Really? A residential school for British children? Yes. Here. It happened here.
Recently I became aware of The Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School, a residential school for underprivileged British children that opened in Cowichan Station in 1935. The more I learned, the more it fascinated me. It also broke my heart a little.
About 350 children came through our local Fairbridge Farm School (there were branches in Australia, too) between 1935 and 1952. Some of them were as young as four years old. Some were orphans, others were willingly surrendered by their parents, sent away away from distressed industrial cities like Newcastle and Glasgow to seek a better life full of opportunity in the colony of Canada.
Make no mistake, this was a residential school. Young children left their families behind to live in a foreign country where they were given an education and expected to labour on the working farmland.
I’m writing a story about these children, the vision for Fairbridge, and the legacy for the children and the land. Watch this space for a link when it’s ready.