Double Deckers in Quinte

British Travel Association greeting

A recent transfer of records from the City of Belleville included an intriguing framed item from the British Travel Association, bringing warm greetings to the Mayor and People of Belleville through the medium of the Good Will Caravan of London Buses. The item has been duly added to the Community Archives (reference number CB 6/09) and we have done some more research online and in our newspaper collection to tease out its history.

Tourism from North America has always been a significant source of income to Great Britain, as this article from the Ontario Intelligencer in 1952 makes clear:

Tourist dollars from North America in UK

Visitors from Canada, States Spent 22,500,000 Pounds in Britain in ’51
By JACK GOLDING
Canadian Press Staff Writer .
LONDON (CP)—Visitors from Canada and the United States spent an estimated 22,250,000 pounds in Britain during 1951, not including fares, says the 24th annual report of the British Travel and Holidays Association.
Tourist traffic again represented one of the country’s chief sources of earning Canadian and American dollars. One-third of Britain’s total tourist receipts came from the United States or Canada.
Some 36,000 Canadians visited Britain in 1951, an increase of 5.7 per cent over the previous year. The report notes, however, that there was a tendency for them to spend more time on the continent
than previously. Canadians entering the United Kingdom in 1951 spent 5,950,000 pounds, including fares.
U. S. visitors spent 26,400,000 pounds including fare payments, a sum greater than any of Britain’s visible exports to the United States and equivalent to 20 per cent of all Britain’s physical exports there.
In order of importance in earning U.S. dollars for Britain are: tourists, whisky, woollen yarns and manufactured products, vehicles, other textile manufactures (excluding silk), machinery, . pottery, glass, cotton yarns and manufactures.
Britain expects to make 120,000,000. pounds from the tourist business during 1952 largely in Canadian and U.S. dollars.

The Good Will Caravan of London Buses was part of a campaign by the British Travel Association, in co-operation with London Transport, to encourage more Americans and Canadians to visit the United Kingdom. In 1950 a similar tour had visited European countries to promote the 1951 Festival of Britain, travelling 4,000 miles/6,500 kilometres.

The 1952 tour had started in America in March. This British Pathé news item shows the arrival of the three brand new London Buses in New York:


The buses travelled west to Los Angeles and San Francisco via Cincinnati, Dallas, and Albuquerque, then east again via Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago. While still in America, it was decided to extend the 8,000 mile/13,000km tour to include eastern Canada. The buses visited London, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

The buses arrived in Trenton on July 30th, 1952 and in Belleville on the following day. An advertisement in the Ontario Intelligencer on July 30th promoted the Belleville visit:

London Buses advertisment

Three of London England’s
Famous Double Deck Buses
Will visit BELLEVILLE
ON SHOW JULY 31
from 10.00 a.m. till 12.00 noon
They bring to you greetings and good wishes
from the heart of the Commonwealth. To some
of you they are old friends, turning up where
least expected. To many they are just something
you have read about. But old friends or new
acquaintances, they are an interesting part of old
London, and you will like to see them and
perhaps ride in one of them.
You will like the Cockney Crews that bring
these buses to you. Come along and meet
them. These Crews and thousands like
them braved the blitzes and the blackouts
and they have already driven from
coast to coast to come and
see your town. The British Travel
Association and the London
Transport Executive are
delighted to send you this
goodwill Cavalcade and their
London Crews.

The newspaper reported on the visits the following day:

Buses visit Trenton

British Buses Stop in Town – For Short Visit
TRENTON. — Speaking of big ones fishermen Charlie Hilton and Bill O’Malley of Trenton, caught a salmon trout worthwhile bragging about. They were fishing at Buck Lake the other day and hooked a 15-pound beauty. They were surprised at, the size of the huskie and the fight it put up. It took them just three minutes to heave the big fellow over the side and into their boat. They were using copper line about 150 feet down.
The three British buses travelling United States and Canada arrived here yesterday afternoon, after making a 60 mile detour at Brighton. They came by the back road from Stirling because the bridge crossing the Trent river is not high enough to allow double decked buses to pass.
E. T.Bonny, Osterjey, Isleworth, Middlesex, and a crew driving and maintaining the trams, were greeted here by Mayor Kenneth J. Couch and a delegation from, the town. Mr. Bonny said it. was interesting to note that in London, Canada, the entourage had received the biggest reception. Some 2,800 persons were taken for rides during the stopover there. The expedition was sponsored by the British Travel Association.
Already the three buses with accompanying maintenance vehicles have travelled 9,500 miles across the United States from New York to Los Angeles and back across the country into Canada. At the “hole in the wall” on No. 2 highway at Newcastle the buses scraped through with a half inch to spare.
In Trenton several hundred were taken on sight seeing tours.

