Catalogue description PHOTOCOPIES OF LETTERS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND PAPERS SENT TO MRS LOUISA BIRT OF THE SHELTERING HOMES FOR ORPHAN, FATHERLESS AND DESTITUTE CHILDREN, MYRTLE STREET, LIVERPOOL AND MR. R. HUNTER
This record is held by Liverpool Record Office
|Title:||PHOTOCOPIES OF LETTERS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND PAPERS SENT TO MRS LOUISA BIRT OF THE SHELTERING HOMES FOR ORPHAN, FATHERLESS AND DESTITUTE CHILDREN, MYRTLE STREET, LIVERPOOL AND MR. R. HUNTER|
The collection consists of black and white photocopies of letters, photographs and papers sent to Mrs Birt mainly by children in Canada who had previously stayed at the Sheltering Homes. They give an interesting insight into the life of orphans who were sent to Canada and their close relationship with Mrs Birt. Many of the photocopies include notes on the items made by Nick Wraith, the owner of the original letters and papers.
The collection is arranged as follows
920 BIR 1 Papers relating to Edith Barker
920 BIR 2 Papers relating to George Fisher
920 BIR 3 Papers relating to George Eaton
920 BIR 4 Papers relating to Mildred Cade
920 BIR 5 Papers relating to Jessie Roberts
920 BIR 6 Papers relating to Sarah Jones and her children
920 BIR 7 Papers sent by the Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
The records of the Liverpool Sheltering Homes for Orphan, Fatherless and Destitute Children, 1873-1983, (ref: D175) and their registers relating to emigration and legal papers (ref: D6/ii) are held by the University of Liverpool Special Collections and Archives.
The following material relating to the Sheltering Homes and Louisa Birt is available in the Liverpool Local Studies Library:
* L. Birt, 'The Sheltering Homes, Myrtle Street' in Liverpool Review (7 June 1902), pp. 1-2, ref Hf 050 LIB
* L.M. Birt, The Children Home-finder: the story of Annie Macpherson and Louisa Birt (1913), ref: H 920 BIR
* L. Birt, 'A Woman you know: the Sheltering Homes, Myrtle Street, by Mrs Birt' in Liverpool Review (7 June 1902), pp. 1-2, ref: Hf 050 LIV
* Will A. Bradley. Cartoon of Louisa Birt in Liverpool Review (7 June 1902), p. 1, ref: Hf 050 LIV
* Lord Derby (15th Earl), 'Speech at the seventeenth annual meeting of Friends of the Sheltering Home for Orphans and Destitute Children, Town Hall, Liverpool, 29 December 1890' in Speeches and Addresses on Political and Social Questions, pp.484-489, ref: H 825 DER
* M.E. Hipkiss, 'The Liverpool Sheltering Homes: memories of great work nobly done' in Liverpolitan, Volume 5, Number 10 (October 1936), p.43, ref: Hq 052. 721 LIV
* R.H. Lundie, Little Ben and his Guardians: Echoes from the Free Breakfast and the Sheltering Homes (1881), ref H 362.54 LUN
* S.A. Tooley, 'Mrs Birt' in Ladies of Liverpool (1895), pp.170-173, ref H 920.1 TOO. Includes portrait.
* 'The Sheltering Homes for Destitute Children' in Porcupine, Volume 16 (1875), p. 812, ref: Hq 050 POR
* 'At home in Byrom Street' in Liberal Review (4 November 1882), pp.5-7, ref: H f 050 LIB
* 'Mrs Birt's good work' [among the slum children of Liverpool] in Liverpool Citizen (14 January 1888), p.10, ref Hf 050 CIT
* 'Where Emma Welch Lives' [Description of the Sheltering Homes] in Liverpool Review (19 May 1888), p.10, ref H f050 LIV
* 1913 View of the Sheltering Homes in L.M. Birt, Children's Home-Finder (1913), p. 155, ref: H 920 BIR
|Held by:||Liverpool Record Office, not available at The National Archives|
|Physical description:||14 Items|
Access will be granted to any accredited reader.
|Immediate source of acquisition:||
Donated to the Liverpool Record Office in November 2001 by Nick Wraith who purchased the originals at a Cavendish Philatelic Auction.
|Administrative / biographical background:||
In the late 1860s Alexander Balfour and Stephen Williamson, partners in the Liverpool ship-owning firm Balfour, Williamson and Co., became concerned at the numbers of destitute and orphaned children in Liverpool. While attending a conference in London, Balfour along with another Liverpool shipowner John Houghton, heard Annie Macpherson lecture on her work concerning child migration. They approached her to give a lecture in Liverpool, but due to other commitments she was unable to do this, but her sister Louisa Birt, who had assisted her in her work, was willing to come to Liverpool.
In November 1872 a public meeting was held in the Law Association Rooms in Cook Street at which Louisa Birt explained the objects and methods of her work. It was resolved that a society be established in Liverpool to further this work, with the fundraising and management of the home to be kept separate from the London organisation. John Houghton offered the use of premises adjoining the old Byrom Hall Baptist Chapel in Bryom Street, free of both rent and running costs. Formally opened on the 1st May 1873, the purpose of the Liverpool Sheltering Homes was to rescue destitute and neglected children, train them in the home and to accompany groups to a new life in Canada. From Marchmont House in Ontario they were to be placed with good families although they remained to be supervised and visited until they reached the age of eighteen.
With the death of John Houghton in 1883, Liverpool Sheltering Homes had to make the payments for the rent and running costs of the premises, which were felt to be overcrowded and unsuitable. Work began to build a new Home in Myrtle Street, formally opened by Mrs Balfour on 16th November 1889, with a further block of adjacent land given to the Homes in 1895.
Mrs Birt ceased active work in the Homes in 1911 but the family involvement was continued by her daughter Miss Lilian Birt. Mrs Birt died on the 7th May 1915, aged 74. During Louisa Birt's lifetime an estimated 6000 children were emigrated to Canada by the Liverpool Sheltering Homes.
The Homes closed temporarily during the First World War, reopening in 1919. Six years later it was amalgamated with Dr Barnardo's, who closed their own Home in Liverpool and operated out of Myrtle Street. Miss Lilian Birt retired at the time of the amalgamation, though continued her involvement in an advisory capacity.
After the amalgamation the Home became used as a migration and training centre for boys who had left school before they migrated to Canada. In the late 1920s as migration to Canada ceased, it became used as a home for schoolboys until it was eventually closed in 1935 and the building was purchased by the Corporation of Liverpool for use as a Juvenile Employment Centre.
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