ink cloud 1900x800

Home children, 1920s-1960s: a study of the exploitation of British children subject to forced emigration


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January

About this project

This project seeks to investigate the lives of British children who were forced to emigrate to Canada and Australia in the early twentieth century as part of attempts by the state and NGOs to socially cleanse urban Britain.

They were ‘adopted’ by colonial families, ostensibly to improve their future opportunities. Recent interest in the plight of these ‘home children’, some of whom were severely exploited as a result of their trafficking, has sparked a good deal of research into the effects of that emigration on the psychological and emotional well-being of the children involved. But as yet there has been no academic analysis of the conditions that permitted and even enabled the children’s ‘new’ families to exploit the vulnerable minors that were in their care.

Unlike ‘white slave’ children, there was no recognition that these children would need international protection, and there were no international conventions to protect their interests. The theme here is one of economic exploitation and the focus is on the failure of both the new state and the British charities involved in the relocation to prevent the exploitation of children within their adoptive families.

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

Find out more

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

Find out more

The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

Find out more

Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

Find out more


Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level research qualification in a relevant discipline. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

A knowledge of early twentieth century European history and migration is desirable but not essential.

You will be supervised by historians and migration scholars in the Institute. We welcome applicants with a background in economic and social history, twentieth century migration, or equivalent experience in a related subject.

Interviews will be held between 7 and 27 February 2019.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15 March 2019 at the latest.

Studentships will start on 16 September 2019.