Shaftesbury Homes


The National Refuge for Homeless and Destitute Children in London, England, came to be known as the Shaftesbury Homes. They were named for their patron, Lord Ashley, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, a social reformer and one of the founders of the Ragged School Unions. The Shaftesbury organization also operated the CHICHESTER and ARETHUSA training ships on the River Thames.

In the early 1880s, children were being sent from the Shaftesbury Homes to Hamilton, Ontario. By 1887, the receiving home was moved to Wingham, Ontario. Another receiving home was opened in Winnipeg.

The organization was later renamed the Children's Aid Society of London.

Approximately 1,200 children were sent to Canada by the time the Canadian operations ended during the First World War.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Department of Agriculture: General Correspondence (RG17)

Before 1892, immigration was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. There are files relating to various sending agencies, including Shaftesbury. Those records have been indexed by name in our Home Children Records database.

Immigration Branch: Central Registry Files (RG76 B1a)

This series contains correspondence between the Immigration Branch and many of the sending organizations. The files contain a variety of documents relating to the activities of the organizations, often including annual reports, lists of children's names and medical certificates. The documents within each file are arranged by date. Microfilm reels can be viewed on site.

Most of the microfilm reels in this series are digitized on the free website Héritage. Enter the reel number in the search box, e.g. C-4715. If the reel is digitized, click on the reel title to see the images. The page contents are not searchable, but you can skip ahead through the images to find the volume and file of interest, then browse through the pages in that file.

File title: Children's Aid Society, Shaftesbury Home
RG 76, volume 81, file 7017, 1892-1907, microfilm C-4747

Research in Other Institutions

To request a search of the records, contact Shaftesbury Young People.

Research Online

Published Sources

  • The golden bridge: young immigrants to Canada, 1833-1939 by Marjorie Kohli, pages 201-203. (AMICUS 28334219)

Other Resources

See our Home Children 1869-1932 page for links to other research sources, websites and institutions in Canada and the United Kingdom.

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