Sheila Johnson

Did you know that Middlesex County has some of the finest township histories in the Province? Delaware and Westminster, West Nissouri, Biddulph, London and Lobo have all completed outstanding township histories. Writing a community history is a mammoth effort put forth by a team of volunteers. And when the job is finished, the community is left with a beautifully published hardcover book…but the archival documents, records, photographs and other primary sources used to write that history goes back to their owners. The history book committees have always been concerned about the loss of those documents. As people move on, the documents they have preserved in the family home for a lifetime are frequently lost. Twenty years have passed since the first township history was published and the community now has an acute concern about the loss of the documentary heritage of their regions.

In 1998, townships within the County of Middlesex were amalgamated into larger municipalities through restructuring. These new municipalities were required to preserve not only the documentary history of their own governments, but also the public records of the former townships. On January 1, 2003 changes to the Municipal Act included provisions for the preservation of public records. Within this Act, municipalities gained responsibility for record keeping and archives. The most significant change from the previous Act is that municipal archival records could no longer be transferred to the...

Anne Brooks

Last week I received a very interesting phone call. A gentleman from Ireland was looking for a wooden nickel from Fanshawe Pioneer Village. His son collects wooden nickels and after being in contact with a collector in Toronto he knew that we had made them and sold them at some point.

Well, this was news to me!

After questioning everyone who currently works at Fanshawe Pioneer Village, I came up without any information! No one knew anything about this! The hunt was on! I found out from the Irish fellow that he believed they were from the late 1980’s - early 1990s.

I have become a super sleuth by contacting current volunteers that have been volunteering since the late 1980’s, staff members from the past, including Curators and Executive Directors. The Curator of Banting House worked here at the time, he remembers them but he does not own one. There are also other previous staff members who had stories that they had seen one or two, or were shown one by another person, but this type of information has just gone in circles!

Shanna and I checked out the collections storage, and also went hunting in some of the site buildings but to no avail. I did get one lead, one of the employees at the Upper Thames Conservation Area managed the Pioneer Village at the time, and of the wooden nickels, she does...

Anne Brooks

Hi ho hi ho, it’s off to the Irish Benevolent Society luncheon I go!

Fanshawe Pioneer Village has a tradition of attending the annual Irish Benevolent Society lunch at the Carousel Lounge in the Western Fair. This year Sheila and I attended, and I have to say it was quite enjoyable. There are two reasons we go to this event 1) they have good food and 2)one of our donors, Charles Corbett (family donated the Corbett Tavern) is a past president of the Irish Benevolent Society. This was the 134th Gala celebration, which is amazing! I don’t think many organizations have this kind of history and can keep events successful for this long!

Corned Beef, potatoes and cabbage were on the menu… although I have to say that the desserts were my favourite. Each table received a plate of treats! You know it is a great day when you are eating squares while watching traditional Irish singing and dancing. The other neat thing about attending this event is if you pay for the luncheon you automatically become a member of the Irish Benevolent Society!

All in all it was a great lunch!