The North Canton Heritage Society is partnering with Walsh University’s Hoover Historical Center, with support from Ohio Humanities, 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 who were brought to North Canton in 1940 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 last of the children returned home after WWII ended in 1945.
The Commemorative Series 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 the North Canton City Schools. All events are free and open to the public.
The Heritage Society’s portion will be an exhibit called “The War Hits Home: North Canton During World War II.” Included in this exhibit will be items such as uniforms and ration cards, plus articles and advertisements from the North Canton Sun and photos from our collection. Pictures of the 27 young men from North Canton who died in service to their country will be featured on one exhibit panel.
The Society is also sponsoring a panel discussion “North Canton and the Home Front” on Wednesday, September 16 at 6 p.m. at the North Canton Library. Local residents will share their experiences living in North Canton or working at The Hoover Company during the war years. The Society’s exhibit will also be open after the panel that evening until 8:30 p.m.
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 vintage films at the Canton Palace Theater, a discussion entitled “Historical Perspectives on the Blitz” at Walsh University on September 22, with Dr. Peter Stansky, Stanford University and book-related events at the Library. For a full list of series events, visit the official website at www.walsh.edu/WarChildren