Friday 24 December 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 From all of us at the Victorian Society of Alberta, wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy New year!


Friday 10 December 2021

Saskatchewan Brewery in Medicine Hat?


The Saskatchewan Brewery in Alberta? 
Well, at the time, it would have been the North-West Territories.

The Saskatchewan Brewery was the first brewery in Medicine Hat, built by Thomas W. Ireland, who brewed "Saskatchewan" beer. It opened 1884 and closed in 1887 when the need for regulations for the brewing industry became an issue.

PAA Photo #: A471
Saskatchewan Brewery in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

December Book Tuesday

Here is our recommendation for this month's Book Tuesday

With cooler days coming, we start thinking of cozy sweaters.

From 1908, lots of ideas and plans for knitted and crocheted items.


The Victorian Society of Alberta

The Columbia Book of Yarns
by Anna Schumacker

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Louis Riel Day

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Louis Riel Day:

“Today, we join the Métis Nation and all Canadians in commemorating the legacy of Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, Louis Riel.

“A politician, an impassioned activist, and a visionary, Louis Riel advocated and fought for equality, social justice, and minority language rights. Although he was elected to represent Manitobans in Ottawa, he was never permitted to take his duly elected seat in Parliament. In spite of this injustice, his contributions to defending the rights and culture of the Métis Nation and Francophones have left a lasting impact on Confederation and paved the way for a more inclusive country.

“As we celebrate Louis Riel’s life, we also acknowledge the injustices and systemic racism the Métis people – and all Indigenous peoples – have faced for centuries, and continue to face today. We know that it is only by working together that we will make real progress in righting these wrongs.

“The Government of Canada continues to work with Indigenous peoples to build a renewed relationship based on affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. We are working with the Métis Nation to amplify its voices, address its unique needs and concerns, and advance its inherent right to self-determination and self-government. Louis Riel’s vision will keep inspiring us as we continue to walk the shared path of reconciliation and to strengthen the Canada-Métis Nation relationship for the benefit of our country and all Canadians.

“On this day, I invite everyone to honour Louis Riel’s enduring influence, and to celebrate and learn about the Michif language as well as the culture, traditions, and way of life of the Métis. Let us recognize the essential role they have played, and continue to play, in building a better Canada.”


Thursday 11 November 2021

Lest We Forget

 Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. In 1931, Alan Neill, Member of Parliament for Comox–Alberni, introduced a bill to observe Armistice Day only on November 11. Passed by the House of Commons, the bill also changed the name to “Remembrance Day”. The first Remembrance Day was observed on November 11, 1931.

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Saturday 23 October 2021

A Heritage Park Ramble

 As the weather turns cooler and we start to look forward to hanging out by the fire, I thought it might be nice to look back on the first in person ramble we have had since the pandemic started!

It was a hot, smokey day but a lovely flaneury was had by all!
Heritage Park, Calgary, August 14, 2021!

Victorian Society of Alberta

Photos by Kevin Jepson

Monday 18 October 2021

History of Western Settlement

This page has an excellent history of the settlement of Western Canada.
There are great references included for further study as well.
Victorian Society of Alberta

Settling the West: Immigration to the Prairies from 1867 to 1914

by Erica Gagnon, Collections Researcher

From 1867 to 1914, the Canadian West opened for mass settlement, and became home to millions of immigrant settlers seeking a new life. This immigration boom created key industries still important to Canada’s international role – like agriculture, mining, and oil. The Prairie Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta grew rapidly in these years as settlers began to transform the barren prairie flatland and establish unique cultural settlements. Many motivations brought immigrants to Canada: greater economic opportunity and improved quality of life, an escape from oppression and persecution, and opportunities and adventures presented to desirable immigrant groups by Canadian immigration agencies. By examining these motivations, an understanding of Prairie immigration experiences and settlement patterns evolves in interesting ways.

The immigration boom leading up to 1914 was one of the most important periods of Canadian population growth. Significant changes occurred in Canada after 1867 that made the Prairie immigration boom possible: the construction of a transcontinental railroad made transportation and travel accessible; the Dominion Lands Act of 1872 created free and fertile homesteads for settlers; the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police in 1873 guaranteed the safety of Prairie residents; and the creation of the Department of the Interior in 1873 attracted hard-working immigrants to the region.

