Jeanette Elliott, Collections Relocation Coordinator

Affectionately known as the “Farmer’s Colonel”, Lt. Col. Bartholomew “Bart” Robson was held in high esteem by all ranks of the 135th Middlesex Battalion. Actively involved in the militia since his youth, he enlisted as a private with the 26th Middlesex Light Infantry and rose to become their commanding officer, a position he held when the Great War broke out in 1914.

135th Batt. Flat presented by County Council of Middlesex 1916

In 1915 he was authorized to raise a battalion from Middlesex County, and according to a report in the March 30, 1916 edition of the Strathroy Age Dispatch “the recruiting record at the end of February 3 months after the authorization of the battalion shows close to 1,000 men on the roll.” The article goes on to describe the character of the Lt. Col., “Bart Robson is a farmer. He is a real son of the soil and his big farm at Ilderton is one of the best in the County of Middlesex. He is a soldier too, a real soldier in the words of his officers and men and the way he has brought the 135th to practically full strength is an indication of his ability. There is no stiff-necked adherence to all the forms and usages of so-called military etiquette in Col. Robson. There is more real democracy in the 135th...

Jeanette Elliott, Collections Relocation Coordinator

Ninety seven years ago today The London Advertiser reported on the success of the Allies final counter-offensive of World War One, which ultimately led to the defeat of the German Army. Known as the “Hundred Days Campaign”, it began on August 8, 1918 with the Battle of Amiens and ended with the Armistice being signed on November 11th. Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, Commander in Chief of the Imperial Forces, based his campaign on the use of “shock troops” to break the German defences, and the Canadian Corps played a major role. As reported by the Advertiser, Haig paid a visit to the Canadian front lines - “He complimented Sir Arthur Currie, not only on the achievement of the corps, but also on the wonderful spirit animating his men, battle weary after three days of savage fighting, yet whose only desire was to be let loose again on the Boche.”

The London Advertiser 1918 Newspaper Clipping

In contrast, the second page of the Advertiser displayed advertisements for local businesses and attractions, including the grand opening of the Annis Candy Shop at 398 Richmond Street. An ad for “Vacation Days at Port Stanley” reports where to purchase remedies for sunburn and promotes the Irish Benevolent Society’s Annual Picnic. How far removed those on the home front must have felt from their fathers, brothers, sons and daughters fighting...

Jeff Willmore

Interpretive historic Village as cultural hot-spot, is it true? Well, if you are involved in community theatre locally, you know it’s true.

At Fanshawe Pioneer Village theatre operates on two levels. It can be argued that a visit to the Village is a theatrical experience in itself, in many ways we ‘tread the boards’ every day. The Village is our stage and costumed interpreters and educational staff play out the story of this region’s history. As our visitors enter any staffed building an interpreter will pass on the story of that building with an oral history and an interpretive activity. On special weekend events small pantomimes are often enacted involving a number of costumed staff to illustrate historical events or celebrate important dates.

Summer Theatre at Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Summer Theatre at Fanshawe Pioneer Village featuring the cast of the play Choose But Choose Wisely by Jason Rip. This year Fanshawe Pioneer Village is proud to partner with AlvegoRoot to offer two new plays, you can check them out here.

On top of this daily culture of educational storytelling, at least three times a season visitors can experience community theatre within venues on site or using the whole site to deliver plays ‘plein air’. In July you can experience a summer theatre production in one of our barns, and in the fall...