JAKE CLUTCHEY The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Renowned author and speaker, Sandra Joyce will be shedding some light on the long and sometimes dark history of British Home Children at the Uxbridge Historical Centre on Thursday, June 11, at 7 p.m..
British Home Children were children from impoverished British families who were sent to Canada and contractually bound to work and live with a farmer until they were 18-years-old.
From approximately 1839 to 1939, the industrial revolution saw many large rural families moving miles apart to seek employment. Some moved to larger urban areas such as London, Glasgow and Bristol, while some stayed in the country. As the shelters began overcrowding, many children were sent to distribution centers in Canada where farmers would purchase them for labor and pay into an account annually that the distribution centres held for the child. Over 120,000 British Home Children went through this process over the 100 year period.
Approximately 12 per cent of the current population of Ontario is made up of descendants of British Home Children who have ancestors who were distributed from centre’s in Peterborough, Belleville and Toronto. There are many descendants currently living in North Durham.
Presenter Sandra Joyce is a British Home Child descendant. Her father was distributed from a centre in Brockville, Ontario. Ms. Joyce wants to better educate society on this period of time, and is the author of two novels on British Home Children and has taken part in more than 160 presentations across the country, from Alberta to Prince Edward Island since 2011. The Street Arab, released on Sept. 28, 2011, the first British Home Child Day in Ontario, was her first novel, and was followed by the sequel, Belonging. She is also the Director-at-Large for the British Home Child Group, International.
“We need to know our history or we don’t know who we are,” says Ms. Joyce. “I feel that the story needs to be told. Its’ a story that’s crying to be told. I’m really looking forward to going and sharing stories, and people get up and then tell their own stories, so it’s a very interesting evening.”
Both of her books will be available for purchase and admission is by donation, at the Historical Centre on Thursday night, located at 7239 Conc. 6. For more information on the Historical Centre call 905-852-5854. For information on British Home Children and Sandra Joyce’s work, visit her web site, www.sandrajoyce.com or www.britishhomechildgroup-international.com.
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