In 1870, no urban centres existed on the Prairies. By 1911, thirteen cities with populations over 5,000 had been established.[1]

While the period after 1867 saw a rise in international immigration, the movement did not fully take off until 1896. After a tough economic recession from 1873 to 1896, Canada thirsted for settlers. With the help of Sir Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior from 1896 to 1905, immigrants began to find their way to the Canadian Prairies. Sifton is known for promoting the immigration of non-traditional immigrants to Canada. Sifton strongly believed that sturdy European immigrants were the best settlers for the challenging Prairies, because of their familiarity with agriculture, rural lifestyles, and harsh climates. He is best known for his statement that “a stalwart peasant in a sheep-skin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half dozen children, is a good quality.”[2] Sifton disliked the idea of urban populations settling the Prairies, for they would congregate in cities, instead of developing Prairie homesteads. Instead, he promoted the immigration of groups like the Ukrainians, Hungarians, and Mennonites over the more ethnically “desirable” British immigrants.

Thanks to intensive advertising and international immigration agencies after 1867, foreign populations began to settle the Prairies. These immigrants fostered distinct ethno-cultural pockets and diverse industries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The population in the West exploded; Winnipeg grew from a city of 20,000 in 1886, to 150,000 in 1911.[3]

Saskatchewan’s population grew by 1124.77% between 1891 and 1911.[4]

Thousands of diverse immigrants came to Canada between 1867 and 1914 for different reasons. For the thousands of immigrants who were inspired to emigrate in search of greater economic opportunities and improved quality of life, the Canadian West presented seemingly infinite possibilities. This category of immigrants encompassed populations of Hungarians, French, Icelanders, Romanians, Chinese, and Ukrainians.

Continued at the link.

Monday 11 October 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2

From all of us to all of you, 

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Contented Pumpkin 

by Emma Garibaldi

The Garden Truck went on a strike
And made an awful racket;
The foolish Cabbage burst her head,
The Onion split his jacket.

The Peppers burned and Beets grew red,
While Kale growled like a sinner.
The Popcorn cried, "I'll never pop
For any creature's dinner."

The jolly Pumpkin laughed aloud,
With voice so rich and mellow,
"Why, that's just what you're planted for,
You foolish, selfish fellow.

"I've gathered all the sun and dew,
To plumpen me and sweeten,
So I can make the nicest pie
That one has ever eaten.

"And when they pass me twice around,
I'll feel I've done my duty,
If father says, 'Ma save them seeds,
That pumpkin was a beauty.' "

Happy Thanksgiving!

 We hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving!

From the 1906 McCall's Magazine, we have found some recipes titled "For the Thanksgiving Turkey" that you might find to be useful for your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

"One of the most appetizing parts of the Thanksgiving turkey is the dressing, and it has a great deal to do with the flavour or lack of it in the whole bird. A badly seasoned or too damp dressing spoils the best turkey that ever was raised, while a stuffing that is just exactly right in every way gives just the finishing touch of deliciousness needed to complete the piece de resistance of the Thanksgiving table.

"Old Fashioned Dressing - Take a stale loaf or two (according to the size of your turkey), pull out all the middle of it close to the crust and put it in your mixing bowl, plicking it into small pieces; add half a cupful of butter and with the palms of the hands rub these together until thouroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper and some kind of herb, preferably thyme. Add very little cold water, just enough to hold together the bread crumbs, as too much makes a soggy dressing, which is not fit to eat. Some cooks add a very little minced onion, but that is a matter of taste.

"Chicken or Turkey Stuffing - In a saucepan put a tablespoonful of butter and fry in it one minced onion, adding one cupful of breadcrumbs that have been soaked in water and the water pressed out and half cupful of stock. Season with one teaspoonful of salt and half a teaspoonful of pepper and thyme. Cut up some celery in very small pieces and use half a cupful. Stir this until it leaves the sides of the pan. Take this from the pan and add to it one cupful of breadcrumbs that have been moistened with one tablespoonful of melted butter and very highly seasoned.

"Rich Sausage Stuffing - Cook for five minutes in the frying pan half a tablespoonful of finely minced onion and one quarter of a cupful of butter. Add one quarter of a pound of sausage meat and cook two or three minutes longer. Cook and mash some sweet potatoes and add to the above about one and a quarter cupfuls (they should be hot when added). Season with two teaspoonfuls of chopped parley and salt and pepper. Heat all this to the boiling point and add half a cupful of stale breadcrumbs. The cooks of the present day contend that the turkey is juicier and more savory if cooked without stuffing but in that case you must kind of croquette with it, for which these recipes maybe used: Mix together equal parts of mashed potatoes soft breadcrumbs and finely chopped butternuts. Season this with salt, pepper, parsley and a small grated onion. Stir this all together with some butter and the beaten yolks of two eggs. Shape in balls and fry brown in hot fat.

