From the Orphanage to Dr. Barnardo’s Home

This is a profile of British Home Child Lilian Grace Frankies (born about 1906). She came to Canada as a “Barnardo Girl” and found employment with Dr. Mellow’s family in Uxbridge, Ontario. The following post outlines the early part of Lilian’s life using facts and details from the English and Canadian census, a marriage certificate and her ship/passenger manifests. These documents were researched on the and sites.

Lilian Grace Frankies, whose last name is spelled Frankus and Franklin, was born about 1906 in London, England. Her father Arthur Franklen, born 1872 in Norwich, Norfolk and her mother Beatrice Jones, born about 1870 in Norfolk, married around 1901.

Census of England (1911)

On the 1911 Census, Mrs. Franklin appears to be boarding with two other women in a house in Blackpool. Meanwhile, her husband Arthur is a labourer/naavy lodging elsewhere with many other workers. He appears to have died later that year (1911) in Poole, Dorset.

Lilian had been given up to The Orphanage, Old Road, Great Clacton, Essex sometime before 2 April 1911. As you can read below, she appears on the registers as an inmate, her name is spelled Lilian Franklin, her age is given as 8, and she is listed along with her sister Ivy Franklin, also an inmate, age 6. Altogether there are 30 girls living in this Orphanage.

Emigration to Canada (1920)

At age 14, Lilian departed from Southampton, England on the Scandinavian. She travelled with many other girls, all of whom were heading to the Barnado Homes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The photo below shows the Barnardo Homes Receiving and Distribution Centre on Peter Street, Toronto, Ontario. This Home operated from 1909 to 1922. Click on this link to read more about Dr. Barnardo’s Toronto Ontario Homes and Offices.

The ship’s manifest of October 1920 lists her as Lilian Grace Frankie. Lilian’s intended occupation in Canada is “domestic.”

Barnardo Girl

On the passenger declaration, Lilian Grace Frankies indicates that her passage has been paid for by Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, but her next of kin is listed as her mother Mrs. Frankies who lives at 44 St. Anne Road, Notting Hill, England.

This is Lilian Grace Frankie’s name on the Hazelbrae Memorial. The Memorial is located in front of the old Queen Alexander School, which is now called Activity Haven, on Barnardo Avenue in Peterborough.

Dr. Mellow’s House in Uxbridge

Within one year of her arrival in Canada, Lilian is living in Uxbridge, Ontario. On the 1921 Census of Canada, she is a servant in the Mellow house. The other people in residence there include Dr. Frank Mellow, his wife Daisy Mellow and their seven-year old son Ross Mellow. The transcriber of this census document wrote the Mellow’s last name as Miller, thought Daisy’s first name was Darsy, and interpreted Lilian Frankies’ name as Lyian Frankus. (All the variations in spelling make researching into a wild-goose-chase!)

Lilian worked for the Mellows for almost 2 1/2 years (from May 23, 1921-Oct 5, 1923). After Uxbridge, she moved to Toronto, then to Grimsby, and then she got engaged. After she was married (and after she turned 18), she was no longer a ward of the Homes.

from Department of Immigration: Juvenile Inspection Report Cards

On her marriage certificate of 6 October 1924, she writes 538 Jarvis Street, Toronto as her home address. This was the old Cawthra Mulock Residence that served as the Barnardo Headquarters for both boys and girls from 1922-1945. The managers during that time were J.W. Hobday and Rose Hobday. Once the Barnardo Homes shut down, the building was owned by the Salvation Army from 1948-1956. In 1957, it was demolished.

The Barnardo Home at 538 Jarvis Street, Toronto


As you can see on the license below, Lilian Grace Frankies is a spinster (ie not previously married) and still a ward of the Dr. Barnardo Homes (see the entry in the lower left hand corner of the certificate below).

According to some historians, children were often wards of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes until around age 18. Click on this link for more information and other case histories about about Home Children from Britain to Canada.