Monday, 16 November 2009

Saying sorry

Interesting to see that the Australian government will apologise to the thousands of migrants who were sent to that country as children, and that the British government will follow suit. It's a sad story, these kids were from workhouses and slums, sent by charities and other organisations to have a (hopefully) better life elsewhere. But their parents hadn't given permission for them to be taken away. In 1998, the House of Commons Health Committee made recommendations on this matter (including setting up a database and offering counselling services), which also tackled the issue of a formal apology. It states "[the committee] considers that these policies were misguided. To those and their families who see themselves as still deeply scarred it offers sincere regrets. To all it offers a sympathetic recognition of the special challenges they faced in building their lives". Eleven years later, it seems a formal apology is on the cards.

We featured this story in our blog a while back, about the "New Lives for Old" book published by the National Archives (Kew). It's full of heart-breaking first-hand accounts, pictures and letters and is a moving story about a practice which didn't end until the second world war.

You can read it here at the Library, shelfmark GRO.2008.4.1


Jan Usher said...

More information on the cild migrants here:

Jan Usher said...

And a National Library of Australia website: