Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk has declared Saturday, September 28 to be British Home Child Day in Belleville.
Belleville was the home of Marchmont Distribution Home and received 10,000 British Home Children between 1870 and 1925. These young boys and girls, often orphaned, abandoned or from impoverished families, from Britain’s crowded industrial cities were sent to farms and homes in this area for placement as farm workers or domestics. Many current residents are descendants of these British Home Children.
In total about 100,000 children came to Canada under these programs.
The story of Belleville’s Marchmont Home is told in James Gilchrist’s book, Marchmont Distributing Home, Belleville, Ontario, 1870-1925, which is available at the Historical Society Book Store in the Community Archives, 2nd Floor Library Building.
A special historical plaque commemorates these 10,000 British Home Children and is located at Moira Street West and Yeomans Street, placed in conjunction with the British Home Group.