Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Custard Head Fishing Premises Before and After. Hant's Harbour, 1995. #Folklorephoto

In looking through images I recently scanned at the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation, there are many buildings that were on the verge of demolition. The 35mm slides taken from 1993-1996 include many boarded up homes, stores, stages, and sheds that are no longer part of the Baccalieu Trail landscape. This building in Hant's Harbour is an exception.

In 1999 the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador designated the Custard Head Fishing Premises as a Registered Heritage Structure. Built by Joseph Francis in 1909, it is a perfect example of traditional, vernacular outbuilding construction.

To see what the fishing premises looks like today, and read more about the structure, visit the Heritage Foundation website.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Learning about St. John's, or "that old flannel shirt you love to wear when you're sooky" #Collectivememoriesmonday

My name is Andrea McGuire, and I am a folklore MA student at Memorial University. This summer, I am working in partnership with Conservation Corps NL and the Intangible Cultural Heritage office as the Cultural Conservation Intern. Throughout my degree, I have interviewed dozens of people about their stories and traditions (especially those related to hitchhiking, which was the subject of my master’s thesis). In this position, I am helping Dale with the Living Heritage Podcast, gathering folk tales for an upcoming project with the Local Immigration Partnership, and conducting a slew of oral history interviews.

So far, most of these interviews have centered on memories of old St. John’s. Upon returning to St. John’s in 1975 (after dwelling in such places as Toronto and Australia), interviewee Barry Whelan likened the city to “that old flannel shirt you love to wear when you’re sooky.” Having lived downtown for the past nine years (with no compulsion to stray further afield), I can definitely relate to this sentiment. But what is it about the city as it was and its modern iteration that remains the same, other than this continuity of sooky attachment? It can be fun to imagine historical features overlaying the modern landscape—the apparition of a horse, the humming of the streetcars—but how do these versions of St. John’s fit together?

Since beginning this job, I have learned a great deal about the city and the way things used to be. Some memories are easy to relate to—interviewee Madge Noseworthy, who was born in the Battery in 1931, offered vivid recollections of picking blueberries on Signal Hill, saying, “I remember you’d go off berry picking and when you’d come back, your mouth’d be blue from eating the berries, you know? But they were gorgeous to eat!” (Madge later mentioned her distaste for store-bought blueberries: “Even in cookies, they’re not nice.”) Blueberry picking on Signal Hill has certainly stood the test of time. But other historical details seem impossibly far away, almost of another place—horses carrying freight from the harbour up the hills; a downtown replete with “four or five theatres that everybody knew,” where, as Barry Whelan remembered it, “the real thing to do was bring all your comic books to the movie on Saturday afternoon … you went all around the place and everyone went crazy trading comics”; people ice-skating, somehow, across the Narrows; and the sight of horse troughs in the streets (complete with low-hanging watering troughs for dogs, since horses weren’t the only thirsty animals on the block).

The last watering trough for dogs and horses in St. John’s, situated in Bowring Park.
July 8th marked the 125th anniversary of the 1892 Great Fire, and the ICH office all kept busy with a number of commemorative activities. My task was to mind archival photographs of the city in ruins, which were displayed in the Bannerman Park pool house. Over the weekend, history buffs and swimmers alike wandered into the room, and many visitors spoke about their ancestors’ brush with the fire. Until this weekend, I was unaware that thousands of citizens camped in Bannerman Park for months in the wake of the disaster. Since then, however, the fire of 1892 (and subsequent mass camp-out) has come up repeatedly in my interviews with long-term residents. It seems clear that the fire is firmly lodged in the city’s collective memory.

#CollectiveMemoriesMonday - Valentine's Day

Daphne Gillingham. 2017. Photo by Terra Barrett.
On May 29, 2017 as part of the Collective Memories project, I interviewed Daphne Gillingham about growing up in St. John's including her memories of her time in school, her first job at as a cook at cub camp, and her memories of the holidays.

Daphne Gillingham was born in St. John's in August 1938 and grew up in St. John's. She shared her memories of growing up in St. John's in the 1940s and 1950s. One of the things which stood out in Daphne's memory was Valentine's Day. In this clip Daphne describes the difference between Valentine's day when she was a child and how it is celebrated today. If you would like to listen to the full interview you can head to Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Memories of Historic Places: A Trainful of Mary Brown's Secret Recipe Dough

Over the past couple of weeks I have been researching the Gordon G. Pike Railway Museum and Park. Erected in 1881, this building was once the station for the Harbour Grace Railway. It is a small, one-story, hipped roof building located on Military Road in Harbour Grace. 

I always enjoy hearing people's memories of places, but here on Friday afternoon, as suppertime approaches, one story, as told by Patrick Collins, stands out in particular:

"I remember the train coming down with a load of Mary Brown’s secret recipe.  Aboard were boxfuls of secret recipe dough that they use for the deep fried chicken at Mary Brown’s which is here in Harbour Grace. And I remember that being quite secretive; the owner coming up and saying, 'make sure none of those boxes are stolen.' There was a freight shed that was right next to the station that is gone now and that was very securely looked after."

