

Some emigration agencies have been accused of having acted more in their own interest than the children’s, leaving the latter open to abuse. A common belief has evolved that these children were exploited for economic gain by the Canadian families with whom they were placed and for the relief of the British public purse.

Dr. Patricia Roberts-Pichette has found that the history of John T. Middlemore’s Children’s Emigration Homes, which settled more than 5,000 children in Canada, is strikingly different from the usual negative accounts of the emigration agencies. The experiences of Middlemore children were mainly positive and most of them thrived. The Middlemore story became her passion to relate.

Great Canadian Expectations: The Middlemore Experience is the result of fifteen years of research by the author. Unlimited access to all extant Middlemore files up to 1936, to contemporary reports, and the personal communications and meetings with Middlemore family members and descendants of Middlemore home children have given Dr. Roberts- Pichette a unique perspective on the work of the Middlemore agency and its homes.

The author concludes that John T. Middlemore’s motivations were truly altruistic and that his organization’s procedures were in accord with the best contemporary social practice. Her book explores government policy changes over the whole period of juvenile immigration and reveals the influence of eugenicists in helping end the juvenile immigration movement in Canada. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the movement’s causes and evolution.

Contents include:
  • List of Illustrations
  • Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview
  • Chapter 2: City of a Thousand Trades: Birmingham to the End of the Nineteenth Century
  • Chapter 3: John Throgmorton Middlemore and His Family
  • Chapter 4: The Children’s Emigration Homes in Birmingham, England
  • Chapter 5: From England to Canada
  • Chapter 6: The First Middlemore Receiving and Distributing Home in Canada
  • Chapter 7: Canadian Attitudes to Juvenile Immigrants and the Responses from Canadian Governments (1869–1890s)
  • Chapter 8: The Switch to the Maritimes
  • Chapter 9: The Middlemore Home at Fairview Station, Nova Scotia
  • Chapter 10: Confusion, Confrontation and the Fight for Control
  • Chapter 11: The End of Middlemore Emigration to the Maritimes
  • Chapter 12: From Middlemore Emigration Homes to Middlemore Family Centre
    1. Social Safety Nets in Birmingham
    2. Examples of the Backgrounds of Children Admitted to The Homes
    3. Homes Committee Membership (1874–1936)
    4. Staff Members of The Homes (1872–1936)
    5. Birmingham Schools Attended by Middlemore Children
    6. The First Middlemore Party
    7. Voyages of Middlemore Parties to Canada (1873–1932)
    8. Institutions Sending Children to The Homes for Settlement in Canada
    9. Middlemore Staff and Committee Members in Canada
    10. Comparison of Policies and Activities of the Children’s Emigration Homes with Those of Other Emigration Agencies
    11. Comments on Provincial Laws Affecting Children in Ontario and the Maritimes
    12. Transcript of the Toronto Globe article dated November 3, 1925
  • Notes on the Middlemore records used in this study
  • References
  • Index     Click to browse the Index
  • "Solid academic research on the history of Canadian immigration is always valued by the Canadian Immigration Historical Society, and it is indeed a joy to share such a study with our readers..... This is an interesting read for any student of history but even more so for students of immigration history. The appendices and bibliography are thorough and provide many roads for the historians and genealogists to tread. More importantly, it fills a gap in the under-developed body of literature about the home children, a significant chapter in the story of Canadian immigration." (Complete review)
    - Charlene Elgee, retired library manager, Citizenship & Immigration Canada

  • "If you descend from a Middlemore home child this book is an essential resource for understanding their experience. If there are other books on home children on your bookshelves this is one that should be added, and that includes the shelves of Canadian academic and public libraries. Social historians will appreciate the treatment of the conditions that resulted in the rise and fall of the home child movement at large, both in Canada and Britain." (Complete review)
    - John D. Reid, Canadian Anglo Celtic Connections
About the author:
Patricia Roberts-Pichette, Ph.D. was born in New Zealand where she received her early education before completing her graduate studies in the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. She then taught for 10 years at the University of New Brunswick, following which she served twenty-five years in the Canadian federal and international public services. In 2001, with other volunteers of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, she helped prepare a nominal index of the children mentioned in the microfilmed archives of Middlemore Homes records held by Library and Archives Canada. This work helped spark her interest in the juvenile emigration movement.

Book details:

332 Pages
8.25 X 10.75"
Paperback (perfectbound)
Published by Global Heritage Press, Ottawa, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77240-046-5 (Softcover)

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