Showing posts with label mill culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mill culture. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Collective Memories Grand Falls-Windsor - Sealing Sweep

Harry Pinsent
I’m spending this week in Grand Falls-Windsor talking to folks about their memories of Main Street in Windsor and merchants such as Becker’s, Chow’s, Cohen’s, Hiscock’s, Munch’s, Riff’s, Stewart’s, and many more who started shops and businesses in the area. The Heritage Foundation is working with the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society to gather and learn more information on Windsor as the society has a large number of interviews focused on Grand Falls, the company and the mill.

Yesterday afternoon Audrey Burke and I had the pleasure of talking with 93 year old Harry Pinsent about his life and his memories of growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor. Harry had vivid memories of growing up in the community and has certainly seen the town change over the years. Harry grew up in a family of six including his only surviving sibling Gordon Pinsent. Harry described going to school in Grand Falls-Windsor and the joy of being able to wear jeans in the summer instead of the shorts required for the school uniforms!
Harry's equipment for his work as an electrician.
Once Harry finished school he worked for the mill briefly before signing up and flying overseas with the RAF during the Second World War. When he returned to Grand Falls-Windsor Harry worked as an electrician with the mill until he retired at the age of 65. Harry married and together with his wife raised a family of fifteen. Harry described some of the shops on Main Street in Windsor and High Street in Grand Falls. He also had memories of leisure activities such as dances, picnics, and going to the movies.

Harry's mother Flossie is in the centre of this picnic.

One story which stood out during the interview was Harry’s description of the Sealing Sweep. Harry remembered the Methodist Church on the West End of Gilbert Street where movies were shown while the new town hall in Grand Falls-Windsor was being built. He saw the first “talkies” or talking pictures at the church. Harry explained that bingo was also played in this church however you couldn’t play for money. In the sound clip below Harry explains the only gambling allowed in the town – the Sealing Sweep.
Do you remember the Sealing Sweep? Or do your recall memories of shopping or working on Main Street? Let us know in the comments or email or call 1-888-739-1892.

~Terra Barrett

Friday, June 27, 2014

Oral History, Workshops, Mill Whistles, and Knitting

In this month's edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: the launch of the Petty Harbour Oral History Project; announcing our Fishing For Folklore workshop in Petty Harbour this September; the Corner Brook Mill Whistle Project; an update on the Grey Sock Project complete with a WWI knitting pattern; and, a mitten knitting competition.

Contributors: Dale Jarvis, Janice Tulk, Nicole Penney, Donna Clouston, Christine Legrow

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Take a peek inside a Newfoundland mill worker's lunch basket.

"You would never go into another man's lunch basket."

It was a refrain we've heard more than a few times over the past few weeks from current and retired mill workers from Corner Brook to Grand Falls-Windsor. Lunch baskets were not something you would poke around inside, certainly not without the owner's permission. Doing so wasn't just considered rude; it could lead to blows if you were not careful.

This afternoon we hosted the second of our Tea 'n' Baskets events, with today's workshop taking place at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor. It was a great success, with lots of baskets, and lots of public sharing of memories and stories.

On this occasion, we were allowed to take a look inside the baskets, and indeed, people were delighted to let us do so. A couple folks went to the trouble of packing a lunch, wrapped up in what were known as "samples" - the ends of paper that men would take home from the mill.  I was even lucky enough to be given a bottle of moose by Mr Dave Peddle.

So have a peek below at what's inside a mill worker's lunch basket. Some are full, some are empty, but they each tell a story. Keep your hands off the moose, though, unless you are looking for a scrap. That's mine.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meeting Mr. Menchenton, Norris Arm basket maker

One of the interesting parts of the research we've been doing on baskets and basket makers is getting to know more about the real men and women behind the baskets.  Here in Grand Falls-Windsor, we've learned about basket makers like Angus Gunn and Everett Janes, and this week, we met the daughter of Mr. Alfred Menchenton.

Alfred Menchenton was a name we'd come across before, and we even have one of his baskets already documented on Memorial University's Digital Archive Initiative (DAI). He was a jack-of-all trades: a woodsman, a carpenter, a builder of logging camps, model-maker, and a prolific crafter of lunch baskets for workers at the mill in Grand Falls.

In the September/October edition of "The Rounder" for 1981, reporter Glen Fiztpatrick wrote, "Over the past couple of years, Mr. Menchenton has become an expert. He made 250 baskets last year and sold them all and could have sold more if the time was available to make them."

The same reporter had found Mr. Menchenton's baskets in the Grand Falls tourist chalet, and had gone looking for the creator. He tracked him down at his shed in Norris Arm North.

"He was in the process of preparing the long narrow strips of birch and pine which were hung along the walls, in readiness to be made into baskets later this winter," wrote Fitzpatrick. "His equipment included an electric table saw and an electric planer, necessities, he said, to produce the smooth strips used to construct the sides. He assembled the saw himself, building the table in which it was placed, and bought the planer second hand."

Over thirty years later, Mr Menchenton is no longer with us. But his daughter and her husband drove us out to that same shed, and there, untouched, was the scene as the reporter had described it. All his tools were still in place, and pieces cut out, ready to make a new basket. Strips of wood were fixed into a form to provide the curve needed for basket ends and handles.  The table saw he built was still sitting inside the door, and the walls were festooned with tools, jigs, pieces of wood, and the snowshoes he had also apparently been adept at creating. One expected Mr. Menchenton himself to walk in, and pick up his work where he had left off.

Mr. Menchenton won't be about our Tea 'n' Baskets event tomorrow at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor, where we are inviting owners of baskets to come, show, and tell about their histories. Even though he won't be there, we are hoping some of his baskets will be.

Monday, March 19, 2012

ICH Roadtrip Day 3 - A Corner Brook Mill Recitation by Terry Penney

Yesterday was the first of our two "Tea 'n' Baskets" events, where we invite owners of traditional mill lunch baskets to come out and share their stories.  One of the participants was Mr Terry Penney, who brought along a vintage mill lunch basket (which he still uses to carry his lunch).  Mr Penney also shared a recitation he wrote, entitled "Continuous Production." Give it a listen!