Showing posts with label folklore photo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label folklore photo. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Playing Tiddly

photo courtesy of Margaret Ayad

Recently the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador has begun to do research into different traditional games in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one very popular game we've come across is Tiddly. Also called Tiddly Stick, Piddly/Pidley or Scat, this game has been played for years here in the province. The equipment was simple: all you needed to play was two rocks or bricks, a short stick and a longer stick. 

The rules vary from community to community, but typically consist of hitting the short stick off of the rocks or bricks with the long stick. If the other team catches the short stick, you were out. If they didn't catch it, you were awarded points based on the distance it travelled.

The photo above comes from Margaret Ayad, and was taken at the Carbonear 2012 World Cup of Tiddly. Since 2008 Carbonear has hosted a Tiddly World Cup, which has grown in popularity and size each year since. The tournament was meant to bring back a game that was popular up until the mid 1960s in the province. 

If you have any memories of playing Tiddly, or any other traditional games in Newfoundland, we would love to hear them! I am actively looking for people who played Tiddly, variations on the rules, and different names, as well as any stories about any other traditional children's games!

Feel free to call me at 739-1892 ext. 5, or email me at

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Folklore Photo: The Cupids American Man circa 1930

Today's folklore photo comes courtesy of the Newfoundland Historical Society archival collection. The photo shows the "American Man" - a cairn of stones located at the top of Spectacle Head, in Cupids. The original photo was taken by A.C. Hunter, and the back of the photo has an inscription which reads:

Photo by A.C. Hunter, about 1930
The "American Man" on the hill between Cupids +
Clarke's Beach. Mrs Hunter in photo
There was another one between Brigus and Cupids.
They were used as landmarks for Vessels
coming in, we supposed. We also wondered if
they came from "Marking Man"???
                             Muriel H. Hunter, 1976
Negative of this is in the A.C. Hunter Collection, Memorial Univ.
                                                                                Audio Visual.

The cairn, which has been rebuilt several times since the 1930s, is much taller today, and a secondary, smaller cain has also been constructed nearby.  I've heard it referred to as both the "American Man" and the "Merican Man," and have also heard the theory, given by locals, that it is indeed a corruption of "Marking Man."

Here is how the structure looked during the Cupids 400 Celebrations in 2010. I believe the photo is by Dennis Minty:

At some point after the 2010 celebrations, the structure was damaged by vandals, and rebuilt by local volunteers. Here is what the cairn looked like on 13 October 2013. Note that it is slightly more symmetrical here, than in the 2010 photo.

This note is the first I've heard of a similar structure located between Brigus and Cupids. If anyone knows of that particular cairn's current or previous location, email me at

- Dale Jarvis


On 5 February 2013, Mike Sexton wrote me and noted the following:
"...years ago I met an Icelander in L'Anse Aux Meadows, he was on the hill looking for a third cairn at the viking site. He was an old mariner and he told me that there should be three if they were used for navigation. they always have the sky as a background,and you have to keep one in the middle for safe water. This one in the middle could be a considerable distance behind the ones closest to the coast. so you sail by, and when you have them positioned right you turn towards shore. (Safe water)"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Folklore Photo: An Icy Gathering

International Grenfell Association photograph collection
IGA photograph album VA 115-79.5

Despite the unseasonably warm weather we have been having in the province lately (knock on wood), this picture of a group of men, women and children gathering in the winter snow is more representative of the temperatures expected during a Newfoundland winter. While the exact date of this photo isn't known, it has been placed by the Archives as between 1900-1919.

The group is amongst barrels and boxes. The Rooms Archives description describes this as the 'northeastern ice fields', and the 'spring sealfishery'; if you can tell me anything else about this picture I would be interested to hear it! I think it's a great picture, and I love the coat on the woman in the foreground.

If you have any old photos of the wintery weather you would like to share, I would love to see them! You can email me at

- Sarah

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Construction During Winter

Pictured above is the Port Union salt fish plant and retail store during construction. Though the photograph is undated, Edith Samson from the Sir William Coaker Foundation noted that the retail store (on the left) is shown here as a 4 story building indicating that this photo was taken at the time of the original construction project. In 1945 this building was rebuilt but only as a 3 story structure.