Buses visit Belleville

Double Decker London Buses, Personnel on Goodwill Tour Of Ontario Welcomed by City
Double decker London Transport buses on the final lap of a 10,000-mile goodwill tour through United States and Canada provided a tinge of nostalgia for many Belleville and district residents from “over home” when they stopped in the city overnight.
The three double decker buses off the streets of Old London arrived in the city last evening and this morning were viewed by several thousand local residents. Many took the advantage of a short ride in one of the buses and a big percentage of the people. viewing the buses were former English people who had come to Canada to live.
It was a bit of Old England as the Cockney voices answered questions of dozens of interested persons who crowded into the market square area while the buses were on display. People who had visited England or former residents who had not been back home in years sought out the English drivers and conductors with questions relating to “over home” or about the tour.
Kiddies Get Big Kick
Local kiddies got a big kick out of their upper deck ride about the city and the bus did a roaring business during the several hours, in which free rides were offered.
One of the buses was fitted out as a display vehicle with the top deck fitted out with colored pictures of typical English scenery and other points of interest.
Travelling with the buses is a personnel of 22 including drivers, mechanics and representatives of. the British Travel Association, which with London Transport, are joint sponsors of the tour.
The party left England about the middle of March and toured the United States and are returning by way of Canada. They will be away from England about five months.
“Not a holiday, but a real experience,” was the way one of the Cockney drivers described
the trip.
At a civic reception tendered the touring personnel held at the city hall. Mr. Harry Price, public relations representative for the tour, explained that. insofar as Canada was concerned the trip was a goodwill tour. “The American phase of the tour was more of an educational nature,” he said;
Welcomed by Mayor
Mayor A. M. Haig expressed the official welcome to the tdUr personnel and assured that anything concerning England was dear to the hearts of most residents of this city and district.
Attending the reception were most of the city aldermen; heads of civic bodies and presidents of various service clubs and other organizations. Coffee and doughnuts were served by the ladies of the city hall staff.’
Following their arrival in the city last night, Mr. Price, Edwin Hills and Edwin T. Bonny, mechanical supervisor, were entertained to dinner by the Industrial Commission.
The high double decker English buses are not built for Canadian highways, it has been found by their drivers, who have to make numerous; detours around low bridges and subways.
Had to Make Detour
For instance they could not get under the highway bridge at Trenton and had to go north around by Campbellford to get across the Trent River.
Double, decker buses are favored in England because of their high seating capacity-56 passengers—with compact dimensions. It is explained that short highly manoeuvrable vehicles are essential in many of England’s old cities and towns with their traffic congested, narrow winding streets and sharp corners.
They are powered with 125 horsepower diesel engines. London Transport has 7,250 double deck buses, and another 1,000 single deckers.

The buses returned to England in August 1952 and entered normal service in London. One of the buses was acquired by the London Bus Museum in 1977 and has been restored to its condition at the time of the 1952 tour. It is now on display at the museum.

RT2775 (photo by Peter Zabek, courtesy of the London Bus Museum)

Does anyone remember the visit of the buses to Trenton or Belleville?


Further reading:
Transport for London Corporate Archives Research Guide No 40: Overseas Bus Tours
London Bus Museum 1952 AEC Regent III bus – RT2775

By | September 9th, 2019|Featured item, News|0 Comments

10,000 (and counting!)

This week the Community Archives has passed a numerical milestone in our photographic digitization project, with the uploading of our ten thousandth image to the photo-sharing website, Flickr. Our project began with the sharing of the Grace Waters photograph album, showing scenes of nursing during the First World War. This image was the first one added to Flickr, in August 2015.

Group of nurses in First World War uniforms

Grace B. Waters album

Since then, a range of summer students and volunteers have been helping to scan, describe, and share the extensive collection of photographs amassed by the Hastings County Historical Society from 1957 to 2010. The photographs record buildings (many now vanished), people, and local events, all now available to browse from the comfort of your own internet connection.

