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Muckleston Family History Group

researching all references to the surnames Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muckelston and Mackleston please get in touch via the contact us page with any additional information or to correct any errors.

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Barnados Boys

An excellent piece of detective work carried out by Joyce Sullivan solved the mystery of two “Home Children” who were sent to Canada with Dr Barnardo's. I had come across a ships manifest long before census records were readily available and had placed the mystery of who these two boys were in to the quarterly newsletter.


Joyce once worked for Dr Barnardo’s and made enquiries for us, but they could not supply any information. Using her knowledge of the organisation she decided to check the 1891 census for the Dr Barnado’s Home that she knew was situated in Stepney Causeway, London, the census was taken only two months before the ship sailed. Much to her delight she found a Henry Charles Muckleston, aged 14, born in Islington as an inmate in the Home. Now Henry had an older brother called William George Muckleston, who was not at home at the time of the 1891 census, we strongly suspect that he is the WL Muckleston shown on the ships records, which were as follows:

Muckleston, W L                   age 16?                       Sex M

Muckleston, C H                   age 14                         Sex M



Year of Arrival                                    1891

Ship                                                     SS Circassian

Port of Departure                                Liverpool

Departure Date                                   11 June 1891

Port of Arrival                                     Quebec

Arrival Date                                        21 June 1891

Party                                                    Dr Barnados

Comments                                           Via  Londonderry, 12 June 1891


Thomas Barnardo had a vision when he came to London in 1866 and found children sleeping in the streets and being forced to beg for food. It was in 1867 that he set up the Ragged School and started helping the abused, vulnerable, forgotten and neglected children of East London and his work still continues today.

By the time Thomas Barnardo died in 1905, the charity he founded ran 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children. Following his death his work continued and now Barnardo's helps more than 200,000 children, young people and their families every year. Thomas Barnardo believed that every child deserves the best start in life and the chance to fulfil their potential.


Many of the early Barnado’s children found themselves overseas as the following advertisement placed in a Canadian newspaper shows:


Boys for Farm Help


The managers of Dr. Barnardo's Homes invite applications from farmers throughout the country for the boys whom they are sending out periodically from the English homes. The young immigrants vary in age from 10 to 16. They have all passed through a period of practical training, and have been carefully selected from amongst the 4500 now under Dr. Barnardo's care in the English institutions. Of the 6000 who have been placed out in the Dominion up to the present time less than one per cent has been convicted of any species of crime. All communications should be addressed .


Mr. Alfred Owen, Agent,

Dr. Barnardo's Home,

214 Farley Avenue, Toronto.

Henry Charles and William George Muckleston almost certainly went to work on farms. How they came to be in the Barnado’s home is not known. The 1891 shows:

Charles Muckleston, Married, Head, age 44, Painter and Decorator, bn Holborn London

Sophia Muckleston, Married, Wife, age 39, bn Paddington London

John Muckleston, Single, Son, age 20, Painter, bn Clerkenwell

Florence L Muckleston, single, Daughter, age 11, Scholar, bn Clerkenwell

Frank R Muckleston, Son, age 5, Scholar born Hoxton

Harriet M A Muckleston, Daughter, age 2, born Islington.

John was the oldest surviving son of Charles and was clearly following in his father’s footsteps and probably working with him, 4 children had died as infants, Sophia was pregnant with another daughter, Louisa, and their twelfth and final child, another daughter, Amy, was born in 1893.





Sophia Emily Field – mother of the two Barnado’s boys.


Ten years after this ship took the boys to Canada, at the time of the 1901 census, William is living with his parents and carrying out the occupation of a plumber’s labourer, if he is indeed the W L Muckleston who went to Canada then he had clearly returned by this time. William married a Winifred Elizabeth Jane Cole (nee Cousins) in 1904 in All Saints Church, Kings Cross, London. Winifred and her husband Joseph were living in 6 ½ Payne Street, as were the Mucklestons. Often in this area one house was split to allow a number of families to be accommodated. Her husband died in 1903 and it is likely that she turned to a bachelor who she knew well for support and comfort. She was some four years older than William but still a relatively young woman at 34. Although on the marriage certificate William claimed to be 32 possibly to close the age gap. At the time of the marriage William had moved further down Payne Street and was now living at number 47. The marriage produced no children and as Winifred had no children by her first marriage there were no stepchildren. William died in 1954 aged 81.


Henry Charles Muckleston also returned to England for he married Annie Louisa Salmon in Islington, London on 8th October 1905. On 30th October 1905 he and his wife boarded a ship in Liverpool called Lake Erie which was sailing to Quebec, Canada. He had given his occupation as Farmer on the marriage certificate but on the ship’s manifest he gave his occupation as Carman. Was he planning to settle back in Canada or was he taking his bride to see friends – whatever the reason for the trip they returned to England. He could not be found on the 1901 British census and it is likely that he had remained in Canada longer then his brother who was after all two years older. The marriage produced 5 sons and a daughter; unfortunately Henry was to have a short life, dying in 1924, in Croydon, Surrey, aged just 46, his daughter being just 2 years old. His widow Annie went on to have a long life and she died in 1973 in Croydon. They have many descendants alive today.

The likely reason for Henry’s short life may be found in the World War One Soldier’s records which states that Henry Charles Muckleston of 32 Devonshire Road, West Croydon, age 38 belonged to the National Reserve with the 2nd Duke of Cornwall’s Regiment. He signed up for war service on 5th November 1914 at Croydon. He became a private in the Queen’s Regiment until he was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps on 29th April 1917. He was discharged on 3rd October 1917 having served 2 years and 333 days. His character was described as very good. His records show that all his service was done "at home". In his earlier army service he fought at Cape Town, Orange Colony and the Transvaal, he had received the South Africa Medal 5 bars. His next of kin was his wife Annie Louisa Salmon of the same address. On discharge he was given a pension of 8s/3d to be reviewed after 60 wks. His reason for discharge was disability as he was suffering from bronchitis and chronic asthma.


Henry’s grandson Brian has just one reference to him in Canada in a newsletter dated 1st November 1895 for Dr Barnado's entitled “Ups and Downs Toronto”, under Old Friends is listed Henry Charles Muckleston, Greenbank, Ontario June 1891. The date of June 1891 clearly indicates the date he arrived in Canada.


We have also learnt of another family member went to Canada as a Barnado’s Boy but this time he decided to stay and settle there.

On 3rd August 1912 Fred Muckleston the son of James Muckleston and his wife Emma (nee Woodman) was sent to Edmonton, Canada as a home child by Dr Barnado's. He stated that his intended occupation was that of bricklayer. Fred was one of 5 children of this couple and James also had an older son from his first marriage. James worked as a Bricklayer in Toddington, Bedfordshire but times were clearly tough for them to lose a son in this way.


Reports from their son in Canada must have been good as the following year on 7th May 1913 Emma and the rest of her children Orlando, Mary, Arthur and Emily also travelled to Canada. On the ship’s manifesto a question is asked if they had ever been to Canada before and the answer is marked as “To Husband James 1 year”, the one year indicating how long he had been in Canada. To the question do you intend to live permanently in Canada they answered “Yes”. At some point eldest son James, from James’ first marriage joined them as all the family can be found on the 1916 census including 18 year old Fred who was shown as a student.


Many of James’ descendants still remain in Canada to this day including Nancy Dennis (nee Muckleston), Rita McMahon (nee Muckleston), Janet Snydmiller (nee Muckleston), all granddaughters and Sherry Muckleston and Desirae Dennis a great granddaughter.