This photograph was donated to the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and will be added to the Port Union collection on MUN's Digital Archives Initiative.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vintage Newfoundland Christmas - post your old family holiday snaps!

Christmas is one of those times when people dig out their old photo scrapbooks and albums and remember the holidays of yesteryear. And we know there is some photographic gold hidden in those albums of yours - photos like the one above, of our own Nicole Penney, apparently quite happy and content in the clutches of this mummer (an early sign of a folklorist-to-be, obviously).

We want to see yours! So we've started up a Facebook group where you can share your family holiday photos, called Vintage Newfoundland Christmas. Post and comment there to your heart's content!

Don't have Facebook, but want to share? Or do you have old photos, but need some help scanning them? Don't be shy! You can email us at and we'll be happy to help.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Fancy Water Feet

For the past couple of weeks Dale has been overseas attending workshops, telling stories, teaching, and eating some delicious looking foods, but still has managed to spot folklore treasures for me on the other side of the pond. Dale spotted this repurposed horse watering trough on the harbour in Stromness, Orkney, which now serves as a lamppost/ plant holder with fabulous feet! A close up of the hooves:

Watering troughs made specifically for horses are something you can find in Canada as well as overseas - in fact, there's one in Bowring Park that used to be on Water Street, which was featured as a folklore photo back in July. Having accessible public water was important for people and animals alike, especially considering horses would have been working hard downtown as transportation for both people and goods. Having a (separate, of course) place for workhorses to grab a drink was an important element to the downtown scene. This one, however, is especially great looking; tailor made with hooves to handsomely hydrate horses. I'm in love with this!

Have a water folklore photo to share? Please email me at - I would love to see it!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Hammock Days

As we settle into the fall season, I'd like to share a nostalgic summer photograph from the Bay Roberts area. This image was shown to me by 84 year old Wilbur Sparkes during a recent oral history interview. During our talk, Mr. Sparkes reminisced about how his mother used to string up a hammock between two large trees to help take advantage of the summer weather. His grandmother is shown relaxing in a rocking chair next to her. This was just one of many wonderful memories he shared about growing up in the community he still calls home.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - An Old School Root Cellar

Last week I had the opportunity to go back out into the field and get my hands dirty with some serious archaeology. My graduate supervisor Barry Gaulton has been going out to a site in Sunnyside, Newfoundland, for the past several years with Steve Mills, and each time he goes out into the field he brings eager graduate students with him: this year it was my turn! The site is a 17th century winter house in the woods near the water, and based upon some of the artifacts we found it probably dates to the 1660's, and was probably used for only a year or two.

One great discovery this season was the location of what was most likely a root cellar to the west of where the house was. It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but this root cellar is built from mounded earth, and we uncovered a section of staining in the earth that was likely a 4 foot span of wooden flooring in the center. Although there isn't any remains left, the top of the root cellar would have been built of a combination of earth, rock and wood, drawn from the local resources at hand.

Root cellars would have been just as important 350 years ago as they were 50 years ago, or even today, especially during a cold winter with limited access to supplies other than what you could hunt or gather for yourself. I decided to share the photo I had of the root cellar this week for the folklore photo as a teaser for a blog post later on this week about my trip out to Sunnyside, and because root cellars are cool, and full of folklore-y goodness! And you can't go wrong with one from the 17th century.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday Folklore Photo: Posing Pretty on a Well

So yes, technically it's Wednesday, but I had to slightly delay the folklore photo this week because of a really exciting meeting I had this morning. I went out to Shea Heights to meet Shirley Holden, who contacted the Folklore office about a tradition she remembers surrounding taking special occasion photos.

Shirley told me this morning that when she was growing up in Shea Heights wells represented a gathering place - kids would hang out on the well and meet up to decide where to play, and workmen would eat sitting on the general store well while waiting for a ride back to work. One really interesting tradition she told me about was taking photos on a well for a special occasion. The photo above is of Shirley (bottom) with her older sister Rita (top left) and her mother Anne (top right) sitting on their family well for a photo, which was taken around 1961.

