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Ephemera

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Belmont Star No. 1980

An interesting little piece of horse racing ephemera from 1884. This 4.5″ x 3″ card promotes Belmont Star No. 1980‘s bloodlines and states him to be “one of the richest bred colts in the United States or Canada at the present time“. Belmont Star was “kept for service” by H. McKenzie at the Ashvale Stock Farm located 1.5 miles from Port Perry.

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1892 letter from Cordova Bay to Bella Coola

1892 letter from Dora to Peter (page 1)

1892 letter from Dora to Isa

This letter, dated July 8, 1892, was written by Dora B. Peter from her home in Cordova Bay to her older sister Eliza (Isa) Grant in Bella Coola.  In it she relates the sad news that their mother Marianne had passed away. She also reports on the Smallpox outbreak that had broken out in Victoria.  She writes:

“There are nearly 100 cases of small-pox in town, the Empress of Japan brought it over and 150 Chinese were landed before it was found out. Bill and his family and Jim and John have all been vaccinated and Etta and her squad and the rest are all going to be as soon as possible, it is spreading like wild-fire as night before last there were only 69. I only hope it will not get up your length as you will be in a poor way as you cannot be vaccinated. I have been in town every day this week and have got to go tomorrow yet but after that will not go in more than we possibly can.”

The epidemic, which arrived on board the CPR steamship Empress of Japan, forced the closure of the port of Victoria and was a serious blow to the local economy.  The complete letter is provided here: page 2, page 3, page 4.

This letter is one of several items I have that relate to the Peter family who emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1880 and then moved to Victoria in 1890.  Eliza (Isa) A Peter married Saumarez L. Grant and lived in Bella Coola for 40 years before moving to Seattle where she lived to the ripe old age of 104.  In a previous post I featured an 1899 photo of members of the Peter family taking tea in Kirkland, Fife.

The first of the two photos shown below is of Dora Peter (holding the parasol) with her sister Bertha and would likely have been taken within a year or two of this letter being written. The second photo is of Eliza (Isa) Grant (nee Peter) with her second son Eddie, likely taken around 1900.  Two of Isa’s three sons died in the First World War.

Bertha & Dora Peter

Dora Peter on right

Isa and Eddie Grant

Isa Grant (nee Peter) and Eddie

Edward Fletcher, Esq.

Edward Fletcher Letter (1)

Edward Fletcher Esq. 1844

This wonderful letter, written on Sept. 11, 1844 by Edward Fletcher, Esquire to his friend Mr. Lagarenne in France, gives us some insight into holiday planning in the mid-18th century, at least for those that could afford such luxuries.

The letter was folded and sealed with wax and so no envelope was required. I know very little about postal history but would be interested to know more about the marks on this letter should you have any information to share.  I’ve read about a Uniform Fourpenny Post that was in place for a handful of weeks in 1839/40 which used a large written 4 to indicate payment.  Could the large 10 written on this letter be a similar designation, used on a letter posted to the continent?

The contents of the letter are quite interesting. Edward Fletcher penned the note, beautifully I might add,  from his brother-in-law’s country residence in Croydon and described in detail how he would make his way to the continent.  The Brighton Railway, which was in service for less than 10 years, was only a mile and half from this residence and Fletcher estimated 3 to 3.5 hours should suffice for the journey to Shoreham (the same journey today would take just over an hour and involve several changes, but of course the mile and half carriage ride to the station might take a bit longer).  He goes on to say that from Shoreham there was a good steamboat service every Friday to Harve.

Fletcher devoted much of the letter to describing his requirements for an apartment, should his friend be willing to enquire on his behalf. “A bedroom for Madame et moi — one for Mademoiselle Emilie, and one for her Bonne, will suffice for sleeping apartments. One salon will be sufficient, but if there were a small second room, to use as a study, when requiste, it would be preferable“.  One french female servant was also required (frankly I never travel without one).

Edward Fletcher was a man of means and explained to his friend that he had given his carriage to his cousin, the young Captain Elliott, and so he would hire or purchase a carriage on arrival —  “If you hear of a good strong horse, fit to ride or drive, please keep your eye upon him“.

Intrigued by Edward Fletcher, Esq. I did some digging on Ancestry where I found his baptismal record, showing that he was born in Ealing on April 25, 1798 to Joseph Fletcher, Esq. and Frances. In 1851, six years after this letter was written, the census shows he was living with his wife Mary Ann at 19 Park Street in Bath and was described as a “Proprietor of Houses”.  Interestingly enough, they had visitors the night of the census, a George and Ellen Elliott, presumably the young cousin to whom he gifted his carriage.

Edward Fletcher Probate

Fletcher's Will from 1862

By 1861 Edward was living in Kensington with his wife, his daughter Emily (now Emily Luther) and his grandson Martin F. Luther.  He died only months later, on Dec. 12 1861, and left an estate worth nearly £4000 (over £2 million today).

 

1928 Rent Book – No Pigeons or Hens

1928 Rent Book

1928 Rent Book from Ashton-Under-Lyne

This is a rent book from 1928 printed by the Ashton & District Property Owners’ Association in Ashton-Under-Lyne.  At the time the property was owned by Ben Riley and was situated at 136 Chapel Street, Dukinfield.  It was let out to a Mr. Hawes for 10 / – per week.

This 4″ x 6.5″ booklet, constructed of card stock, features advertisements from local businesses on the front and back cover.  The inside of the rent book provides a space to track payments over the year and also state the terms and conditions, including:

* Slop Water Only to be used in Waste Water Closets.

* No wireless apparatus must be attached to any premises without the consent of the Landlord or his Agents

* No Pigeons or Hens allowed to be kept on the Premises.

