Thursday, April 13, 2017

Memories of Wabana - Exploring Bell Island with Gail Weir



Gail (Hussey) Weir is the author of The Miners of Wabana, published by Breakwater Books in 1989 and 2006. Her latest publication is a chapter on the history of Company Housing on Bell Island in the book Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation, published by Cape Breton University Press in 2016. A former archivist with Memorial University Library’s Archives & Special Collections, she is spending her retirement years constructing a website on Bell Island’s history and culture at www.historic-wabana.com.

In this podcast, we talk about the history of mining on Bell Island, company housing and building styles, and Gail’s memories of growing up on the island.

The photo above is from Gail's website, and shows the building of the abutment at Scotia Pier c. 1950 at the time that Euclid trucks were replacing ore cars for transport of iron ore from the mines to the piers. The house in the left of the picture was the accountant's house. On the far right of the background can be seen the partial top storey of the Manager's House. Photo courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, MUN Library.

Download the MP3

3 comments:

Bonnie Wellman said...

Absolutely amazing amount of fascinating information on Bell Island, mining life and company houses in this interview. Gail Hussey Weir is to be commended for her work on these subjects.

Patricia Byrne said...

It's wonderful to see a picture of this cement wall being built because my dad his name was Edward Byrne told me that the company asked for volunteers to go on the outside of the wall which meant they were hanging over the cliff. My dad said that he and another man volunteered, but I can't remember the other man's name. He didn't go into detail and didn't say anything more but thinking about it now I should have questioned him about what they did and how they did it. I'm sorry to say that he died in 2012 and now I'll never be able to ask him those questions on how they performed their jobs while working on that cement wall. Another missed opportunity to obtain a good story from him about his work. Thanks very much for the picture and your web site is great so far, I would also be great if you could get the info from the other Bell Island web site that is no longer available, it had lots of info about Bell Island on it, stories, pictures, links to other Bell Island info. Great job, look forward to checking this site out again to see and read more information about Bell Island. I also like the section of the People of Bell Island, would like to see more of it on your site. Thanks again.

Tish Byrne

Gerald said...

I think the "other man" that Patricia was talking about was my father,Ned Skanes.He often talked about working at the pier with Ned Byrne...