I can imagine how exciting it must have been for the employees of the station, entrusted with protecting the sacred deep fried chicken formula that has become a staple to many Newfoundlanders. It must have been difficult to resist sneaking a peek of the secret recipe. 

If you or someone you know has a memory of the Harbour Grace Railway station, please contact Katie at katherine@heritagefoundation.ca or (709) 739-1892 ex. 7.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The World of Henna #podcast, with Eemaan Art Henna

Eemaan Thind was born and raised in Punjab, India. Her family moved to Ontario during her last year of secondary school; she started her BSc. at McMaster University and then transferred to Physics at Memorial University in 2013, when her family moved to Newfoundland. A self-taught artist from a young age, Eemaan picked up the medium of henna body art in the summer of 2013 while participating in the Youth Ventures program, and received the provincial Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Product Design during the same summer. In April of 2017, she travelled to volunteer with the Gurmat Bhawan NGO in Punjab, where she worked with school children, held workshops on child sexual abuse, menstrual health and sex education, and provided free henna workshops for local women. She is pleased to offer a chance of experiencing this ancient art form right here on the Rock.

Photo courtesy Eemaan Art & Henna, Facebook

In this podcast, we talk about Eemaan’s evolution as a henna artist, the traditional uses of henna, and how to discern between real henna and commercialized henna (along with the safety risks of the latter). We also discuss Eeman’s experiences at Henna Con and her recent trip to India, and consider some ideas about henna and cultural appropriation.

Download the mp3

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Do you recognize this structure in Bay Roberts? #folklorephoto

Recently I worked on scanning 35mm slides for the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation. The slides are organized by community and were taken between 1993-1996. One thing I found interesting in looking at the slides is the boarded up buildings and whether they were demolished or saved. Do you know anything about the building in this image taken June 1994 in Bay Roberts?

UPDATE: This building has been identified as Charlie Sam and Jenny Parsons Grocery and Dry Goods Store, located in Running Brook, the east end of Bay Roberts. I would love to see a photo of the store in its prime.

Monday, July 17, 2017

#CollectiveMemoriesMonday - Grand Falls-Windsor Memory Mug Up

As part of the Collective Memories project Dale and I headed out to Grand Falls-Windsor last week to help out with the town's first Memory Mug Up event. The mug up was held in the Classic Theatre on High Street and was part of the town's Salmon Festival activities. The event was organized by the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society and was a staged interview with six local community members.

Dale moderated the discussion which involved memories of horses and goats, tales of how to sneak in to the movie theatre with flattened nickels or fake tickets, stories of memorable local characters, the influence of strong woman, and memories about growing up in the community. The event was recorded and will be placed on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. Check out the video below for a taste of the event and stay tuned for more memories!

~Terra Barrett

Folk Cures and Practical Magic Oral History Night - Spaniard’s Bay, Conception Bay North

Photo from: http://archivalmoments.ca/2016/09/newfoundland-and-cod-liver-oil/
Have you ever made a bread poultice? Do you remember stories about a seventh son or daughter? Do you know the perfect mix for wallpaper paste? Have you had a wart charmed? The Heritage Foundation NL, in partnership with the Spaniard’s Bay Heritage Society, wants to know!

The Foundation will be hosting a Cures and Practical Magic Oral History Night at the Wesley Gosse United Church, Spaniard’s Bay on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 at 7:00pm.

“We are looking for anyone with memories of cures, charms, or practical recipes such as soap or wallpaper paste, as well as midwives, and healers with memories of practicing medicine in the area,” says the foundation’s folklorist Dale Jarvis.  “If you have memories of cures and recipes, we would love to hear from you."
The Cures and Practical Magic Night is part of the foundation’s Oral History Roadshow. This project is an initiative of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the HFNL made possible with assistance from the New Horizons for Seniors program. The Oral History Night Roadshow will see researchers travel from community to community, hosting a series of Oral History Nights, open-mic storytelling sessions led and inspired by seniors in that community.
Come for a cup of tea, share a memory or two about a cure, and bring some home recipes. The information gathered will be used alongside oral history interviews and archival research to create a booklet about folk cures and practical traditions in Spaniard’s Bay. If you have photos or old written recipes, bring them along.
For more information please contact Terra Barrett with the Heritage Foundation toll free at 1-888-739-1892 ext. 5 or email terra@heritagefoundation.ca.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hunting the Wild Haggis, with the Haggis Lady, Jennifer Whitfield

This episode of Living Heritage is all about that controversial Scottish delicacy, haggis, the chieftain of the pudding race. And who better to guide us through the culinary history and folklore of haggis than Newfoundland’s own “Haggis Lady” Jennifer Whitfield? Jennifer was raised in Glasgow, lived there till she was 25, then boarded the second voyage of the QEII and sailed away to the new world. She moved to Newfoundland in 1976. She’s been making haggis since 1981, and has made haggis locally for the Burns Night supper, and ships her haggis across Canada.

In this delicious podcast, we talk about what exactly goes into a haggis, how she got started in the haggis-making business and how she became “The Haggis Lady,” what makes an excellent (or terrible) haggis, the folklore and mythology of the haggis, and her recent activities in mailing haggis to needy pudding lovers across North America.

Download the mp3