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Patricia Skidmore

Patricia Skidmore

Photo: Jack Weyler Photo

Patricia Jane Skidmore was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and spent most of her childhood growing up in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam. For her, being a daughter of a child migrant was a shameful and often worrying experience. She didn’t feel that she belonged. There was no sense of family and no roots to ground her to her place of birth. Her mother’s background, her past, her childhood, and her family, were missing, and her mother would not tell her why. It worried her deeply. Her mother rarely spoke of her five years at the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School or why she was sent there as a little girl. It took Patricia well into her adult years to confront the issue — child migration and the role her family played in it — and try to understand it.

Patricia’s first book, Marjorie: Too Afraid To Cry (Dundurn 2012/2013) recreates her mother Marjorie’s early childhood in England and her 1937 journey to Canada as a 10-year-old girl. It opens with the healing journey Patricia took with her mother back to London to be present at the 2010 British Government’s Formal Apology by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, aimed at all British child migrants, sent to the colonies between 1619 and the 1970s.

Patricia’s second book, Marjorie: Her War Years, (Dundurn Summer 2018) follows Marjorie through the turbulent time she faced during her five years at the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School near Cowichan Station on Vancouver Island, BC. When Marjorie turned 16, she was sent to Victoria to work as a domestic servant.

City:
Nanaimo
Province:
BC

Publications

Marjorie Too Afraid To Cry. 2012, Dundurn, Toronto
Marjorie Her War Years. A British Home Child in Canada. 2018, Dundurn, Toronto
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:
Yes

WITS

Presentation Description

British Child Migration to Canada. I have many visual aides including a 15-20 minute slideshow showing my mother Marjorie's 1937 journey as a 10 year old girl - from the Newcastle area of Britian to the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School near Cowichan Station on Vancouver Island BC, along with many photos and images on posterboards, and I have the suitcase that my Uncle brought to Canada with him as a 9 year old boy as well as the tiny aprons my mother wore when she was placed in service in 1942..

Presentation Length:
1 - 1.5 hours
Genre:
Canadian history
Grades:
6-12
Audience Size:
any size