More than 100,000 children were sent to Canada from heavily industrialized areas in Britain between 1869 and 1948 in the belief that they would have a better future. For many, their lives were bleak and lonely. They were refused the educational opportunities they would have had back home, forced to do the work of an adult, poorly fed, poorly clothed, and often unpaid.
Almost 200 “orphans” were sent to Prince Edward Island, Canada, as British Home Children between 1893 and 1930. While a few of the children were adopted into families, most of them were used as domestic servants and labourers on farms and in homes across the Island. The average age was 10 ½ and two-thirds of the children were boys. Awful Kind tells their stories through the reports Middlemore agents and Islanders sent back to the Home, and correspondence from Islanders and the children themselves.
“Sara does a fantastic job of putting one into the shoes of these children, triggering an emotional response and allowing us to imagine just how life altering this experience must have been on these children. Sara’s book will go a long way in making sure that the stories of the British Home Children secure their chapter in Canada’s collective history.” – Guy Lauzon, MP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry and sponsor of Bill M-133, which established British Home Child Day