Friday, March 12, 2021

Living Heritage Podcast Ep201 Shetland History and Folklore with Dr Andrew Jennings

Lerwick, Scotland. Image via swifant/wikimedia.

Dr Andrew Jennings is based in Lerwick, Shetland's capital. He enjoys everything about life in this beautiful archipelago, from rowing in the local yoal team and taking part in the Fire Festival, to walking the dog and experiencing the wild Shetland weather. Living in Scotland's most northerly islands, with their Nordic cultural inheritance, inspires his research and his teaching. He is the programme leader on the MLitt Viking Studies, Island Studies, Orkney and Shetland Studies and Highlands and Islands Literature.


Living Heritage 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 HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.
Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Join us for our Baccalieu Trail Thriving Regions: Researcher Updates & Community Conversation March 19

Are you from the Baccalieu Trail Region? Join us for our Baccalieu Trail Thriving Regions: Researcher Updates & Community Conversation

On March 19th (Friday) from 11:30am - 1pm, the Harris Centre of Memorial University will be hosting a virtual session at which two of our researchers will present the results of their work: 

Hidden Gems of the Baccalieu Trail
Ms. Natalie Dignam 

Traditional Knowledge Inventory of the Baccalieu Trail: Mobilizing Intangible Cultural Heritage
Mr. Dale Jarvis 

There will be opportunities to ask questions of the two researchers and to explore potential opportunities for using their products.

Registration information can be found here on the Harris Centre website: 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New Publication on the Burgess Property, Whiteway NL

Burgess Property in 1948, taken by Margaret Mackintosh

Heritage NL has been researching the Burgess Property, a designated Registered Heritage Structure in Whiteway comprised of six buildings built throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over 150 years and several generations of the Burgess family have operated fishing, coopering, and sawmilling industries from the property. Collectively, the Burgess Property buildings today are an excellent example of the diverse economies outport families participated in, in addition to showcasing typical Newfoundland vernacular architecture. Today, the property is still being taken care of by the sixth consecutive generation of Burgesses, and holds an impressive collection of historic documents and artefacts used throughout the building’s history. 

Working with the Burgess family, Heritage NL received an overwhelming amount of information carefully curated on the property. Using these resources and additional research, Heritage NL has created an initial report documenting the historic buildings currently on the property and mapping the historic landscape. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Folklore DIY tip of the day: How to make a tape log for a recorded audio interview

If you are working with archived audio material, or recording new audio interviews, a tape log will help you keep track of information, and make your recordings easier to search. 

Example of how to write a tape log:

Essentially there are three sections repeated over and over:

Minutes:Seconds of where the discussion topic starts 00:39 

Simple text description of topic                 his father’s work, Hiscock names his  


Semicolon separating description from new timestamp ;

In the body of the text, use commas to separate ideas within one topic, use the semicolon between topics to indicate a new starting timestamp. If writing a date use Day Month Year (28 February 1944 for example). 

This is what a finished tape log should look like:

