The Middlemore Homes

The Middlemore Homes (originally the ‘Children’s Emigration Homes’) were founded by John Throgmorton Middlemore in 1872, with the first group of children departing for Canada on 1st May 1873, accompanied by Middlemore, himself.


Hospital Street, Court 17, children living in poverty in Birmingham
Hospital Street, Court 17, children living in the slums of Birmingham


Middlemore’s original mission in opening the homes had arose from observing the desperate conditions of Birmingham’s poor children living in the unhealthy and over-crowded slums of the city, such as those pictured above. Through emigration, his aim was to offer these children the chance of what he perceived would be a better and healthier life in Canada.  The records that survive reveal a mixed picture of the fortunes of these children.


Annual Report from Middlemore Homes showing the benefits to children of a new life away from Birmingham
Annual Report from Middlemore Homes showing ‘before and after’ photographs. 


The Middlemore Homes were one of many agencies involved in child migration to Canada and Australia in the late 19th and early 20th century. Child emigration by the Middlemore Homes continued until 1949 when their emphasis moved towards care within the family unit, and offering assistance to families.

At Archives, Heritage and Photography, at the Library of Birmingham, we hold records relating to the Middlemore Homes, including some child case files and admission records. The amount of information relating to each child varies within these records.

For information relating to our holdings, the catalogue for this collection can be searched on-line at  (The collection reference is MS 517.) With the exception of fragile items, records over 75 years old are available to view in our Wolfson Centre for Archival Research by prior agreed appointment.

Information about children sent to Canada from Middlemore Homes is also held by the National Archives of Canada. You can visit their website at: for further details.

Rachel Clare  


6 thoughts on “The Middlemore Homes”

  1. My grandfather (Thomas Whitehouse) was at the Middlemore Homes. He was sent to Canada in June 1891. Is there anyway we can find his Admission Records to Middlemore Homes? Thank you in advance for your assistance. ~ Gail K. Jacobs

    1. Hi Gail,
      Just came across your message.
      Balsall Heath Local History Society is currently undertaking a research project – The Lost Children- looking at the Middlemore Homes.
      Do get in touch if you want any further details – info on the BHLHS website. We are holding an event this Friday afternoon that you may be interested in.
      Rowena Lyon
      Project Officer, The Lost Children
      07836 783571

  2. I have a record of a friend of my aunt’s being sent to Middlemore KM Home, Edgbaston, Birmingham in 1928. He was 6 years old and arrived in Liverpool from Halifax, Canada on 23/07/1928. Can you please explain why he was shipped from Canada to Liverpool to end up in Middlemore Home. Can you also tell my what KM stands for.

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