Who were these children?


Bristol Emigration Society




About us, how we can help


The Database


We want to ensure that the Bristol children are not forgotten and are working to raise awareness of what happened to them.


Shirley Hodgson    email:

We have a database which holds information about their life in England, their journey across the sea and their arrival in Canada - if  the records have survived. 

We will do what we can to help you if you are searching for records of these children.

We have encountered many problems in our search for information.  Most English records are closed for either 75 or 100 years.  The survival rate for the Poor Law records in Bristol is not good.  Bristol, and Barton Regis Workhouse records were housed in St Peters Hospital which received a direct hit in a 1940 bomb raid. All records housed in the building were destroyed.  Many of the early records from schools in Bristol have not survived either, as the quality of the record keeping varied from institution to institution.  Fortunately, the census records and data from the rootsweb 'freebmd' web site can help us trace these children.  Please be warned that for every researcher we can help there is always another left with out information.

The old Bristol Mint was purchased in 1696 to be used as a workhouse.  It was later called St Peter's Hospital as in 1820 85 inmates looked after 306 sick ones.

There are no passenger lists for Canada in Bristol surviving lists for this country can be accessed at the National Archives, Richmond Avenue, Kew, London (they are not available on-line).  They start from 1890 but you need to know the date and/or a ship to be successful in your search.  We have used records in the archives in Ottawa, Bristol Records Office and Bristol Central Library in our search for information.  Passenger lists and other records can be found at the Canadian Archives in Ottawa.  School records and some surviving documents and papers are found at the Records Office in Bristol. The National Archives at Kew also hold the minutes of the Board of Guardians and copies of some of the local government papers about the placement of the children.
You may like to learn more of the story of the British Home Children. The following books will help:

"The Golden Bridge" by Marjorie Kohli

"Lost Children of the Empire" by Philip Bean and Joy Melville

"The Little Immigrants" by Kenneth Bagnell

"Labouring Children" by Joy Parr

"Children of the Empire" by Gillian Wagner

"Mary Carpenter and the Children of the Streets" by Jo Manton

"Neither Waif Nor Stray: The Search for a Stolen Identity" by Perry Snow

Link to Bristol & Avon Family History Society Website

  Shirley Hodgson 2006