PETT News

liverpool1'During the 19th and 20th centuries, about 130,000 children were sent from the UK to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe to give them a fresh start and to boost the population of developing nations. The last ones went as recently as 1970. Some did well, but many were exploited and deceived by those who should have safeguarded them. It is only in recent years that public apologies have led to serious attempts by the British and Australian governments to help those who were mistreated.'

On Monday 15th October, the PETT team took part in 'Child Migration: Lessons for Today' a conference organised by the The Child Care History Network and the Child Migrants Trust and held at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool.  The PETT team also manned the registration table, and provided impromptu technical support throughout the day. We also recorded all the sessions throughout the day and will be editing and uploading them with the permissions of the speakers to the Child Care History Network website. They are also available, of course, at the Archive and Study Centre itself - just bring a set of headphones, or borrow one of ours, and listen away!

The conference was attended by historians, professionals in the field of social care, as well as individuals directly affected by child migration.  In a very moving presentation, John Hennesey, himself sent as a child to Bindoon in Australia, spoke candidly about his experiences, and about how, thanks to the work of the Child Migrants Trust, he had been reunited in England with the mother he did not know he had, 67 years after he had been sent away.  Addressing the conference, he said this was not a story, or something you read in a book: 'We are living history'.  He urged the audience to do something, to help raise awareness of the Child Migrants campaign and the need for justice: 'If you sit down and do nothing, you're as guilty as they are'.  

Professor Roy Parker, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bristol, Fellow of the Centre for Social Policy at Dartington, and author of 'Uprooted: The Shipment of Poor Children to Canada' (2008) talked about the 'push and pull' factors which led to 80,000 children being sent to Canada between 1867-1917.  He noted that ideas of Empire and religious notions that children might be 'saved', as well as a political social-engineering impetus to break the cycle of pauperism were among the push factors, while the need for cheap casual labour and race concerns were driving demand from abroad.  He surmised that these were children that were 'needed but not wanted' and stressed the psychological and social damage that was caused.  In thinking about lessons for today, he noted that little has changed, and urged us to think about the current international situation with children and young people still being uprooted, leaving the conference to consider whose testimony we are really listening to when it comes to child migrants.

Margaret Humphreys CBE, founder of the Child Migrants Trust and author of 'Empty Cradles' (later made into the film 'Oranges and Sunshine') has campaigned for government recognition of Britain's Child Migrants and their ongoing rights and needs for over 25 years. She spoke about how more needs to be done in the UK to recognise and acknowledge the displaced lives of thousands of children who were sent to Australia, New Zealand and Canada as late as the 1970s.   It was through the Trust that John Hennessy had been reunited with his mother after 67 years abroad, a time during which neither had known anything of the other.  Margaret Humphreys noted that an exhibition on Child Migrants originating at the Merseyside Maritime Museum has reached a large national audience in Australia with much press attention, while ironically failing to get funding for a tour in Britain:  The interest and awareness in the UK is still too limited.  

Jim Hyland, a former care services manager with a keen interest in the history of the sector, then talked about the role of Catholic agencies in child migration, referencing the children who were sent to institutions, farms and schools run by Catholic orders between 1939 and 1956.   He explained that Caritas embarked on their own Child Migrant project in 2001 which saw the creation of a database of Catholic children sent in such circumstances.  Since 2001, it has had over 260 requests from people searching for their families, hoping to tell their story and wanting to return to the UK.  

The next speaker, former MP David Hinchliffe, had played a key role in bringing the issue to national attention as Chair of the Health Select Committee. He told how he himself had discovered the devastating history of Child Migration - of visiting Australia and conducting a number of evidence sessions where child migrants told their difficult and moving stories to the Select Committee.  He described the Child Migrants as an ongoing source of national embarrassment and shame, and asked who really bears responsibility for it.  He also noted that child exploitation is still an issue, with vulnerable youngsters - such as unaccompanied asylum seekers - still being abandoned to their fate;  and if responsibility is being shifted, he asked whether we'll be looking back on some of our current practice with the similar shame we feel in relation to the Child Migrants. In particular he drew parallels with the current policy of private venture capitalists in providing child care for profit, tranforming vulnerable children into commodities,  and warned that we may take action with a child with the best of intentions but the outcomes may not always be what we had hoped and expected.  

