Thursday, June 13, 2013

Child Emigrants to the Cape Colony Part 5: Sources


The most comprehensive published source is Geoff Blackburn’s ‘The Children’s Friend Society’, which includes an index to the names of children sent to the Cape as well as embarkation rolls (those which survive) and letters written by some child emigrants. This book also discusses children sent to Western Australia and Canada; generally these fared better than the child emigrants to the Cape.

Should you wish to dig deeper, the CFS Annual Reports for 1834 and 1838 are held at the British Library.  The 1836 Report and other CFS material can be found at TNA, Kew in CO 48/204. The 1839 Report is in the Kress-Goldsmith Library, London; a microfilmed version is available at the University of Western Australia.

The Gloucestershire Record Office has a collection known as the Hardwicke Papers, including a volume of pamphlets concerning Brenton and the CFS. Among these are the 1835 and 1836 Annual Reports.

The 1840 ‘Report from the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope relative to the Conditions and Treatment of the Children sent out by the CFS’ is available at TNA Kew in CO 48/207. A reprint has been published by the Irish University Press. A copy of the 1840 Report is held in the Free State Archives, Bloemfontein, SA, in an Imperial Blue Book (VAB IBB Vol 2 Ref 323).

There are numerous press reports (UK) on the CFS from its founding (as the Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy) in November 1830, through its development and successful years up to 1838, the Trubshaw case and Brenton’s death in 1839 and subsequent decline of the Society to 1841.


Brenton, J: Memoir of Captain Edward Pelham Brenton R.N., C.B. with sketches of his professional life and exertions in the cause of humanity as connected with the Children’s Friend Society (London 1842)
Bradlow, E: The Children’s Friend Society at the Cape of Good Hope (Victorian Studies Vol 27 No 2 1984)
Blackburn, G: The Children’s Friend Society: juvenile emigrants to Western Australia, South Africa and Canada 1834-1842  (Western Australia 1993)
Brown, M: Die Children’s Friend Society in Engeland en die Kaap die Goeie Hoop, 1830-1841 (In Afrikaans; Archives year book of South African history 1994)
Bull, E: Aided Immigration from Britain to South Africa 1857-1867 (HSRC Pretoria 1991)
Wagner, G: Children of the Empire (London 1982)
Fowler, Simon: Workhouse, An Everyday Tale of Ultimate Degradation (The National Archives 2007)
Shore, H: Artful Dodgers: Youth & Crime in Early 19th century London (Boydell Press,
London 1999)
Thomas, D: The Victorian Underworld (1998)


Transcripts of embarkation rolls from Blackburn’s book.

Details of the Hibner trial 1827.

Fascinating background information on UK workhouses and their records, photos, maps, lists and the Poor Law Acts.

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