00:00 Ben Hiscock from Champney’s West, Trinity Bay, NL describes how his father met his mother; 00:39 his father’s work, Hiscock names his grandparents; 1:12 Hiscock was born on 2 December 1942 and explains his name Benjamin St. Clare Hiscock and where it came from; 2:07 growing up in Champney’s West and how supportive the community was, changes in the community television, population, hydro, plumbing, telephone, question of what will happen in the community once the senior citizens pass away, need for something to keep the community going; 5:01 an early memory of growing up in Champney’s West and hammering a penny to close the hole in the penny in order to buy a ginger snap at the shop owned by Mr. Myer Goldsworthy; 7:42 describes fishing with his father, Fishing grounds, Hand lining and trawls, 9:16 changes in the fishery in Champney’s West with new technology and regulations; 11:45 Keeping up the fishing stages; 12:22 Change in visiting in the community; 13:01 the shipwreck of the Saladin on 28 December 1943; An older man went outside to use the washroom and heard people screaming, Local man made a bosun’s chair, Community men rescued the people from the Saladin, Local man Wilfred Hiscock who jumped out on the rock to save the men; 18:27 a bosun’s chair and the captain of the Saladin; 19:45 the shipwreck of the Hazel Pearl on 28 February 1944; Hazel Pearl hit the hard ice and sunk, how Wayne a local man salvages the spar from the Hazel Pearl; 22:10 other shipwrecks in the area such as the Mayflower; 22:38 story of the person buried on Fox Island, Describes how his family settled Fox Island, Hiscock suspects the body found in the bog on Fox Island which has long hair and was wrapped in a blanket was the grave of Joseph Hiscock; 26:35 why families moved from Fox Island to Champney’s West, the main family names in the community; 28:47 how the name of the community was changed from Salmon Cove to Champney’s West, Hiscock explains how he thinks Champney’s East is older than Champney’s West there are Champney’s West families buried in Champney’s Arm; 30:05 Champney’s West during World War Two blackouts, low flying planes; 32:14 Description of local characters, Story about a local character Bill who worked on the Labrador and put a pair of women’s underwear in a keg of molasses as a practical joke; 37:20 Description of Christmas when Hiscock was growing up visiting, caroling; 38:13 Description of mummering and mummering rig up, Visiting and drinking during Christmas; 40:17 Celebrating bonfire night, Stealing tubs to burn; 41:30 what he feels is the most important thing in the community to save, Description of square dancing, Language; 43:09 Description of who would play button accordion for square dancing, how many couples you would need.

Pro tip: Accession numbers are your friends! Make sure you label your log with the number/name of the sound file you are indexing! 

Watch the YouTube tutorial here: 

What Did You Do with Sawdust in Whiteway?

Whiteway, a community around Trinity Bay, was once home to two sawmills run by two different local families. The Drovers, who lived to the North of the brook which powered their mill, had a shingle mill which they established soon after arriving in Whiteway in the 19th century. The Burgess mill (pictured below) was established many decades after the Drover mill, in 1919. In both cases, milling provided some supplementary income to declining fishing wages and prospects. 

Photo of the Burgess Sawmill today. It is a short, long building, with an orange shingled exterior, a pair of wide garage doors painted red, and a regular door also painted red.

Beyond making Whiteway a great place to get lumber and shingles, these two mills also changed Whiteway’s landscape by producing mountains of sawdust through the milling process. The Drovers mill produced so much sawdust, in fact, that locals today highlight an area on the western portion of the north bank of the brook their mill was powered by as being the historic location of the ‘Drover’s Sawdust Pile.’ Similarly, members of the Burgess family recall a mount of sawdust being put between the house and mill until the mid 1920’s, when a garage was built. After that period, sawdust was piled behind the sawmill.

Far from being useless, sawdust is a very versatile material because of its insulating properties. In the case of Whiteway, the abundance of sawdust made it an easy material to use to help preserve ice after the winter. Some of the Burgess family today even recall that in the winter, blocks of ice were cut from Jimmy Rowe’s Pond and buried in sawdust. The ice was used to preserve salmon which had been caught out in the bay, which was later sold to the Harnum's in Hearts Delight, Cramm's in Green’s Harbour, and the Moores in Carbonear. Saws used to cut ice from Jimmy Rowe’s pond remain in the Burgess sawmill to this day. As Bob Burgess writes,

‘Once the ponds froze over, the horse and sled would be driven across the pond in the morning, logs would be hauled out before lunch time, lunch was eaten and our uncles would change out of sweat-filled clothes, then head back across the pond to bring out more wood. This continued until the pond ice broke up in the spring.’

Below, you can see a painted wood carving of the Burgess family collecting ice to be stored in sawdust. Today, the piles of sawdust that were once around Whiteway are gone, and the mills have fallen out of use, but the legacies of the Drover and Burgess milling enterprises continue to be featured in local historic accounts.

