About the Project

St. Jeromes College established 1865 in the village of Berlin. Current home of the Lyle S Hallman Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Image circa 1907 courtesy of the Kitchener Public Library

St. Jeromes College established 1865 in the village of Berlin. Current home of the Lyle S Hallman Faculty of Social Work in downtown Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Image circa 1907 courtesy of the Kitchener Public Library

With support from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) the Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) at Wilfrid Laurier University, is undertaking a historical case study of the Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge (1869-1950).

This archival research project involve the digitalization of archival materials and the creation of this virtual museum exhibit.

Purpose of the Project:

This project aims to produce a social history of the people who were involved with the Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge. Our research includes the collection and analysis of archival information to share a piece of Waterloo Region’s history that has been to date, largely untold.

We seek to reveal the stories, experiences and perspectives of residents, staff and community leaders associated with the House. The project includes an examination of the establishment, governance, procedures and practices of the House.

We will also explore how today’s current ways of helping in a social work context are shaped by the past. As social workers we are interested in how charitable work was organized within the context of the poorhouse, how social, political and economic contexts impacted the everyday lives of people in the late 19th century and into the 20th century.

As an academic partner in the Kitchener downtown core, we are interested in contributing to the historical memory of the Waterloo Region and the City of Kitchener.

And finally, we aim to honour the memories of the poorhouse residents with this humble attempt at better understanding their everyday lives, struggles and strengths.

Special thanks to the living relatives of people who lived and worked at the House who have generously contributed information, artifacts and stories. 

Do you want to know more about a relative from the House?

Do you have a story to share about the House or about someone who lived or worked at the House?

Please Contact Us

Who we are

Principal Investigators of this project are Dr. Sandy Hoy and Dr. Ginette Lafrenière from the Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) at the Lyle S Hallman Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener, Ontario Canada.

This project is made possible through the hard work and commitment of our research team and our supportive collaborators and contributors.

We are appreciative of the financial support provided by our funding partners that facilitated our efforts.

Members of the research team (past and present):

  • Laura Coakley
  • Brianne Haydon
  • Sarah Major
  • Kathleen Slofstra
  • Courtney Johnston
  • Mike Voisin
  • David Siebert
  • Missy Anderson
  • Nathan Metzger
  • Ben Capili

Collaborators & Contributors

Charlotte Woodley, Archivist Region of Waterloo Archives

Darryl Bonk, Waterloo Region Generations

Website Design and Support

10am Creative Media

Financial Supports Provided By

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant

Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation

 

 

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