The 10,000th image records a significant moment in the Hastings County Historical Society’s own history: the 1961 opening of the first Hastings County Museum in the former Registry Office building on Church Street in Belleville. Gerry Boyce can be seen on the extreme right of the photograph. Since its foundation, the Historical Society has been a powerful force for the care of local history of all kinds and at the Community Archives we are proud to be able to share the results of their work over the past 60 years.

Opening of the Hastings County Museum

HC08237: Opening of Hastings County Museum, August 9th, 1961

Tips on using Flickr

If you are new to using Flickr, we have compiled a brief guide here to help you navigate the site. Flickr holds photographs from some 75 million people, so it is useful to know how to just search one account, like that of the Community Archives.

First of all, you’ll want to navigate to the home page of the account. In our case that would be flickr.com/photos/cabhc. There is a search box at the top of the page, but this searches all of Flickr, so you’ll want to limit that, which you can do by clicking on the small magnifying glass just above the photographs:

Flickr home page

This will change the search so that it only looks across the pictures in the Community Archives’ holdings. You’ll see that the search box changes slightly, with the name of the collection appearing at the start of the box:

We hope you have fun exploring the photographs and look forward to sharing many more in the years to come!

By | June 13th, 2019|Featured item, News|2 Comments

Local Link to a London Disaster

On January 6th, 1898, the Weekly Intelligencer reported on a disaster which had taken place in the city of London, Ontario, three days earlier

Intelligencer report on the London Disaster of 1898

DEATH FOLLOWS VICTORY

Awful Calamity at a Municipal Meeting in London.

23 CRUSHED TO DEATH

The Winners in the Municipal Battle Had Gathered in the City Hall to Listen to Speeches by the Successful Candidates – The Platform and Floor Gave Way and Twenty-Three Were Carried to Death – The Dead and Injured.

THE DEAD

F. Heaman, C. Beckit, E. Luxton, N. Carrothers, R. Leigh, S. Harris, A. Phillips, L. W. Burk, W. J. Smith, W. C. Talbot, John Turner, Benjamin J. Nash, J. W. Borland, Frank Robinson, W. H. Dell, Stephen Williams, Ben Jacques, O. Bruce, James McLean, John Fellows, John Burridge, Allen Towe, Unknown Man.

THE INJURED

Geo. Yates, Reporter, Joshua Darch, H. Passmore, Reporter, Thomas Blanch, Ald. Robt. Carrothers, Mayor Wilson, – Burges, W. Gray, leg broken, – Fleming, arm broken, Ald. Neil Cooper, internal injuries, H. Van Wyck, head cut.

London, Jan. 4.- During the height of a triumphal after-election meeting, 23 people were thrown to their death by the fiving way of a floor in the City Hall last night. Scores were injured, and the hospitals of the city are crowded with the dying and dead.

London, Ont., Jan. 5.- London’s pall of sorrow darkened and hung heavy over the city yesterday. From the masts of the city flags waved at half-mast in dolorous silence, and citizens spoke in whispers as they realized the magnitude of the disaster which had in a moment blotted out the lives of 23 people who the evening before were jubilant with life.

From all sections of the country came messages of sympathy, showing how deeply the calamity had touched the hearts of the people of Canada.

Upon the streets the disaster was the sole topic of conversation. The cause for it was earnestly discussed by the citizens…

[Drawing] Mayor-Elect J. D. Wilson, M. D., Whose election was being celebrated.

One of the people killed in this disaster had a Hastings County connection. Leander Ward Burke was born in Huntingdon Township in around 1859 and grew up with his parents, James Gilbert Burke and Charlotte Jane (Vandervoort) on their farm on lot 10 of the fifth concession. By 1888 both James and Charlotte had died and Leander was living in London in 1890, working as an agent for a life assurance company.

Burke’s death was registered with those of his fellow accident victims. Ironically, the ‘name of physician in attendance’ is Dr. John D. Wilson, the very man whose election everyone at the event had been celebrating, and who had himself been injured in the disaster.

Death registrations for accident victims

Death registrations for accident victims

After the disaster at City Hall, Leander’s body was returned to Hastings County and he was buried in the Moira Cemetery.

The Community Archives holds a tinted tintype photograph of Leander Burke, taken when he was conducting a group of girls near Maynooth, Ontario. This item was donated to the Hastings County Historical Society by Hazel Hutchinson of Stirling, Ontario, in September 1974.

