The Commonwealth Games & The Lost Children Project

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Children’s Emigration Homes in Highgate, founded by John Middlemore. Between the years 1873 and 1954 they emigrated over 5000 children chiefly to Canada but also to Australia.

Over 100,000 children were emigrated in total by many different agencies. However, there are also many relatives and descendants living here in the Birmingham area.

We are celebrating this extraordinary Commonwealth link
with a programme of events, with Games related funding and
support from Barratts the builders.
1. July. Launch of a Blue Plaque at St Luke’s Rd, Highgate, where the Homers were established.
2. June to October. A Touring Exhibition on pop up banners finishing at the Back To Backs where it will stay until October.
3. A new play “The Lost Children” to be performed on:


Friday evening, July 29th & Saturday evening, July 30th at the Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery Quarter as part of BirminghamFest
Do please save the dates! Come and support us!

The Lost Children Exhibition


July 14th to end of October at The Back to Backs at Hurst St, B5 4TE
No disability access – steep stairs

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Children’s Emigration Homes in Highgate, founded by John Middlemore. Between the years 1873 and 1954 they emigrated over 5000 deprived children chiefly to Canada but also to Australia aiming to give them children the opportunity of a better life. For many years the children went to farming families in the remote backwoods of Canada and then later to Fairbridge Farm Schools in both Canada and Australia.

Presented by Balsall Heath Local History Society with support from Celebrating Communities funding from Birmingham City Council and Midland Ancestors

Over the last 40 years the Society has grown from strength to strength. We have a fascinating range of publications, some interesting projects and active participation in local events

We are now based in The Old Print Works, in the eighteenth century house which fronts on to the Moseley Road, and next to the Ort Café. Our base is right next to the lovely gallery space at the Works, which is ideal for exhibitions.

Our address is:
Balsall Heath Local History Society
The Old Print Works,
498-506 Moseley Road,
Balsall Heath.
Birmingham B12 9AH

Phone number for the office. 07565 194822
or phone Val Hart: 0121 689 2584

Facebook: Balsall Heath Local History Society
Twitter: @BalsallHeathLHS

Our monthly meetings are held at St Paul’s Venture, Malvern St. off Clifton Road, Balsall Heath, on the last Thursday of most months. The next meeting will be on May 26th,2022. at 7 for a 7.30 pm start.

Why not come along? Visitors and new members are always welcome. We make a charge of £3 for visitors, which includes a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits.

We have an extensive indexed collection of photographs, Directories from the past, maps, local books, resources and a selected range of artefacts for use with schools and groups.

You can also find us on Facebook at Balsall Heath Local History Society.



A Blue Plaque for the Middlemore Homes

2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Children’s Emigration Homes in St Lukes Road, Highgate. Founded by John Middlemore, the Homes emigrated over 5000 children, chiefly to Canada but also Australia, between the years 1873 and 1954. The children were from desperate families who consented to their emigration as they saw it as an opportunity for a better life for them.

The original buildings were demolished in 2018 and the area has now been developed by Barratts the builders for housing. The plaque is surrounded by maple trees as a homage to Canada.

The plaque will stand as an enduring reminder of this extraordinary Commonwealth connection which is also a significant part of Birmingham’s heritage

The Unveiling Launch was a glittering occasion, attended by The Lord Mayor, Birmingham Civic Society representatives, relatives of children who were emigrated and Patricia Roberts -Pichette , the leading authority on the Homes, who flew in specially from Canada for the event.

Programme of Speakers for Meetings May to December, 2022.

Forthcoming Programme

May 26th Les Williams Forgotten Brummies
Some of the people in the recent book by Les, including William Hutton, Thomas Attwood and Joseph Sturge/

June 30th Val Hart . Stories of Lost Children, emigrated by The Middlemore Homes.

July 28th Proposed visit to the recently opened Police Museum. £15pp (£5 dep)

2 p.m. August 25th Stories from the Stones. A walk though Brandwood End Cemetery visiting some of Balsall Heath’s graves.

September 29th AGM and presentation of ‘Lost Balsall Heath.’ lmages of places now gone from our neighbourhood.

October 27th Pat Franklin. Eldred Hallas, Birmingham’s first Labour MP and his contribution to the founding of the Birmingham Municipal Bank.

November 24th Corinne Brazier The Police Strike of 1919

December 15th Richard Churchley A Century of Popular Songs 1860s -1960s

Society Visit to the new Police Museum July 28th

The Lock-Up, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6BJ

Cost £15 per person. Please pay a £5 deposit at the meeting on May 26th or June 30th or pay by the Donate button on the Local History Society website, by the end of June. Places are limited so book early!

The Museum will be open for our group visit from 5 p.m so there is a chance to look round but you can arrive at a time of your own choosing.
Then 6.15 p.m Gather in the basement for refreshments and a talk from 6.30 to 7.30. Another half hour after that to look round until the visit finishes at 8 pm..

Discover what it was really like to spend time on both sides of the bars in our one-of-a-kind police museum, located in the heart of Birmingham. Transport
yourself back in time as you learn about two centuries of policing history

• Explore our Victorian lock-up that was built in 1891 and remained a working police cell block until 2016

• Find out about our policing pioneers, those who worked in the Lock-up and the people who paved the way for equality and inclusivity. The police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, who fought in the world wars and those who died carrying out their duty.

• Discover what life was like for those who stepped through our doors. Find out about some of Birmingham’s most notorious criminals who were held at the lock-up, including the real Peaky Blinders.

• Investigate and solve crimes in our forensics lab.

• Get hands on and join in the fun by taking part in our interactive displays, dress up in our police uniforms or take your very own mugshot.