Shirley remembers always gathering to take photos on the well for anything special: birthdays, Easter, or even Christmas, especially outside of the Vicker's general store window on their well out front of the property. "They put all the decorations and the lights and the little houses [in the window] and so that was your big background; everybody would go and sit on the Vicker's well and get their picture taken ... and it wasn't only us, it was a lot of people that went and sat on the well and got their pictures taken".

Later this week there will be a more detailed recap of some interesting people I have been lucky enough to meet the last couple weeks, including Shirley!

If you have any wells or springs stories to share, please contact me at either or 739-1892 ext. 7

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ICH office accepts The Scope's 2013 #PhotoChallengeNL

Recently, St. John's arts and culture newspaper The Scope challenged readers to participate in a photo project, taking a different photo or video every day for the month of August.  You can read more about the challenge here:

The Intangible Cultural Heritage office is onboard! And because we love a good folklore photo, we'll take the challenge to the next level: all our photos will follow the daily suggestions, AND be on a folklore/intangible cultural heritage theme. 

We'll be posting our folklore-themed photos on Instagram, with The Scope's suggested hashtag  #photochallengenl and our own #ich_nl (that's our Twitter handle, btw). 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Folklore Photo - Ocean Pond Well

This week's folklore photo is courtesy of Jessica Cahill, who gave us a tour of her property in Ocean Pond last Friday. Jess contacted us via Facebook when she heard we were working on a wells and springs project, and had a great example of a hand dug well to show us. Jess had a lot of stories surrounding the property and the well that came from the previous owners, and was informed that it was dug by the grandfather of the last owner in the 1930's. When she first bought the property, there was a wellhouse covering it, but was too deteriorated to be left standing. The well is circular, hand dug and rock lined, and is incredibly well preserved despite its age. The well itself is just over 13 feet deep, and the water is clear enough to see all the way to the bottom.

Jess has a cover over the well right now in case nighttime explorers come across it without realizing it's there, but would like to eventually see if it could be used again. Jess said she would like to incorporate it into the cabin water lines when construction begins, as long as the well would still be intact. "We want to use it if we can, but if it would damage it then we'd rather just preserve it, because it's so fantastic" she told us. Until then, it's a gorgeous example of old hand dug wells from one of the original properties in Ocean Pond.

We here at the Heritage Foundation's Intangible Cultural Heritage office will be drilling the community for water stories all summer, so if you have any memories, photos, stories or know of any old wells and springs, we would love to hear from you! Please contact me at the heritage office here.

- Sarah

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Folklore Photo - Bowring Park Horse Trough

This week's folklore photo is of the Bowring Park horse trough, sent to us courtesy of Gayna Rowe, Office Administrator with the Bowring Park Foundation. The horse trough once stood on Water Street, to service the working horses of the day. Over time, as the use of horses declined, the trough was used less and less, and eventually was moved to Bowring Park, where is today. Currently, the park has plans to revitalize the trough, and may convert it as a drinking fountain for thirsty dogs out for walks with their owners.

We here at the Heritage Foundation's Intangible Cultural Heritage office are thirsty for memories, photos, stories and locations of old wells and springs. If you have a memory of a spring or well, let our researcher Sarah Ingram know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reunited Photographs: Tennis on the Avenue

It is a well-known fact that there was once a tennis court behind the Bay Roberts cable station. This court was built and maintained by the Western Union in order to provide some leisure and entertainment to their staff. Below are two photographs of people waiting to play tennis, and each came to us from different sources. When we put them together, it was a surprise for us to see that they were almost identical, but not quite --  you can see that one was taken just after the other. It's likely that they had the same photographer, believed to be Mr. Robert Mercer, former cable employee and avenue resident. We wonder how the two photographs got separated but are happy to reunite them. Can you spot the differences? And which do you think was taken first?

