Bristol's pauper children - Shirley Hodgson


Bristol's pauper children - Shirley Hodgson


Children who were orphaned, destitute, abandoned and living, and sometimes dying, on the streets of Bristol were a common sight in Victorian times. The lucky ones were fed, clothed, educated and taught skills by church and charitable organisations, workhouses, reformatories and industrial schools.

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Run by mostly well-meaning people with philanthropic intentions, the institutions struggled to cope with the number of children in their care and emigration to Canada, for an apparent healthier and more wholesome life, was seen as a solution for some. Bristol children were fi rst sent to Canada in 1870 and after years of painstaking research, Shirley Hodgson has identifi ed 1,500 of them.

However well-intentioned, the migration scheme was seriously fl awed. Few of the younger children were adopted into Canadian families and most were sent to farms to work as agricultural labourers or to homes to work as domestic servants. Often deprived of education and the comforts of family life, many of these children suff ered loneliness and despair.

Shirley Hodgson describes the workings and motives of the organisations formed to care for the poor and vagrant children in the city, and opens a window into their ancestors’ past for the estimated 60,000 Canadians descended from Bristol’s Pauper Children.

Size: 140mm X 215mm
Pages: 256
Published: 26.09.2017