Call for online papers and presentations: Folklore and Crisis. #FolkloreThursday

The Folklore Studies Association of Canada will hold this year's annual meeting online! The meeting will take place between June 2 and 7. Specific dates and technologies will be communicated shortly.

The theme of the conference is Folklore and Crisis.We invite applicants to reflect on creative responses to situations of difficulty and distress. Creativity, a key characteristic of folklore, often comes into play at such times. The current pandemic, for example, continuously affects our daily lives, prompting us to create vernacular mechanisms to cope with new fearful realities, resist inequalities, fill gaps in institutional knowledge, maintain a sense of normalcy, and build future plans. Creative impulses range from traditional practices revived during lockdowns to emergent health beliefs and conspiracy theories. Folklorists also face the need for creative innovations. During the pandemic, scholars have had to adjust their methodologies, research questions, and knowledge dissemination trajectories. Likewise, public folklorists and practitioners have developed alternative platforms and strategies for museums, archives, government organizations, arts institutions, and businesses.

We invite academic and practice-based paper proposals on all manifestations of folklore and folklife that address crisis and creative responses to it. How can folklorists, as well as the individuals and groups we study, shed light on the nuances of human experiences at times of difficulty, discomfort, or danger? In the case of the current pandemic, what implications do the new realities have for our field in both academic and public spheres? Proposals for panels, discussion sessions, and individual papers related to other themes in the disciplines of ethnology and folklore are welcome.

We especially encourage proposals from graduate students. Given the nature of the virtual format, this is an affordable chance to present at a national conference. We also intend to create virtual opportunities for networking.

Please send abstracts of 150 words, in English or French, to Dr. Mariya Lesiv ( by March 1, 2021.

All accepted presenters must be paid-up members of FSAC/ACEF for 2021. To join or renew your membership, visit

Monday, February 22, 2021

Historic Paint Colours, Heritage Palettes, Red Ochre Paint, and Jellybean Row!

Two-tone house in Hickman's Harbour, Random Island, late 1990s. 

In the early days, the colour palette used on Newfoundland and Labrador buildings was much more limited than today. Colours available were those that could be made from natural materials such as minerals (for example, red and yellow ochre, zinc white or lime white wash) or plant dyes. In the first half of the 19th century many wooden buildings, particularly in rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador were either unpainted, whitewashed, or covered with red ochre paint comprising powdered ochre mixed with seal or fish oil. Evidence of red ochre paint has been found in the archaeological remains of the province’s earliest known residential building constructed in 1610 at the Cupids Cove Plantation. 

In the 19th century the houses of the wealthier residents sometimes employed a different colour for trimwork while most houses were a single colour.  Until well into the 20th century, houses in many outport communities were white with a coloured trim.  Fishing structures such as stages and storehouses were generally either white, red ochre or brown or not painted at all, although there were always exceptions to the rule in terms of colour. 

In the early 20th century, pre-mixed paints became available, particularly with the establishment of the paint division of Standard Manufacturing in St. John’s in 1907. After World War II, a much broader range of colours became available around the province, the product of modern industrial paint production processes. The 1970s and '80s saw the beginning of a significant expansion of the colour palette, particularly in St. John’s. The St. John’s Heritage Foundation played a significant role in the revitalization of the old downtown residential neighbourhoods during this period.  The foundation encouraged livelier colour schemes with one or more accent colours for exterior trims and mouldings

Heritage Paints

Historic paint colours in Newfoundland and Labrador

Historic Paint Chart from Templetons

Shane O'Dea on heritage paint schemes:

Red Ochre and Lime Whitewash

Making red ochre paint

Way more on red ochre than you would ever want to know

Paint in Twillingate

Jelly Bean Row Colours

The Jelly Bean Palette

Is the bay being bedazzled by Jellybean Row colours and losing its unique identity?

