British War Children 75th Anniversary Commemorative Series


School News

Walsh University’s Hoover Historical Center, with support from Ohio Humanities, is proud to present the British War Children 75th Anniversary Commemorative Series. This series of fall events will honor the anniversary of the arrival of 84 WWII British children on Thursday, August 20, 1940, who were brought to North Canton by The Hoover Company. The children, whose parents were employees of Hoover Limited, which was located just outside of London, ranged in age from 2-15 and were fostered by local Stark County families to keep them safe from war-torn Europe. 

The children journeyed to the United States on the ocean liner Samaria and spent several weeks crossing the submarine infested waters of the Atlantic Ocean before arriving safely in New York City and traveling to North Canton. This effort, put forth by H.W. Hoover Sr., President of The Hoover Company, and citizens of Stark County, was undertaken to protect the children of Hoover Limited employees in Great Britain as they faced increasing aerial bombings and the possibility of land invasion by the Germans.  The last of the children returned home after WWII ended in 1945.

The Commemorative Series of events will run from September through October and will be held in collaboration with the North Canton Heritage Society, Canton Palace Theatre, North Canton Public Library and North Canton City Schools. All events are free and open to the public. For a full list of series events,visit the official website at

The culminating event of the series will be the October 7 panel discussion "The British War Children and Their North Canton Neighbors: A Conversation of Memories" at North Canton Hoover High School. The panel will include several surviving British war children who will return to North Canton to personally describe their experiences during their WWII five-year stay in Stark County. Attendees will be able to hear first-hand the memories and personal accounts of the British war children and their American friends.

Other events include a panel discussion "North Canton and the Home Front" on September 16 presented by the North Canton Heritage Society at the North Canton Public Library.  In addition, the public is invited to attend the discussion "Historical Perspectives on the Blitz" at Walsh University on September 22, with Dr. Peter Stansky, Stanford University, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus and author of the book The First Day of the Blitz.

Families can experience period films in the historic Canton Palace Theatre including a showing of Disney’s Pinocchio that recreates an actual outing that was held for the British children when they first arrived in North Canton. A host of exhibitions at the Hoover Historical Center, North Canton Heritage Society and the North Canton Public Library allow participants to learn at their own pace, to engage in deep and continued learning through the study of photographs, artifacts, and archival materials. North Canton Public Library family programing will also include book club discussions, a craft night and American Girl Doll "Celebrate Molly" parties that will also encourage extended discussions about the effect of war on small towns.