A final panel session involving all the speakers prompted a lively discussion and reflection on the issues raised during the day.  Darren Coyne, of the Care Leavers Association and a member of the Child Care History Network Board, drew parallels between the issues faced by Child Migrants with care leavers such as himself and those he works with – adults who are seeking answers about themselves, who want to find and access the files about them, who are seeking a sense of identity, but who are often blocked, and thwarted, by lack of information and resources, by legislation and the mis-application of the Data Protection Act, and by attitudes which treat care leavers and child migrants as if they can not be trusted with their own information.   He spoke of the frustration care leavers experienced  with  redacted files - the elimination of third party information in the name of Data Protection, which could result in being given meaningless documents shorn of any context or details about the care leaver's life while growing up. He spoke of the fraustration of the 'corporate parent' restricting the information that can be accessed: that files are seen as the agency's, and not as the containers of the child's history to which the child had a right.  

It was suggested that a Royal Commission or government inquiry into the Child Migrants could not afford to ignore current practice and legislation.  Margaret Humphreys explained that only the fullest acknowledgement of the truth will bring justice. While the government apology in 2010 gave recognition and made a huge difference to child migrants, who finally felt they were being believed, she explained that an apology should mark the beginning of reconciliation, not the end.  John Hennesey agreed that consciousness seems higher in Australia, where there had been a major government enquiry, and where the Prime Minister's apology had been part of a wider act of social reconciliation including the National Library of Australia's "Child Migrants and Forgotten Australians Oral History Project",  and asked whether, in Britain, we are in denial about our history. 

He said he wished that the press had attended the Conference in order to help raise public awareness -  but hoped that the message would nevertheless carry and go out from the Conference: 'Let us know why it happened'.

For more information:

Care Leavers Association

Child Migrants Trust

Child Care History Network

Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Project

 

Day 14: Our Final Day of the PETTATHON.
We hope you enjoy it. If you're not inspired by the Guest Blog, "Together We Heal" by Stephanie McMahon of CooperRiis in North Carolina, meditate on Brian Hill and John Macmurray - poetry and philosophy together over tea and biscuits in post-War orkshire.
"What's PETT ever done for me?" Ten Years of Creativity, Proof of Concept, and Community Building http://www.pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/there-s-too-much-more-but-let-s-stop-with-this
PETT Showcase: "Brian Hill and John Macmurray" http://www.pettrust.org.uk/pett-showcase/blog
Guest Blogs: "Together We Heal" by Stephanie McMahon http://www.pettrust.org.uk/guest-blogs/blog
Plus a final, last-day bonus page: "What's PETT ever done for me?" : Recent Library Purchases: http://www.pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/bonus-page-recent-library-purchase

Day 14: Our Final Day of the PETTATHON!


We hope you enjoy it. If you're not inspired by the Guest Blog, "Together We Heal" by Stephanie McMahon of CooperRiis in North Carolina, meditate on Brian Hill and John Macmurray - poetry and philosophy together over tea and biscuits in post-War Yorkshire.


"What's PETT ever done for me?" Ten Years of Creativity, Proof of Concept, and Community Building http://www.pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/there-s-too-much-more-but-let-s-stop-with-this

PETT Showcase: "Brian Hill and John Macmurray" http://www.pettrust.org.uk/pett-showcase/blog


Guest Blogs: "Together We Heal" by Stephanie McMahon http://www.pettrust.org.uk/guest-blogs/blog


Favourite Photographs: Windsor Conference 2002 http://www.pettrust.org.uk/favourite-photographs/windsor-conference-2002


Plus a final, last-day bonus page: "What's PETT ever done for me?" : Recent Library Purchases: http://www.pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/bonus-page-recent-library-purchase

 

mydonateIf anything in this brief campaign touches a chord or indicates that we are deserving of your support, please use our 'BT Mydonate' page - to add your £10, £20, £50, £150 to that of others.

An indication of the cost of work and activities here, and how your contribution can have a direct impact, is on our 'Sponsor a...' page.

BTDonate itself does not take anything out of what you give, although your credit or debit card will. Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you (or to us!).

