Home Children

“Home Children” was the name of a child migration scheme under which more than 100,000 poor or orphaned girls and boys were sent from the United Kingdom to British settler colonies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. My recent research profiles three child migrants sent out of the London-area of England. See the post below for a description of how one Home Girl was sent through the Liverpool Sheltering Homes to the Marchmont Home in Belleville, Ontario. Other posts describe the migration of two Home Children who were sent from an orphanage or a work house through Dr. Barnardo’s organization to Hazelbrae in Peterborough, Ontario and to the Jarvis Street Home in Toronto, Ontario. All of these children found employment with the Mellow family in Uxbridge, Ontario. See my article on Dr. Frank Mellow in this blog. By all accounts, the Mellows were excellent employers who provided each of the girls with a very good living and working situation. This information is based on reports filed by the Home Children organizations who made check-up visits to the Mellow house every 6-8 months to assess the character of the home, the child’s health, the level of satisfaction, and the child’s character. The sites I have used to document this research include heritage.canadiana.ca, familysearch.org, ancestry.ca, findmypast.com and findagrave.com.

From the Limestone Union to the Marchmont Home

Amelia Lilian Sharp (1907-1928) was part of a group of children brought out of a British workhouse and sent to Canada through the Liverpool Sheltering Homes. After she arrived at the Marchmont Home in Belleville, Ontario, she was placed with at least one family before she found employment in the Mellow household in Uxbridge, Ontario. This profile of one of Canada’s Home Children builds on the memorial posted on Find a Grave. Click here for that memorial. My information is based on documents researched on the following sites: Ancestry, Find My Past and Family Search. Thanks also to Elizabeth M. who allowed me to scan the Mellow family photo album and to Brian G. who sent me an inquiry, along with the death certificate, for Amelia Sharp.

Amelia Lilian Sharp was born May 25th, 1907 and baptised on the 10th of September 1907 at St Michael and All Angels, Walthamstow, Essex, England. Her parents were Charles Sharp and Amelia (Scally) Sharp.

Amelia Sharp’s Family

Charles Sharp, born abt. 1882 in Walthamstow, Essex, was a bricklayer. He married Amelia Scally in 1906. Charles likely died July 17th 1915.

Amelia Scally, born 1887 in Walthamstow, Essex, England, was christened on the 9th of May 1888 at St. Michaels and All Angels, Walthamstow, Essex. By the time Amelia (Scally) Sharp reached her mid-20s, she had given birth to six children. She seems to have died in 1926 in West Ham, England.

Amelia (Scally) Sharp, born 1887, died 1926.
Amelia (Scally) Sharp, 1887-1926
photo from Amelia Sharp’s memorial page on Find a Grave.

On the 1911 Census of England, the Sharp family lived at 15 Hervey Park Road, Walthamstow, West Ham. The total children born to Charles and Amelia Sharp: 5. The total children who had died: 2. The 3 living children listed on the Census are the four-year old Amelia (born 1907), the three-year old Elsie (born 1908) and the one-year old Doris (born 1910). While there was also a son, George Sharp — born December 28th, 1910 — he is not included on this 1911 Census.

The Limehouse Union

Amelia Lilian Sharp became an inmate of Limehouse Union, London sometime before 1923.

Limehouse was a workhouse that included a Childrens Establishment. The Stepney Union was in charge of this London-based workhouse. The children placed in the Union houses were wards of the state. The boys were taught and expected to do shoemaking, tailoring, carpentering and farming and the girls laundry, housework, cooking, sewing and knitting. When Limehouse was closed temporarily in 1923, the Liverpool Sheltering Homes took the children under their care.

The Liverpool Sheltering Home

Amelia Sharp departed from Liverpool on 23rd February 1923 and arrived in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada on March 5th 1923. She travelled 3rd class with 29 other children aboard the SS Montcalm. The 29 children all emigrated under the authority of the Sheltering Home for Orphan and Destitute Children, Myrtle Street, Liverpool. Notice on the document above how the ship’s manifest includes Amelia’s brother George Sharp, also from Limehouse Union, London who was supposed to depart at the same time, but for some reason had been crossed off the register.

The Marchmont Home

The Canadian destination of the 29 children was the Marchmont Distribution Home at 193 Moira Street, Belleville, Ontario.

Click here for information about this British Home Children institution.

On her declaration form, Amelia Sharp indicates she is 15 ½ years old, her present and intended occupation is “Domestic,” and she has come to Canada for “Self-improvement.”

Picture taken about 1923. Amelia Sharp is assumed to be the second from the left. Photo found in George Sharp’s trunk and loaded onto his memorial page on Find a Grave.

On the list of children arriving at the Marchmont Home, Amelia Sharp’s first placement is with a Mrs. E. L. Newton.

After eight months in Hastings, Amelia returned to the Marchmont Home then she was sent out to a placement in Belleville. After another eight months in this house, she was sent to Uxbridge.

from Department of Immigration: Juvenile Inspection Report Cards

As you can see in the report card above, Amelia was checked on every 6-8 months by someone from the Home Child organization. The boxes checked off indicate the following categories of assessment: character of the home, child’s health, satisfaction and child’s character. As indicated, each placement scored a “g” for good on all accounts. Mrs. Dr. Mellow is the final employer on the report card and the inspector has summed up the situation in Uxbridge by writing: “Amelia is in a very good home where she is likely to get every attention.” The report card also mentions that here term of indenture has been “completed” in February 1926. This happened after Amelia turned 18 and was no longer a ward of the Homes. Yet even after her binding contract with the Marchmont Home discharged her from service, she chose to remain in the employ of the Mellows. Click here for information about the terms of indenture for British Home Children.

Dr. Mellow’s House

Amelia Sharp arrived at Dr. Frank Mellow’s house in Uxbridge, Ontario December 1925.

Photo of Dr. Frank Mellow’s house in Uxbridge, Ontario. Album donated by the Mellow family to the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, ON.

She worked in the Mellow home as a domestic until her sudden death June 15th 1928. Notice on the death certificate below that Amelia is described as a “Barnardo Home girl.” Perhaps Dr. Mellow identifies her as such because the Marchmont Homes had been taken over by Dr. Barnardo in 1926.

The Mellow family called her Millie. Millie was much loved by Dr. Frank Mellow, his wife Daisy and their son Ross who were all devasted by her untimely death. For my research about the Mellows from Uxbridge, see the blog post here.

Picture of Millie from the Mellow family’s photo album.

Amelia’s brother George Sharp

George Sharp (1910-1978) was supposed to travel to Canada on an earlier ship with his sister, but for some reason had been crossed off that list.

Instead, George Sharp emigrated to Canada a few months after his sister. His ship was the SS Regina, and it left Liverpool on May 25th, 1923 and arrived in Quebec City in June 1923. George Sharp was also sent as a child labourer through the Liverpool Sheltering Home. His declaration indicates he is destined for the Marchmont House, Belleville, Ontario. He is 12 years old, his intended occupation is farming and his object for coming to Canada is “Self-improvement.”

George Sharp worked on a farm near Enterprise, Ontario for many years.

from Department of Immigration: Juvenile Inspection Report Cards
Picture of Amelia’s brother George Sharp taken from his memorial site on Find a Grave.

After the farm was sold, he moved to Kingston and then to Napanee. George Sharp did not marry. He died late April 1978.

After his death, George Sharp’s Home Boy trunk and Bible were donated to the Lennox & Addington County Archives. Click here to see the memorial to George Sharp on the Find a Grave website.

If you have comments about this research, please email me at linda.revie@gmail.com