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University of Liverpool Special Collections & Archives (Liverpool, UK)

    Sample collection on women migrants at the University of Liverpool Special Collections & Archives below

    See more on our catalogue

    Collection title: Papers relating to Maria Rye’s Emigration Home for Destitute Little Girls (UK: 1863-1915)

    Description: Maria Rye (1829-1903) founded the Female Middle Class Emigration Society in 1861 and was responsible for escorting parties of young women to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In 1869 she turned her attention to assisting young girls, usually aged between 5-12 years who were in the workhouses. She appealed for £1000 to finance such a scheme in a letter to The Times in March 1869. She was clearly successful as the first party of 76 children, many of whom were from Liverpool workhouse schools, sailed from Liverpool to Canada on the SS Hibernian six months later. In 1874 the Local Government Board commissioned Andrew Doyle, one of its senior inspectors, to report back on all aspects relating to the emigration of workhouse children to Canada, with particular concern to the schemes operated by Maria Rye and Anne Macpherson. Doyle’s report was so critical of both the policy and the practice, especially regarding Maria Rye’s scheme that the Local Government Board stopped the emigration of children from workhouses in March 1875, a decision that forced Maria Rye to effectively suspend activities for two years.

    Maria Rye was assisted in her work by her sister Miss Bessie Rye and her secretary Miss Elizabeth Stills. After a serious illness in 1895 Maria Rye retired, passing the management of the organisation onto the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society.

    Emigration through the scheme ceased in July 1915 when the Home closed. The collection contains papers relating to Maria Rye’s Emigration Home for Destitute Little Girls, Avenue House, High Street, Peckham, comprising: Annual Reports and Statistics 1874-1894; reports and publicity 1869-1878; newspaper articles and lectures 1863-1903; Correspondence 1875-1893; photographs and engravings c. 1870s

    Archive address: University of Liverpool Library – Sydney Jones Library- PO BOX 123 – Liverpool L69 3DA.

    Reference number: GB 141 D630

    Links: The catalogue is available from the University of Liverpool Special Collections & Archives and details here.

    Publications: Diamond, Marion. Emigration and empire : the life of Maria S. Rye. New York : Garland Pub, 1999..

    Contributor: Marie Ruiz