Photograph provided by V. Williams (London, Ontario), whose husband Brian was raised on Cable Avenue.

Photograph provided by the Bay Roberts Historical Society Inc., part of their larger cable-related collection.

If you know anything about these photographs, like the names of people in the tennis line, or if there are any more images in the series, I'd love to hear from you:


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: A Wedding in Muddy Hole

The wedding of Hettie and Jimmy Robert Simms, in Muddy Hole, Newfoundland, probably during the early 1950s. The couple left Muddy Hole some years before the community was resettled in 1965, and moved to Pushthrough. Photograph courtesy of HFNL board member Doug Wells, of Harbour Breton.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo

I know that it's spring now and snowy landscapes are not exactly what we want to be looking at, but I thought it would be nice to say goodbye to winter by looking at this fantastic photograph of unbridled winter fun. This photo was taken by Ted Rowe in Heart's Content during the early 1960s and shows boys playing hockey on harbour ice. Nowadays the harbour doesn't freeze over like this, and groups of children no longer gather together to play hockey outdoors. This photo is a nostalgic peek into days gone by--a special thanks to Ted Rowe for sharing it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Dan Snow's Stone Wall

Dan Snow, a traditional stone wall maker and artisan from Vermont, has been visiting English Harbour on the Bonavista Peninsula for several years. He is a regular instructor with the English Harbour Arts Centre, and teaches dry stone wall techniques.

This is one of the walls he worked on in English Harbour in 2010. You can check out his website at

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Folklore Photo: Masonic Temple in Twillingate

This photo is of the Masonic Temple in Twillingate, built by Joshua Roberts in 1906. Dated 1908, this photo was found while cleaning up the Heritage Foundation's heritage structure designation files. Click here if you'd like more information about the Masonic Temple in Twillingate.  -Nicole

Friday, February 15, 2013

Floating George and Annie Warren's House, Placentia Bay

Lisa Wilson and I are just back from a trip to Arnold's Cove, to meet with their local heritage committee on a web project they are undertaking, on the theme of resettlement.

Committee member Edna Penney shared with us this great image, which would have been a fairly typical sight during the resettlement period. It shows George and Annie Warren's house, being floated from Best's Harbour (Tack's Beach) to Arnold's Cove in July 1966.

If you've got a photo of a family house being floated, or hauled across the ice, we'd love to see it. Toss us a line at

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: English Picnic Baskets

A woven basket owned by Neal Wells of Grand Falls-Windsor
A woven basket owned by Patricia Mchuge of Grand Falls-Windsor
Last year the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office undertook a collection project focused on basket making in this province. We documented several basket styles, including what we believe to be two English picnic baskets. Beyond that we know very little about these baskets and would like to figure out exactly what they are woven from. We suspect the baskets to be made of willow, as this is a very common material used by English basket makers. Also, both these baskets seem to constructed using the randing weave, which is a common style of English willow weaving.

If you happen to have any idea what these baskets are made of  please get in touch with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, we'd love to hear from you! Contact Nicole at 1-888-739-1892 ex.6 or email at 

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Runs on Screech" - The most awesome heritage photo you'll see this Friday

Our intern Nicole Penney is working on organizing the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador's old Registered Heritage Structure files, and came across this gem in the collections from 562-564 Water Street in St. John's.

We don't know much about the photo, only that it dates to c1940, and shows Morrissey's shop in the background. In the 1940s a Mr. Morrissey sold provisions and groceries from the store, up until 1969/1970. As for the young gentleman in the car, they are a mystery. Let us know if you have any ideas! Email if you know anything about the car, or the men in the photo.

Read more about the history of the building in the background here.


Folklorist Philip Hiscock writes:

I bet it's not as early as the 1940s. My guess is the mid-1950s.  Hairstyles seem to be mid-1950s.
The use of "kid" (around well before the 1950s) was popularised in that decade by popular songs etc.
"Screech" was hammered down as local usage in the mid-1950s when the Board of Liquor Control labelled one of its locally bottled Demerara rums "Screech." (But it had been popular as a local name for rum since at least the 1940s.)