Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Attitudes toward Home Children

I confess to being a bit surprised when I, along with nearly 200 others, heard Gloria Tubman make the comment last Saturday during her BIFHSGO presentation Researching Grandmother: An Education that there was no prejudice against Home Children until about 1980.
Gloria's grandmother was a home child so it's hardly surprising that in her family there was no stigma attached. She felt that the stigma has only been added since about 1980 with TV programs and more information about home children.
That's different from my understanding, but it wasn't something I'd researched. Here are some extracts from the Toronto Globe (and Mail).

An article on Dr. Barnardo's work from September 21, 1905
"in the early stage… not enough care was taken to select the proper kind of young immigrants, and the work was regarded with a good deal of distrust in this country, but as time passed the working of the system improved so that latterly there has been little cause for complaint."

An article from December 13, 1924 "Children of Britain Settled in Dominion have Fortunate Lot"

Canada is a most desirable land for the British youth, boy or girl. There is no prejudice in the Dominion against the "home" child and farmers' sons are not reluctant in selecting "home" girls for their wives. Those children at present in farm homes in the Dominion are, in the main, "thoroughly happy, and would on no account return it to the Old Country."
However, later in the article there is reference to the impression that "Canada is being used as a dumping ground for undesirables."

As with almost everything concerned with home children, there are mixed opinions. If you knew of a situation firsthand, positive or negative, your attitude would be set by the experience. If you didn't it would be stories you heard, likely through in newspapers; and we all know that it's the exceptional situation, likely not good news, that makes the papers .

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