The terms end with the stern warning that “Tenants removing their Goods before the Rent be paid, and any person who may assist in so doing, are, by Act of Parliament, liable to be committed to the HOUSE OF CORRECTION FOR SIX MONTHS“.

Train Orders – April 6, 1910

First Ticket & Train Orders

G. Whitehouse Train Orders

On April 6, 1910 a train engineer named G. Whitehouse began his life as an engine driver in Regina, Saskatchewan. 102 years later, while rummaging through a box of bits and bobs, I found a small envelope with the words “First Train Ticket & Train Orders I got April 6th, 1910. G. Whitehouse” written upon it. Tucked inside were four pieces of paper saved from his first day on the job. Now if this isn’t ephemera I don’t know what is.

Hastily scrawled on these scraps of paper are the instructions for G. Whitehouse and his Fireman, H. Norris. Three pieces were issued by the Canadian Pacific Railway (view the third CPR orders) while the fourth set of orders were from the Canadian Northern Railway. The paper used for three of the orders is as thin as tissue paper and it’s a wonder it has survived all these years.

While I haven’t deciphered all of the writing I enjoy them for what they are: a momento from a railwayman’s first day on the job more than a century ago. I know nothing about G. Whitehouse but I suspect he must have loved his life on the rails.

Homesteading circa 1900

Homestead 1

A family poses in front of their homestead

I picked up a pair of very intriguing b&w real photo postcards today.  Both show a small family posing for the camera, one in front of what appears to be a turn of the century homestead and the other around a small stream.  Although there are no clues as to the location my instincts tell me it could be somewhere in the BC interior, or possibly in the foothills of Alberta.

The odd thing (to me at least) is that the reverse of the postcard features a stamp box with the words “Half-Penny Stamp for Inland, One Penny Foreign” which would imply that the postcard is British.  The statement “The address only to be written on this side” dates the card to before 1902.  Could the photos have been taken in Canada and then developed and printed as postcards when the photographer returned to the UK?

Homestead 3

There's snow in them thar hills!

There is a chance the cards could be Australian but the presence of snow in the hills on the second postcard would seem to indicate the photo was taken in Canada (not to mention the fact that the card was found in BC).  If anyone has a theory on these postcards I would certainly appreciate it if you could leave a comment.

Bustling Boar Lane, Leeds

Boar Lane in Leeds

A nice real photo postcard

Today’s blog post features a real photo postcard of Boar Lane in Leeds. Although the card was posted on Aug 19, 1948 I suspect the photo was taken before the Second World War.

The postcard was written by a young rail/bus/tram enthusiast to his parents in Manchester. He was a man on a mission:

“On express to Grimsby. Got Auntie up early. Thoroughly enjoyed Whitby yesterday. We are late into Grimsby. Just about to board G.8.1 Tram. Visiting depot. Have wasted exposures.

In Cleethorpes bus. Have finished with Trams. Just passing Docks Station. The fare from Grimsby to Immingham is 1/11. Not like most tramways but they have to have railway fares. Will get into Leeds at 10.20 by special train.”

A Soldier of the Great War

An Unknown Soldier

A weary looking Sergeant of the Great War

One of the unfortunate consequences of searching for vintage photographs is the discovery of hundreds, if not thousands, of images of someone’s forgotten relatives.

It’s particularly sad to see a soldier’s photograph, knowing that nearly a century ago they held pride of place in homes across the country. If I’m fortunate enough to find a name or number I do my best to keep their memory alive by publishing their story online. Unfortunately sometimes there is no information to follow up.

I can’t afford to buy all of the photographs of unknown soldiers but I do rescue as many as I can.  I’ve created a photo set on Flickr as a tribute to, as tens of thousands of headstones so eloquently state, “A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God“.

The postcard featured here is of a British [Edit: Private with a Horse Artillery Unit] with two wound stripes on his left forearm. This dates the postcard to 1916 or later. He looks tired and in need of that cigarette.

Intercolonial Railway

Intercolonial Railway

A Billhead for the Intercolonial Railway

This attractive billhead from the Intercolonial Railway is dated January 27, 1888 and contains a list of goods shipped to the McNair Brothers General Store in Eel Crossing, New Brunswick.

The McNair Brothers, James, William, Robert and David were 4 of 10 children born in New Brunswick to Scottish immigrants. In addition to the General Store the brothers also operated a lumber mill which burnt to the ground in 1889. By 1892 James and his brother Robert were on the west coast and had constructed a small shingle mill at Hastings. Ten years later they constructed a new shingle mill – the largest in the world – and went on to become significant figures in BC lumbering history.

The Intercolonial Railway ran from Montreal to Halifax and officially began operation in 1872 but it’s name implies its’ origins are much older, and indeed they were. Connecting the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada with those on the Atlantic Coast were top of mind after the War of 1812 and security concerns were raised again during the US Civil War. The name stuck despite the company beginning operations five years after Confederation and remained intact until the railway was taken over by the Canadian National Railway in 1918.

Downtown Fort MacLeod

Fort MacLeod, Alberta

24th Street, Fort MacLeod, AB

This is a very nice late 1940’s real photo postcard showing downtown Fort MacLeod in Alberta. The postcard credits the photograph to “Kingston” but the card was published by Rumsey & Co. Ltd in Toronto.

It’s been over 60 years since this photograph was taken but as you’ll see by the Streetview image on Historypin the street-scape is remarkably intact. The Queen’s Hotel still stands on one corner and the Rexall Pharmacy across the street is still there too, although it has moved a few doors down. The Canadian Bank of Commerce that dominated the other corner is close by too. Just spin the Streetview image around and you’ll see the bank is now housed in a smaller building just across the street.  Perhaps most impressive of all is the fact that the Empress Theatre, despite all the changes to cinemas over the years, can still be found down the street on the left.  Check out this century old theatre’s website (complete with soundtrack)!

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