John T. Middlemore founded the Children's Emigration Homes, St. Luke's Road, Birmingham. The emigration of children to Canada began in 1873 and the first receiving home was Guthrie Home in London, Ontario. These children were placed around the London area. Before John Middlemore opened the Fairveiw Home in Nova Scota, he also used the facility of Emma Stirling, Hillfoot between 1893 and 1895.
Some 5,000 children came to Canada with Middlemore.
Stage coach travel was popular in the early 1800's and in 1822, Swartz's Tavern was built by Bartholomew Swartz on land granted to him by Colonel Talbot. The Tavern served as resting point between Burlington and Sandwich (Windsor). Since this area of Westminster Township had strong Reform connections, William Lyon Mackenzie, a prominent leader of the Rebellion, was a guest during the year of 1837. Once the railroad came to the district in 1853, the era of the stage coach trotted to a close.Other owners of the house included Mr. Black, Mr. Ross, the city of London in 1875 and finally, a group from England who renamed it the Guthrie House. Homeless children from England were brought to the house while awaiting placement in Canadian families. An estimated 2,200 boys and girls, called home children, relocated in Guthrie House. You can read about those young people in a book called The Home Child by Barbara Haworth-Attard.
Finally, Frank Spettigue bought the house and property and it remained part of the family estate until the 1950s.
Unfortunately, this rare example of a frame tavern with its wide white front and double row of large windows, was eventually burned down by the city.