Sunday, 29 April 2018

Exploring the many responses to British Home Children ........ the letter on the mantlepiece

Now I have been wondering just what the impact of the migration of young people had on the general public during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Patterson farm ....... 2009
For those engaged in fund raising for children’s charities and those who regularly read the newspaper accounts of the general meetings of those charities they will have been aware of the policy.

As would those who worked for the Poor Law Unions or were elected to the Board of Guardians.

Likewise amongst the poor there will have been some who had been involved in the migration of a family member or knew of someone who had.

For them it was another strategy or avenue to contemplate when faced with the death of a partner, a sustained period of unemployment or the ongoing grind of relentless poverty.

At which point it is important to stress that this was an awful decision, which was far worse than that of “going into the workhouse” or passing a child over for adoption or to other family members.

But today I have come across another example of how migration might have been perceived.  It came from an anonymous contribution to a blog story on BHC and said

The Griffith's place, 2008
“I don’t have a story other than to say that growing up in an area close to Manchester and Salford our mother would threaten us with sending us away on a ship called the Callio if we misbehaved.

There was a letter on the mantelpiece that she threatened to post, to keep us in line.

I wonder if this had anything to do with the kids that were sent away”. 

Now I don’t have a date, or an exact location and I haven’t yet tracked down a steam ship by that name.

Of course the name may well have been corrupted.

Against this, there is that obvious qualification that we are dealing with just one comment which may refer to something else entirely, and so I won't leap in to offering the comment up as indicative of how BHC migration was regarded by some people.

But that said many of us will have memories of being warned by parents who dangled other dire consequences in front of us and behind many such observation there maybe some historical truth.

We shall see.

Picture; places lived in by our BHC, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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