Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Memory Store: They used to put the windows in molasses to keep them from sliding around...

This week’s Memory Store video is a clip of Elisabeth Laverty from the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Elisabeth explains the story of the only surviving stained glass window prior to the great fire of 1892. Elisabeth also mentioned the way large stained glass would have been shipped during the time period – in barrels of molasses!

Watch the video below or click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Click here for more information about the building's history and architectural style.
If you missed our initial post explaining the concept of the Memory Store clip here to go back to our first blog post with the introduction video or check out our YouTube channel at ICH NL.

Stay tuned for more short stories about historic places in the province, in the form of short oral history interviews conducted with the people who care about those places and if you have a personal memory about a historic place in Newfoundland and Labrador, and want to add your voice to the Memory Store project, let us know at, or 739-1892 ex. 5.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Heritage Video Screening

I spent Monday morning attending the Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives' annual general meeting and today's folklore photo was one I snapped quickly during yesterday's meeting.  I was invited as a representative from the ICH Office as ANLA and the Heritage Foundation are partners and sister heritage organizations.

It was interesting to learn a little more about the organization and to hear some of the triumphs and challenges the organization has achieved and overcome in the past year and where they want to take the organization in the coming year.  One thing which ANLA has been promoting recently are their online webinars so be sure to check out their website for upcoming workshops!

The picture above is from the presentation which occurred during the lunchbreak.  Jenny Higgins from the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website introduced a series of short films which she has been working on recently.  The videos were on difficult subjects and were incredibly moving.  One touched on the 1914 sealing disaster, another on the great fire of 1892 and the last on the battle of Beaumont Hamel.  Check out some of the videos on their website and stay tuned for more.


The Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship 2015 winner - Sarah Hannon.

On Monday, June 29th, I was tasked with handing out the 11th Annual Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship as part of the NL Historic Trust's annual Southcott Awards, and saying a few words about Leida. Here is the text of that short speech.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, award winners, it is my privilege tonight to speak on and present the 2015 Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship. Robyn Pike asked me if I would come and say a few words about Leida and the scholarship that bears her name. I am very happy to do this, and I think it is a very appropriate thing. We are in the business of preserving heritage, and I am delighted to be asked to act as the bearer of memory and witness to our own organizational history.
I suspect that some of you here tonight didn’t know Leida Finlayson, who was the first general manager of the Newfoundland Historic Trust.

I was wondering how I might, in the exactly three minutes that Robyn has allotted me, to give you a sense of a person’s life.

I met Leida in what was, in retrospect, a typically Leida way. We met by letter. Letters today are rare and precious things, and of all the people I know, it is fitting that Leida is the only person in my circle of acquaintances that I met by way of a carefully and delightfully worded piece of correspondence. I regret that I don’t have that letter, but I still remember it. She was witty, clever, and engaging. In one word, she was charming, even on paper. 
Indeed, I think that was one of Leida’s greatest gifts: she was absolutely charming, possessed of the ability to make pretty much anyone fall in love with her. If her time with us had been longer, she would have made a perfect diplomat.

I am delighted that the awards presentation tonight is back in the Newman Wine Vaults Provincial Historic Site, because I have great memories of Leida here in this space, long before there was anything as glamorous here as plumbing, or electricity, or even a floor. She swept in here before the restoration was even complete, and set about organizing a series of fund-raising teas, one of the first public events held here in the vaults, which were very popular, even in the darkness and dust.