HC04943: Leander Burke with choir near Maynooth, Ontario

By | June 5th, 2019|Featured item, News|0 Comments

A 1907 photobomber?

We’re currently processing additional materials donated by the family of Lewis Zandenberg. Lewis was a former president of the Stirling-Rawdon Historical Society and Chair of the Stirling Public Library Board, and a keen genealogist and local historian. Among the items he collected are a pair of photographs from 1907, taken to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple from Stirling, Ontario.

Golden Wedding group photo

2016-34/1/26/1 Golden Wedding group photo

The married couple are identified on the back of the photographs as Abigail Ann (1839-1927) and Stephen Badgley (1835-1914). Abigail’s maiden name was Barager and she married Stephen on October 27th, 1857.

Abbie Ann and Stephen Badgley

2016-34/1/26/2 Abby Ann and Stephen Badgley

The building in both of these photographs is the Methodist Church in Stirling, now St. Paul’s United Church. The younger couple in the front of the car are probably the Badgleys’ son, William Ward Badgley (1868-1929) and his wife Sarah (born Stiles, 1866-1958).

A closer look at both photographs reveals an interesting character: there is a man pictured in them who doesn’t seem to entirely belong. He is lurking just outside the group in the first photograph, hands in pockets, in contrast to the more formal poses taken by the rest of the people in the image:

Man on edge of group

2016-34/1/26/1 (detail)

and here is what seems to be the same man, skulking at the corner of the church in the second photograph:

2016-34/1/26/2 (detail)

We are left wondering if he was part of the party, or if he was deliberately inserting himself into the photographs to spoil them.

By | August 10th, 2018|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Finding the right home

Medical diploma for Clyde Orrin Barney

Medical diploma for Clyde Orrin Barney

Sometimes materials find their way to the archives, but don’t really belong there. One important role of the network of archivists around the world is to communicate with each other about such items and try to establish where the ‘right place’ is for something.

This week, we received a medical diploma which was issued in Syracuse, New York, in 1910. It had been picked up at a yard sale in Syracuse by a Belleville doctor, J. Russell Scott, for the princely sum of one dollar. Russell Scott was active in local causes and local politics: here he is on August 18th, 1971, presiding over the official opening of the Quinte Mall as Mayor of Belleville. He was Mayor from 1968 to 1972.

CABHC: HCM00260 Mayor J. Russell Scott at the opening of the Quinte Mall

Scott placed the diploma in the archives of the Belleville General Hospital, but its original owner, Clyde Orrin Barney, had no connection with the hospital and so it was passed on to us. Our collecting policy is focused on people and places of Belleville and Hastings County, so this was not really something that we would be able to offer a home.

Along with the diploma was a typed obituary for Barney, who lived from 1882 to 1966. The obituary was from the Syracuse Herald-Journal and it explains that Barney was on the staff of the medical school at Syracuse University for much of his life.

In 1950 Syracuse University sold its medical school to SUNY Upstate Medical Center. The archivist of Syracuse University put us in touch with this institution (now called SUNY Upstate Medical University), and staff there were happy to offer a home to Dr. Clyde O. Barney’s diploma. After some careful wrapping and a trip to the Post Office, the diploma is now on its way to its rightful home: a satisfying result of archival cooperation.

By | March 6th, 2018|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Around the World in 318 Photographs

Kilties Tour of the World photograph album

In 1908 a Belleville-based band embarked on a bold tour of the Earth, performing more than 1,000 concerts, covering 70,000 miles (112,600km) and spending some $60,000 on transportation. The band was the Kilties, popular performers of mainly Scottish music in the early twentieth century and the first Canadian group to create a record (you can listen to some of their recordings at the Virtual Gramophone site). The Kilties musicians and choir were accompanied on their tour by the Clan Johnstone dance troupe.

The group started their round-the-world tour in Belleville, where their manager, Thomas P. J. Power lived (he was the proprietor of the New Queen’s Hotel on Front Street, opposite City Hall). After performing more than 50 shows across Canada, the troupe took to the high seas on the S.S. Maramar in Victoria, B.C. and headed West across the Pacific Ocean. Their trip took them to Hawaii, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, France, Gibraltar, Scotland, and England (the full timetable is available in the Kilties’ promotional brochure).