 

Day 13: ORAL HISTORY DAY!

 

"What's PETT ever done for me?": "Other People's Children". They think it's all over... http://www.pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/other-people-s-children-they-think-it-s-all-over

 

Showcase: "Other People's Children': An Oral History http://www.pettrust.org.uk/pett-showcase/blog

 

Guest Blogs: 'Oral History' by Cynthia Brown. http://www.pettrust.org.uk/guest-blogs/blog

 

Favourite Photographs: An Oral History Odyssey http://www.pettrust.org.uk/favourite-photographs/an-oral-history-odyssey

 

mydonateIf anything in this brief campaign touches a chord or indicates that we are deserving of your support, please use our 'BT Mydonate' page - to add your £10, £20, £50, £150 to that of others.

An indication of the cost of work and activities here, and how your contribution can have a direct impact, is on our 'Sponsor a...' page.

BTDonate itself does not take anything out of what you give, although your credit or debit card will. Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you (or to us!).

 

DAY 12? A day of completeness, wholeness, fulfillment (a la Carl Jung)? Well, just possibly...but there are two more days to come!!

Today's delights:

What has PETT ever done for me? - 'Possibly more than you realise...possibly more than we realise'
http://pettrust.org.uk/what-s-pett-ever-done-for-me/possibly-more-than-you-realise-possibly-more-than-we-realist

PETT Showcase - 'Training' An example from a 2009 collaboration between the Mulberry Bush and PETT http://pettrust.org.uk/pett-showcase/training

Guest Blog - 'The Market Place for Residential Care' Kevin Gallagher http://pettrust.org.uk/guest-blogs/the-market-place-for-residential-care-by-kevin-gallagher

Favourite Photographs - 'Moments in History' http://pettrust.org.uk/favourite-photographs/charterhouse-group-1998

 

mydonateIf anything in this brief campaign touches a chord or indicates that we are deserving of your support, please use our 'BT Mydonate' page - to add your £10, £20, £50, £150 to that of others.

An indication of the cost of work and activities here, and how your contribution can have a direct impact, is on our 'Sponsor a...' page.

BTDonate itself does not take anything out of what you give, although your credit or debit card will. Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you (or to us!).

 

Guest Blog - 'Anxiety Audit' by David Kennard [What does a pioneer - which is to say, someone breaking ground ahead of us - consider at the beginning of each day?]

PETT Showcase - 'The Second Lives of Objects' - a virtual archive tour [Breaking new ground for us!]

"What has PETT ever done for me?" 'Admin and a whole lot more...' [A surprising journey into the heart of PETT]   

Favourite Photographs - 'It takes a family to build an archive' [Archivist's self-indulgence]

mydonateIf anything in this brief campaign touches a chord or indicates that we are deserving of your support, please use our 'BT Mydonate' page - to add your £10, £20, £50, £150 to that of others.

An indication of the cost of work and activities here, and how your contribution can have a direct impact, is on our 'Sponsor a...' page.

BTDonate itself does not take anything out of what you give, although your credit or debit card will. Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you (or to us!).

 

Day 10: Putting the OH! into PETTathOn ...Or is that

richevilOH NO!!! RICH'S EVIL TWIN HAS TAKEN OVER THE pettathon HOMEPAGE!! Hahahahahaha

(meanwhile, back at the ranch...)

Guest Blog - 'Renewal of Hope' by Carolyn L. Mears who visited the Trust this Summer

PETT Showcase - 'The Archive Bytes Back!!'  See how archives can inspire allsorts of activity! 

"What has PETT ever done for me?" Built up a subtantial audio/video reference collection

Favourite Photographs - 'Arbours celebrates 30th anniversary at the mode'


With Christmas coming, and for seasonal inspiration on targeted donation and adopt-a ideas, have a look at the 'Sponsor a...' page

mydonateAnd, to save us from the Evil Twin, or if anything in the many pages we're putting together touches a chord - please use our 'BT Mydonate' page - to add your support to that of others. If you are a U.K. tax payer, Gift Aiding your donation will add 25% in value to your gift without any additional cost to you.

Or, cheques can be sent to PETT, Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington near Cheltenham, Glos. GL54 5DQ

With very many thanks, as always,

The PETT Team x