Showing posts with label St. John's Merchants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. John's Merchants. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Living Heritage Podcast Ep144 Lewis Ferman and the Merchants of Main Street

In October 2018, Heritage NL staff rushed down Water Street to rescue an old shop sign from the business of Lewis and Grunia Ferman, Jewish merchants and WWII resistance fighters. That event unlocked a flood of stories and memories about the Ferman family, and about other merchants who had business in St. John's and beyond. 

In this episode, we look at the legacy of immigrant merchants in Newfoundland, with clips from interviews about both the Ferman shop, and the multicultural shopkeepers of Windsor who are featured in a new Virtual Museums of Canada exhibit


The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HFNL and CHMR Radio. Past episodes are hosted on Libsyn, and you can subscribe via iTunes, or Stitcher. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Friday, September 22, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - When Historic Places Meet Food: Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House

Exterior of Yellowbelly. Photo by Katie Harvey. 2017.

Yellowbelly Brewery and Public House is located on the corner of Water Street and George Street in downtown St. John's. It is a three-and-a-half storey brick and masonry building with a mid-pitch gable roof.

Constructed circa 1847, just after the fire of 1846, this is one of the few buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1892. Known as Yellow Belly Corner, this building has much historical significance in the area. It was traditionally a commercial premises, with the main floor being used as a business, and the second floor as a residence.

Main floor of restaurant. Photo by Katie Harvey. 2017.

According to local folklore and oral history, Yellow Belly Corner was named for the "Yellowbellies", who famously tied strips of yellow cloth around their waists. The "Yellowbellies" were one of the various Irish factions, including the "Wheybellies" from County Waterford, the "Clear-Airs" from County Tipperary, the "Doones" from County Kilkenny, and the "Dadyeens" from County Cork, who would meet and fight on this site. Following their victory, King George III cried, "Well done Yellowbellies."

Yellowbelly is a place that I frequent often. A group of friends and I went for happy hour last Friday. The place was bustling, as summer fades and people attempt to drink in those final few days of sunshine. On this particular visit, we ate chicken wings, wood fire pizza, burgers, fries, and of course, beers.

Yellowbelly is unique in that it is one of the few craft breweries that exist in St. John's. They have a variety of beers that they are well-known for including: Wexford Wheat, St. John's Stout,  Fighting Irish Red, and Yellowbelly Pale Ale. They also typically brew a seasonal beer that is available for a limited time.

Yellowbelly is a lovely place to visit when exploring the heritage district of downtown St. John's. It's great to be able to sit in a building that has such a rich history, while eating some tasty food and sipping locally brewed beer.  

-Katie Harvey

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Merchants and Memories Mug Up at Marjorie Mews Library

Yesterday, we went to the Marjorie Mews Public Library for our Merchants and Memories Mug Up. As it was our third Mug Up event at the library we decided to have a theme, the Merchants of St. John's. This topic triggered memories and sparked the interest of many people who grew up in St. John's or visited the area. As people arrived at the library, we had to keep adding chairs to the space, widening our circle of chairs to eventually accommodate 56 people. While we were all crowded into the room, the event was a great success and we heard many marvelous stories! In anticipation of the popularity of the event, we decided to implement the use of a talking stick, which was passed around the room in order to give each participant a chance to tell their stories and hold the attention of the crowd. With such a large group, this was a wise choice!

A participant holds up the talking stick as she shares her story 
Participants shared stories about shopping in the downtown area of St. John's, both as St. John's residents and people who made trips to town with a specific list of items to buy and places to visit. As well as the main streets of Water and Duckworth, there were memories of the early days of the Avalon Mall, and the taxis and businesses of Brazil Square. People also shared stories of being employees of many of the well known shops and businesses of the area. They talked about their first job experiences, and shared stories about working in the area. One story was told of a bull accidentally being set loose on Water street, and a woman talked about working at the Newfoundland Savings Bank when a hold-up took place.

Many people came with fond memories of family businesses, and insider stories that started with "maybe I shouldn't say this but..." We heard about shops that had been passed down through generations, and the early days of well known businesses like Mary Browns.
Carol Ann Smith showing a Goobies Christmas Toyland advertisement
Carol Ann Smith talked about her families store, W. R. Goobie Ltd, and brought along a framed advertisement which referred to the store as "Santa's first stop." The ad lists the names and prices for Christmas gifts and decorations that would have been familiar sites in the participants childhood. There were many other stories shared of downtown St. John's which took place at Christmas. Any mention of the Christmas Raffle brought about smiles, and the magic that the window displays in downtown shops brought to families picking up their Christmas gifts.

Overall it was a wonderful event and we could have shared more stories well into the night.

Do you have any memories of the important shops when you were growing up? Did you win something at the Christmas raffle? What was your favorite place to eat? Do you remember your first shopping trip downtown?

~ Kelly