Candy Coloured Homes

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Memories from Whiteway: Uncle Jesse's Cellar

Image of Uncle Jesse's cellar in Whiteway. The cellar is partially underground, with a concrete lined entrance. The cellar has been converted into a greenhouse, and is covered in stiff, clear, material to let sunlight in.

Uncle Jesse’s cellar is a root cellar built into the size of a hill in Whiteway sometime in the 1930s, located just behind the Burgess Designated Heritage Property’s Cellar. In typical cellar fashion, it is not a very big building, but it is unique in the way that it is only partially underground. 

Like all root cellars across Newfoundland Uncle Jesse’s cellar would have been built to store vegetables over the winter. Unlike other root cellars, however, Uncle Jesse’s cellar was reused by the Burgess family over the years for a variety of reasons, and even featured some built in benches and furniture at one point. Ian Burgess recalls, for example, that Uncle Jesse would nap or lay down in his cellar during the summer months because:

‘He had some kind of consumption or issue with his lungs and found it difficult to breath so uh, on-uh, on-uh muggy summer days they-they had uh, y’know the uh-th’ fainting couch? Th-the the one with the rounded back? uh, uh, the s- the settee I guess you’d call it? Uh he had one of those put out there and he would go out there and uh, an get some relief on-uh, on warm days.’

Bob Burgess recalls this as well, saying that his Uncle Jesse had severe emphysema, and may have even lost a lung to his illness at one point. Bob also informed us that, because of its second use as a resting place for Uncle Jesse, the cellar was actually quite cabin-like in his youth, around the 1970s. 

More generally, Uncle Jesse and his wife were known around the community for always having a household full of young people. While they did not have any biological children themselves, the couple took in a few kids over the years who lived with them for a period of time. Bob Burgess recalls that there was always a ‘jeer’ of kids around his Aunt and Uncle’s house. He told us, more specifically:

‘I remember being it in - in it - as a cabin. Right? Like it had a roof and all that kind of stuff, and um… Just being in there...and, y’know, th-the boys were hanging out, my brother - older brother - was there and all that kind of stuff yeah I remember being in there….It’s not very big. Its was tight quarters right? yeah, yeah, one hundred percent. And there was...uh, my memory is foggy about it, but it was just a series of benches and maybe even bunks somehow in there, right, but uh, yeah, I can remember being in there.’

Both Bob and Ian Burgess also recall that there was a musical component to their time in Whiteway with their Uncle and his kids. Bob recalls that they were often singing and playing guitar, and Ian told us:

‘I can remember them playing guitar and I still play the same chords that-uh junior taught me[….] And down on the-uh, down on the, near the beach of the drum going down uh, to there, I can remember them playing there for some guys who came over from-uh, they spent a couple weeks over here catching eels in the brook. And I can remember Junior and Ches down there playing for them.’

Today, the cellar, along with the rest of the Burgess Heritage Property, are still owned by members of the Burgess family. Uncle Jesse’s cellar, unfortunately, fell into disrepair after years of neglect, but has recently been renovated into a greenhouse, bringing it into a new phase of existence. While Uncle Jesse’s cellar is not a designated building, the stories attached to it are compelling and help illustrate to ways in which buildings evolve and are adapted or refit to suit the needs of the people who use them. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Living Heritage Podcast Ep200 - Doughboys and Molasses, Oh!

We chat with folklorist Dr. Anna Kearney Guigné about the new CD - Doughboys and Molasses, Oh!, which offers listeners a fresh perspective on the musical heritage of the Gros Morne region on Newfoundland’s west coast. Available on disc and digital download, the album features 22 carefully restored tracks originally recorded from local singers by folk song researchers in the mid-20th century. 

Also included are four new performances specially commissioned for the compilation from musicians Anita Best, Matthew Byrne, Daniel Payne and Jim Payne. The accompanying booklet explores the stories of the songs, the singers and the collectors, as well as the role of singing in family and community life.


Living Heritage 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 HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.
Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.