Leida shone in those types of events. She had an old-fashioned glamour, and loved any excuse to dress up. She loved high heels, long gloves, and makeup. She wore fabulous hats. These were things which were something of a mystery to her parents, Duncan and Renee, who had been part of the back-to-the land hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Leida was more high-fashion than homespun. Duncan swears they weren’t really hippies, but as Leida said, at that time, in the rural Newfoundland where she spent her girlhood, “a little hippie went a long way.” 
While her fashion sense was different from her parents, she shared many of their ideals.
She wrote political commentary, was intensely interested in history, heritage, politics, and social justice. She was smart, passionate, and interested in the world. 
When Leida passed away in 2003, we established a scholarship in her memory. It was determined that the scholarship would be directed to a Memorial University student of history or political studies, two of Leida’s passions, and that it would be presented annually as part of the Trust's Southcott Awards. 
I am very pleased tonight to present the Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship to Sarah Hannon, one of our community’s next generation of smart, passionate young women. Congratulations Sarah on your academic work, and on behalf of the Trust, I commend you and encourage you in your pursuit of excellence. And on behalf of Leida, I would also encourage you to take every opportunity you have to wear a fabulous hat.

Sarah, if you would come forward, I would love to present you with the Leida Finlayson Memorial Scholarship.

- Dale Jarvis

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Participants needed for paid study with Memorial University Department of Linguistics

If your first language is English, and you have a spare hour, a group of linguists at Memorial University wants your time -- and they are willing to pay for it!

Participants are needed for a study on speech perception and production. Participants will listen to speech samples and answer questions about them. Participants will also be asked to read some words and phrases aloud. These readings will be recorded and analyzed.

Participants will be paid $10 for their time. Participation should take about an hour. To participate, you must speak English as your first language.

If you are interested in participating please book a time here:

or simply contact

Paul De Decker

Sara Mackenzie

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Youth Heritage NL represented at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Guest blog post by Heather Elliott
Hi everyone! My name is Heather and I am the newly selected representative for Youth Heritage NL on CCUNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG). Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to travel to Ottawa, Ontario to attend CCUNESCO’s Annual General Meeting. It was an incredible experience and I’m more than happy to tell you all about it.

YAG exists as a way to bring the youth voice to CCUNESCO. This was my first time attending a conference of this size, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Once I arrived at the YAG meeting (held the day before the official AGM) and started meeting my fellow Yaggers, I was put immediately at ease. The group was made up of diverse and dynamic individual, with doctors, nurses, teachers, museum types (like myself), human rights advocates, biosphere professionals and more all seated around the same table. Over the course of the morning we discussed topics ranging from sustainable development to global citizenship, and talked about how we wanted to see youth used within CCUNESCO. It was a fantastic opportunity to not only hear about what everyone else was working on across the country, but to share the work that Youth Heritage NL is hoping to do as we continue to grow.

Over the following two days I was able to attend the official CCUNESCO AGM, and continued to meet inspiring people from across the nation. Everyone had come together to discuss the importance of UNESCO and their values within Canada, and how we can all work together to bring those values to our own communities. I left the experience feeling optimistic, excited and determined. I am really looking forward to returning next year and once again representing Youth Heritage NL at CCUNESCO.

Youth Heritage NL now has a blog online, where I’ve posted a much more detailed account of my experience at the AGM. If you’re interested, please feel free to head over and check it out! If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me at

The Memory Store: A present with a big bow on it...

This week's Memory Store video is filmed in the Anna Templeton Centre at 214 Duckworth Street in St. John's. Beverly Barbour the Anna Templeton Centre executive director describes the history of the building, how it came to be the Anna Templeton Centre and why it was named after Miss Templeton.

Click here for more information about the building's history and architectural style.

If you missed our initial post explaining the concept of the Memory Store clip here to go back to our first blog post with the introduction video or check out our YouTube channel at ICH NL.

Stay tuned for more short stories about historic places in the province, in the form of short oral history interviews conducted with the people who care about those places and if you have a personal memory about a historic place in Newfoundland and Labrador, and want to add your voice to the Memory Store project, let us know at, or 739-1892 ex. 5.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Folklore Photo - The Hole In the Floor and Adolphus's Wake

This week's folklore photo might not look like much, but it comes with a great story, and is a very good example of how intangible cultural heritage and our built heritage are intertwined. 

We've been working on an oral history of the Jenkins House in Durrell, Twillingate, which was owned for a portion of its history by Adolphus and Lucretia Jenkins. 

