Miss Rye's Emigration Home for Destitute Little Girls, Peckham, London

Miss Maria Rye was a pioneer of the emigration of orphan children to Canada. She worked both with the poor law authorities and with charitable organisations such as the Waifs and Strays Society.

Maria Rye. © Peter Higginbotham

As well as organising the travel arrangements of the children, she established a home in London, where destitute girls aged from 9 to 14 were accommodated prior to emigration. 'Miss Rye's Emigration Home for Destitute Little Girls' was opened in 1872 at Avenue House, just off the High Street, Peckham. Its object was 'To receive destitute little girls and send them to Canada, where they are placed out in families to be trained for service, the younger ones being adopted by patrons, and brought up as their own children.'

Miss Rye's Emigration Home for Girls, Peckham. © Peter Higginbotham

Avenue House was run by Miss Rye's sister Elizabeth (Bessie). Prior to their emigration, girls usually spent two or three months at the home receiving training in housework, kitchen work and laundry work, that would equip them for employment as domestic servants.

Miss Rye's Emigration Home for Girls, Peckham. © Peter Higginbotham

When Miss Rye retired in 1895, she donated Avenue House to the Waifs and Strays Society, together with her Canadian reception home at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. Avenue House then became the Society's Peckham Emigration Home.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

Bibliography