One of the group compiled an album of photographs taken on the journey. Despite their punishing concert schedule, the Kilties found plenty of time to play the part of tourists and the album faithfully records many of the places they visited, including the Taj Mahal in India:

Taj Mahal in Agra, India

and the Sphinx in Egypt:

Kilties in front of the Sphinx

Alongside such standard tourist shots, are images that cannot be captured today, including the former Post Office in Yangon, Myanmar (then known as Rangoon, Burma), which was badly damaged by an earthquake on May 5th, 1930:

Or this image of the Victoria Clock Tower in Christchurch, New Zealand, with horses, carts, and an electric streetcar passing by:

Victoria Clocktower in Christchurch, new Zealand

This map from Flickr gives an idea of the number and location of the photographs taken:

Organizing a round-the-world tour in 1908 was quite an undertaking, and Thomas Power seems to have been a genius at promoting the Kilties. The band members always wore their kilts, even when they weren’t performing, and the photographs show huge Kilties posters displayed at the towns where their shows were hosted. This sign was put up in Masterton, New Zealand:

Kilties next to a Kilties advertisement in Masterton, New Zealand

Local newspapers were flooded with advertisements to ensure an audience. Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald from August 15th, 1908:

The photograph album was presented to Lena Power (Thomas’s wife) at Christmas 1910 by a man only identified as ‘Heine’. It was donated to the Community Archives one hundred years later by John D. Ryan. All the photographs have now been digitized and made available online, allowing everyone to explore the globe as the Kilties experienced it in 1908-1910.

By | August 30th, 2017|Featured item, News|1 Comment

Crime after Crime

Archivists are guided by collecting policies, also called acquisition policies, when it comes to deciding what to add to our collections. These might be determined by the geographical area that an archives covers, or perhaps by subject matter. In the case of the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, our general remit is a geographical one: we collect materials which reflect the activities of people in our area. If materials are brought to us that would be more appropriately kept by another archival institution we normally advise the owner to take it there, or send it there ourselves.

But there are always exceptions to rules and when this old volume arrived at the archives a few weeks ago, it became clear that this was going to be one of those cases.

The volume is ‘Circular Book 2’ and it was originally created by the Toronto Police Service, between 1929 and 1931 (and is therefore clearly outside of our collecting area!). However, the owner did not want to donate the book to an archives; they were just looking for some advice.

The book has seen better days: the spine is in a sorry state and the pages are very brittle, acidic and crumbling. We were concerned that the volume would only deteriorate further and suggested to the owner that we photograph the pages, so that the information could be saved and made available to researchers before the condition of the book got any worse. They agreed and were happy for us to share the images online.

Pasted on to 273 pages of this book are wanted posters (or circulars) from police departments and private detective agencies across North America. Sometimes the pages were annotated with information on the date and location of the arrest of the suspect. The photographs of these pages have now been added to our collection as digital files (2017-70) and are all available on Flickr.

These notices were produced at the height of Prohibition in the USA and they include one for Fred Burke, the man suspected of committing the Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1919.

There are many posters about men who escaped from prison, including Frank Grigware, who escaped from the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1910 (on a hijacked locomotive) and ultimately settled down in Alberta under the name James Fahey.

The faces staring up from these posters are overwhelmingly male: there are only two female criminals out of around 500 identified in the book. One of these was Dorothy Cherris, who was wanted in Houston, Texas for involvement in gang murders.

Dorothy and her husband, John were members of a gang of bank robbers.  John was shot in the head by fellow gangsters on August 30th, 1931 and his body was dumped in the Brazos river near East Columbia, Texas. Two weeks later, Dorothy was killed in a car accident near Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Cross-references from inside the volume suggest that there were at least three other ‘Circular books’ maintained by the Toronto police service. This one somehow ended up in Belleville and was rescued by its current owner during someone else’s house move. We don’t know if any of the other volumes survive, but at least the contents of this one are now available for research. Its pages give us an interesting glimpse into police procedure and criminal activity across North America between 1929 and 1931.

By | August 25th, 2017|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Fire Insurance Maps online

The fire insurance maps produced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are a valuable resource for researching the history of settlements and buildings. They show all the structures in a locality and are colour-coded and annotated to show the materials that each building was made of.

As an example, here is a detail from page 2 of the 1878 map, showing St. Michael’s church.