According to oral history, Lucretia contracted tuberculosis and suffered in the home for many years with the disease. She was confined to her bedroom while her daughter Leah Jenkins cared for her, surprisingly Leah never contracted the disease herself. While Lucretia was sick her husband Adolphus passed away. Adolphus was waked in the home, which was tradition at the time. Bedridden and unable to leave the upstairs of the house, Lucretia still wanted to see her husband one last time. The family decided, instead of trying to bring her downstairs they would saw a hole in the floor by the side of her bed so she could rest and still be able to see her husband, so that is what they did. Today, the cut in the floor is still recognizable by the newer boards that fill where the hole once was. 

Corey Sharpe remembers his Grandmother Leah recounting the story;
“Well, I tell you about that now. I never told anybody about it before. When father passed away, they waked him downstairs. So Lucretia was bed ridden upstairs with TB and separated from the family. She wanted to see her husband while they had him waked. So what they did, instead of bring her downstairs, they cut a hole in the floor so she could look down from her bed and see him. So the floors are to stay like that.”
You can download the full oral history report on the Jenkins House in PDF format here.

- Dale Jarvis

Monday, June 22, 2015

Invite to Heritage Day in Hodge’s Cove, Trinity Bay, Saturday June 27th

Guest blog post by Wanda Garrett, Southwest Arm Historical Society

Come and step back into time at the first annual Heritage Day of Southwest Arm Historical Society on Saturday, June 27th at the Lions Club in Hodge’s Cove, Trinity Bay. Doors open at 2:00 p.m. and the admission is free!

Museum for the Day
From 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., view the museum items that are on display for the afternoon. There could be everything from school yearbooks to vintage cast sad irons to a model or mould used to construct a punt. View and touch some of the many items that your ancestors used every day. You may be aware of most of the items but there could be some that you haven’t seen before or even know their purpose.

You might see items such as these two Maritime Archaic tools that were found at Heart’s Ease – a slate knife blade and a stone celt (axe). These items are approximately 4000 years old.

or you might see pottery inkwells that were found when the pond was drained at Heart’s Ease Beach in 1990….

or maybe a complete kit for loading bullets…

or items your grandmother or great-grandmother used around the house such as this sad iron or chopper…

The possibilities are endless so don’t miss out!

Share your ‘Old’ Photos
The Southwest Arm Historical Society will also take this opportunity to collect photos for their website. There will be a couple of computers and scanners set up at the Lions Club in the afternoon to scan your photos while you view the items in the ‘museum for the day.’ Be sure to bring along your photos of people and places of Southwest Arm and we will scan and return them to you before you are ready to leave.

Home-made Soup for Supper
What event in Newfoundland and Labrador would be complete without a little food? Join us for some homemade soup and sandwiches between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – cost just $5.00 each.

‘Old-time’ Square Dance
And a little entertainment to round out the day! We will finish off our Heritage Day with an ‘old-time’ square dance. Don’t know how to square-dance! No problem; a number of square-dance pros will demonstrate how it is done and then offer you an opportunity to give it a try. Sound like fun? The square dance will start at 7:00 p.m. with local live music (accordion and guitar) – must be 19 years and older – cost only $5.00 each.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Johnny Poker - A Boat Hauling Song

I’m currently typing the notes from the Asset Mapping workshop Dale led in Champney’s West and I came across the song Johnny Poker.  It is noted as a traditional song that people would sing when they pulled boats up.  Sometimes people would pull back on the boat so they could hear the Johnny Poker song.

The version which is written in the notes is:
“To my jolly poker
We will start this heavy joker
Haul boy haul” [everybody pulls]

The notes say there are 4-5 versions of the song.  I did a quick search and came across a version by Stuffed Squid set to music.  I’ve added the video here and you can check out the page with the lyrics and some background information here.

Do you know a version of Johnny Poker? Let us know in the comments or send an email to