The Wildgoose Chase

I met Chelsea Pensioner Walter Wildgoose in 1977 when he was 87 and I was 26. Through a series of letters written over the last year of his life, he passed along his life story - the workhouse children's home, a life in the British Army witnessing the opening battles of World War I and life in India, a remarkable family surviving the bombs of World War II London. This blog will document my research and progress on the novel I'm writing about this amazing man.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dealing with Incorrigibles at Sheffield Union Homes

Found an interesting resource at the Sheffield Central Library/Local Studies Center that discussed the ways the Homes handled problem children. From Sheffield Union: The Scattered Homes for Children Historical Sketch, presented by the Children’s Homes Committee to the Sheffield Board of Guardians, 20th March 1907, Sheffield Independent Press LTD:

Other Methods of Dealing with the Children. . . Four other methods are in use, viz – a) boarding out; b) emigration; c) training ships for boys; and d) special Homes and training institutions.

Walter always speculated that older brother Harry was sent to Canada after he ran away from the Homes. Haven't been able to verify this, but we're still working on it:

b) Emigration – Within the last five years some 44 children have been emigrated to Canada, either through Dr. Barnardo’s Homes or the Catholic Emigrating Association (Father Berry’s Homes), and in reference to the large majority of these children we have encouraging reports.

Wonder if Harry was among the 44?

Walter and Bert, of course, were sent to the training ships - Walter to the "Clio" and Bert to the "Southampton" (picture above is of the Southampton boys):

c) Training Ships – In the case of boys who appear to require a more rigorous discipline than our Homes provide, and especially with those given to absconding, we have found training on ship-board a useful expedient. Within the same period of five years six boys have been sent to the “Southampton,” on the Humber, four to the “Clio,” at Bangor, and one to the “Wellesley” on the Tyne. The authorities of these ships undertake the responsibility of placing the boys out on their discharge.

Still hard for me to imagine Walter as requiring a "more rigorous discipline" since he was the model of respectability when I knew him.
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posted by MaryB @ 4:45 PM  


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