Detail of map showing St. Michael's church

The blue colour tells us that this building was made of stone, while the X in the bottom right corner indicates that it had a shingle roof.

The next map shows a big change in the footprint of the church and notes that it was “Under Construction” in May 1888. The replacement church was taller than the earlier one, by some ten feet. Instead of shingles, the O indicates that the roof was now made of slate.

Detail of 1888 fire insurance map showing St. Michael's church

Between one publication and another, the maps were updated with patches to show changes to buildings. You can see the corner of one such patch in the image above, while the map page below carries more than forty patches, representing alterations to buildings in residential Deseronto streets between 1893 and 1911.

1893-1911 Deseronto Fire Insurance map with patches

In the Community Archives there are six of these maps for Belleville, ranging in date from 1878 to 1957, and one for Deseronto.* They are one of our most heavily used resources and years of use have resulted in wear and tear to the maps. By photographing the maps, we can share them online and protect the originals from further damage.  You can now explore Belleville as it would have been in 1878, 1888, 1904, 1915 and 1942 and Deseronto between 1893 and 1911.

*Note that the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives in Napanee also holds a Deseronto fire insurance plan (from 1922).

By | July 25th, 2017|Buildings, Featured item, News|0 Comments

The records we lost

Sometimes the surviving records of an organization give us tantalizing glimpses of the materials that were not so carefully preserved. A recent addition to the Community Archives is one such example.

Added to our collections as Accession 2017-07 last week were a collection of By-Laws from Hastings County. Most of these were the official final by-laws, which carried the dates they were read at Hastings County Council meetings, as well as the seal of the County and the signatures of the Warden and the Clerk.

Here’s an example from 1912, of By-Law Number 715. The back has the dates the by-law was read (in later years by-laws tended to be read three times on the same day, but in 1912 they were read on consecutive days):

The front has the date on which the by-law was passed, together with the seal and the signatures of the Clerk (Arthur M. Chapman in this example) and the Warden (Denis Hanley).
For some of the earliest by-laws, only drafts survive, and this is the case for the earliest one in this accession: By-Law Number 5 of the County of Hastings, which was passed in 1850. This was passed with the aim of putting offenders to work, and it entered the record books as a by-law “To provide for the opening of a House of Correction.” Incidentally, the draft shows that there was some indecision about the name of the institution: in the drafting process it was changed to House of Industry and then back to House of Correction.

The text of the by-law was as follows:

By Law to provide for the opening of a House of Correction

Whereas it is expedient and proper to provide for the Correction of persons committed to Gaol for minor offences; and whereas this cannot be accomplished by permitting offenders to spend their time in idleness during the period of their confinement.

1 Be it therefore enacted by the Municipal Council of the County of Hastings, and it is hereby enacted by the same. That a part of the present Gaol of this County shall be set apart and used as a House of Correction for all person convicted for any offences either against the Statute Law or against the By Law or By Laws of any Municipality within this County, and who shall be put to Labour, according to the Provisions of this By-Law hereinafter provided.

2 That any mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced shall during the period of his confinement, work at this own proper trade the County furnishing materials, and the produce of the labour shall be disposed of for the benefit of the County and the funds paid into the hands of the County Treasurer.

3 That any person not a mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced shall during the period of his or her confinement be set at such work as the Guardian of the House of Correction shall deem advisable, and the produce of their labour shall be disposed of in like manner and for the same purpose as set for the in the second section of this By-Law.

4 That it shall and may be lawful for the Guardian of said House of Correction to contract with any municipality for the labour within the Walls of the House of Correction of any number of the persons sentenced to hard labour, at all times submitting his contracts for the sanction and approval of the Warden of the County.

5 That it shall be lawful for the Guardian to confine any prisoner to solitary confinement in any cell, who shall refuse to labour or work as required by the provisions of this By-Law and pending such solitary confinement the fare of such prisoner shall be bread and water.

6 That the Treasurer shall keep a separate account of the costs and charges incidental upon the establishment and maintaining of the House of Correction and of the receipts of the same, and shall submit annually a separate account of the same to the Municipal Council of this County.

7 That the Gaoler of the County shall discharge the duties of Guardian and shall be given the annual sum of fifty pounds in compensation for said duties

8 That it shall be the duty of said Guardian to enter upon a Book the value and proceeds of each person’s labour, and when discharged shall close the account against said person. He shall keep a report Book in which he shall make daily entries of the conduct of prisoners. He shall call in the aid of the County Surgeon upon the sickness of any prisoners confined in the House of Correction and shall at all times carry out the instructions of the Surgeon with reference to the sick or ailing.

