Departures podcast episode 8 – Deported Children

Britain is unique in its long history of exporting its own children. In the early 17th century poor children were often rounded up on the streets of London and put on ships to the new American colonies. Well into the 20th century there were official government schemes sending young children out to settle in former colonies such as Canada and Australia with the promise of a better life. While some children were fortunate enough to do well in their new country, for thousands of others the forced migration was a profoundly traumatic experience of family separation, neglect and abuse.

Mukti Jain Campion hears from two former child migrants who were sent to Australia in the early 1950s without their parents’ consent. She also speaks to Margaret Humphreys, founder and director of the Child Migrants Trust which was established to support former British child migrants reunite with their families and asks what lessons can be learned from their experience?

Warning: this episode contains personal accounts of child abuse that listeners may find distressing

A Culture Wise Production for the Migration Museum

Producer: Mukti Jain Campion

Readings: Adrian Preater

Title Music: Shakira Malkani


About our Departures podcast:

Departures is a podcast from the Migration Museum exploring 400 years of emigration from Britain.

What would it take for you to leave your home? To leave everything and everyone you know to move to another country and start again. Over the past 400 years, that’s exactly what millions of British people have been doing. Today, the news headlines are full of stories of migrants trying to come to Britain. But for most of this country’s history, it’s actually been the other way round. And Britain’s emigration rate remains one of the highest in the world. Why has such a small island nation produced so many migrants and how have they shaped the world we live in today? In a new podcast series, Mukti Jain Campion speaks to people who are shedding new light on this often hidden history.

Listen and subscribe to Departures on SpotifyApple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast accompanies the Migration Museum’s exhibition Departures: 400 Years of Emigration from Britain. The exhibition reopens to visitors on Wednesday 19 May 2021. Admission is free and advance booking is not required.

Find out more about our Departures podcast

Image: Children bound for Western Australia under the Child Migration Programme aboard the cruise ship RMS Ormonde at Tilbury docks 18th December 1948 © Dave Bagnell Collection:Alamy Stock Photo