This is a little of the story of George, Albert and Walter Tickner.
In March 1903 the Local Government Board wrote to each Poor Law Union on the subject of the emigration of orphaned and deserted children. Masters of the workhouses were instructed to prepare lists of children desirous of being emigrated.
Children in Guildford Union Workhouse were asked if they wished to emigrate and in April 1903, the minutes of the Board of Guardians report that three brothers, George, Albert and Walter Tickner, wished to go to Canada. They were sent to Nova Scotia, Canada on the SS Siberian which sailed from Liverpool on the 30th May 1903 and arrived in Nova Scotia, Canada on the 12th June 1903.
The Tickner brothers are listed in the 1901 census in the Guildford Union as paupers. They were the children of Alfred and his wife, Elizabeth Glover, whom he married in 1890 at St John’s Farncombe, Surrey. He was aged 24 and a labourer, son of James Tickner, also a labourer. Elizabeth was aged 22 and a machinist living in Busbridge, her father was Charles Glover, a dyer. Alfred made his mark, Elizabeth signed her name. Their first child, Alfred Charles, was baptised at Farncombe on the 28th September 1890, but died aged ten months and was buried in Nightingale Cemetery, Godalming on the 13th July 1891. The 1891 census lists Alfred, Elizabeth and Alfred Charles living in Farncombe Street. Alfred was born in Godalming and Elizabeth born in Worcester. Albert Tickner was born on the 22nd October 1893 and baptised at St John’s Farncombe on the 28th January 1894, Walter Charles was born on the 19th July 1895 and baptised at Farncombe on the 6th October 1895. On the 6th October 1896 Alfred Tickner, was buried in Nightingale Cemetery, aged 30, a labourer of Bridge Street, Godalming. Three and a half months later a daughter, Beatrice Kate, was born on the 26th January 1897 and baptised on the 12th February 1897 at St Peter and St Paul Church in Godalming.
Elizabeth was left with a newly-born daughter and three boys. In 1899 Elizabeth Tickner married Richard Symes (registered in Guildford). A new marriage possibly meant there was no room for the boys and they were sent to Guildford Union Workhouse.
The brothers were sent to Canada, after at least 3 years’ residence in the Workhouse, as part of Dr Middlemore’s child emigration organisation. After a short time in the Middlemore Home in Birmingham, they were sent to a Receiving Home in Canada. George was aged about 12, Albert about 9 and Walter about 8. In 1872 John Throgmorton Middlemore founded the Children’s Emigration Homes after he saw poor children on Birmingham streets and felt they should have a better and healthier life abroad away from being paupers. In 1893 he started to send children to Nova Scotia and over 5,000 children were sent with Middlemore to Canada. The children came from local workhouses and reformatories in Birmingham and some children were sent by Guildford Union Workhouse. Many organisations participated in sending emigrants until government legislation stopped it in 1948. In 2010 the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown apologised for the United Kingdom’s role in sending over 130,000 children to former colonies.
After a short time, George was placed with Forbes MacDonald in Upper River, Victoria County, where he was reported doing well; Albert was placed with John Franklin Forbes in Goshen, Guysborough County and after problems with his first placement, Walter’s second home was with Roderick McCharles of West Side, Middle River, Victoria County, a family who adopted him.
Like his father, Alfred Tickner, George died in his 30s. He was married to Margaret McQueen and living in Cape Breton Island, when he succumbed to complications from diabetes and died on 12th May 1928.