9 That an estimate shall be given by the County Surveyor of the costs of erecting a stone wall 12 feet high in lieu of the present Board enclosure and so soon as this shall be handed in the Warden shall advertise for tenders for building the said wall, to be paid for by debentures at two and three years.

The terms of the by-law seem harsh to a twenty-first century reader, but from a recordkeeping perspective it is section 8 which is the most intriguing. How interesting it would be to read the Guardian’s log book, to gauge the success of this enterprise by seeing how much money each individual generated while they were in the House of Correction, and to read his reports on the behaviour of the prisoners. Sadly, none of these records has survived to satisfy our curiosity.

By | January 16th, 2017|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Harry, the last Fire Hall horse

Al Cleary

In 2015 the Community Archives lost one of its regular volunteers, Al Cleary. 2016 would have marked Al’s fifth year of volunteering in the Archives, and in memory of him we are sharing this story, which Al researched, wrote, and presented in 2012 as a ‘Story from the Archives’ for the Hastings County Historical Society.

When Belleville was incorporated as a police village in 1836, the Fire Regulations stated that all citizens from 15 to 60 were to help pull the fire equipment if so directed by any town official.  Later years brought bigger and heavier equipment that was drawn to the fire by horses.

CABHC: HC05266 Hose wagon and hook and ladder wagon at No.2 Fire Hall, before 1901

CABHC: HC05266 Hose wagon and hook and ladder wagon at No.2 Fire Hall, upper Front Street, Belleville, before 1901

By the turn of the century the firemen were still volunteers, the horses were under contract to the City, and only the drivers or teamsters were paid.  These were sometimes young boys and paid accordingly.

Jan. 1, 1916 saw the fire department made into full time permanent paid positions, with professional teamsters.  Stanley Pomeroy, at 18 years of age, was hired in 1920 as a teamster because he was considered an expert with horses.

CABHC: HC04478 Two new motorized fire trucks, with Harry and team mate hooked to the ladder wagon, at No. 1 Fire Hall, lower Front St., circa 1922.

CABHC: HC04478 Two new motorized fire trucks, with Harry and team mate hooked to the ladder wagon, at No. 1 Fire Hall, lower Front St., Belleville, circa 1921.

In 1921 the City of Belleville bought two new motorized fire trucks to replace the two horse drawn hose wagons, and the horses that drew them were retired.  Stan Pomeroy’s main job had been to look after the horses, so he stayed at No. 2 Fire Hall to work with the remaining team that pulled the hook and ladder wagon.

Stan had special feelings for Harry, his favorite horse.  Harry was a real character with a special personality, somewhat like Stan himself.  If he could get down by the river after being washed, groomed and curry combed, he was very likely to get down and roll in the mud, almost on purpose.  When it was time to bring him back to his stall at the fire hall, he would get all upset if he wasn’t treated to a chocolate bar or a plug of chewing tobacco.  In 1926, the city bought a motorized International hook and ladder truck.  Harry and his partner in the team had pulled the old ladder wagon for 22 years.

When Harry’s  partner died at the fire hall, the City decided to sell old Harry to a market gardener, but the firemen refused to allow their faithful old horse to spend his last days being worked to death pulling a plow.  They agreed to keep him in a stall at the fire hall, and exercise him in the yard behind.

CABHC: Intelligencer 'Time Capsule' of May 25th, 1993 showing Harry's Fire Hall stall. Stan Pomeroy is second from left.

CABHC: Intelligencer ‘Time Capsule’ of May 25th, 1993 showing Harry’s Fire Hall stall. Stan Pomeroy is second from left.

Later Harry was pastured in Bleecker’s Woods north of the city for his well-deserved retirement, but within a few months of leaving the Fire Hall, the old horse died at the age of 23.  Stan Pomeroy claimed he died of a broken heart.  The Fire Department turned out as a guard of honour for old Harry at his funeral, the last of the Belleville Fire Department’s horses.

CABHC: HC04108 Burial of Harry the horse

CABHC: HC04108 Burial of Harry the horse

 

By | November 22nd, 2016|Featured item, News|0 Comments