These are but a few of the stuffing recipes that were offered in the magazine. Enjoy!
Victorian Society of Alberta

Thursday 30 September 2021

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation


We are the inheritors of a land stolen from the First Peoples.

When we arrived we chose to make treaties with them, treaties to share the land and to support the First Peoples as they had to change their lives to accommodate our arrival and settlement.

Then we started to try to destroy them, not overtly with guns but covertly with cultural genocide.

On this first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation we urge you to consider this history, to reflect on what was done to secure our occupation of this land, to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

September 30 is also "Orange Shirt Day".

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived residential schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

On September 30, we encourage everyone to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.

The legacy of Residential Schools is not only a historical wrong, there are many survivors living today and the generational effects are ongoing in our society and especially in theirs.  It is important to understand both the historical and current world events and effects of this Cultural Genocide so that we can move forward in the spirit of reconciliation and truly share this great land as the first signers of the treaties hoped we would do.   

Forever standing in solidarity and remembrance.
The Victorian Society of Alberta

Here is a link to the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:
Here is a link to the CALLS TO ACTION:
There is also further reading available here:

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Moutain View Arts Society Festival

 September 11 and 12 we had the pleasure of attending the Mountain View Arts Festival in Didsbury, Alberta. It was a delightful weekend, and many  talented artisans and musicians were featured. There were also hands on activities such as painting a rock for their River of Rocks which will be at Memorial Park. If you look, you'll be able to find ours! We also were entertained by the shadow puppet shows the children created, hosted by the library.

We were joined by some of our Yankee friends and had a booth set up.  We enjoyed visiting with the public and answering their questions. We were thrilled to be beside a live music booth and were blown away with the talented musicians!

We also visited the Didsbury Museum, which is a must see when you're in town.  Art the bear was celebrating his 10th birthday, so we sampled some of his birthday cake and enjoyed some sprightly tunes by the North West Mounted Police band. The scarecrows were very creative and added a festive touch!
It was a fantastic weekend and we highly recommend attending next year if you can. There was fun for all ages and the hospitality was first rate! 
Keep your eyes open for the dates for 2022!

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Happy Birthday Alberta!

September 1, 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan become provinces. 

Happy 116th birthday!

Alberta is the only province in Canada named after a princess, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria.

Thanks for reading.

Victorian Society of Alberta

Thursday 5 August 2021

August Book Tuesday er Thursday

 Well, missed by a couple of days.

I blame the heat 😎

Here are two book suggestions for you to enjoy.

Victorian Society of Alberta

The Promised Land: Settling the West 1896-1914
by Pierre Berton

After the pioneers described in The National Dream, The Last Spike and Klondike came the settlers — a million people who filled a thousand miles of prairie in a single generation.

 From GoodReads

"A book that has moved me to tears time and again. (I suspect because I'm descended from some of the peoples described in this book and my hometown of Brandon is featured prominently.) This is Burton's epic of immigration, what would become one of the great defining characteristics of Canada. The seeds of our multicultural nation are explored, as is the start of what we think of as Western Canadian culture. We follow the stories of several people through the era, from impoverished immigrants to powerful politicians. Most fascinatingly, Clifford Sifton, once one of the most powerful men in the country, who is now no more than a footnote to history. Burton tells the story of the people of the West in a way that never fails to captivate.
"This is my favourite of Burton's, and one that I've returned to many times. It reminds me how lucky modern Canadians are to live in the nation that these settlers built as well as the importance of keeping our culture of multiculturalism. (Which I know may not make sense to non-Canadians, but that seemingly contradictory notion is one of the best things about our country, to me at least.)"

Dangerous Days on the Victorian Railways: Feuds, Frauds, Robberies and Riots
by Terry Deary 

Facing feuds and frauds, robberies and riots and the disasters of dangerous drivers, deadly designers and sleepy signalmen, Victorians risked more than just delays when stepping on a steam train.

Victorian inventors certainly didn't lack steam, but squabbling over who deserved the title of 'The Father of the Locomotive' and busy enjoying their fame and fortune, safety on the rails was not their priority. Brakes were seen as a needless luxury (until a steamer started to slide downhill towards disaster) and boilers had an inconvenient tendency to overheat and explode, and in turn, blow up anyone in reach.

Four years after a mysterious murderer left only his victim's crushed hat and walking stick on board a first class carriage, the nation trembled at the trains once more. Poorly timed repairs caused a locomotive to derail and crash into the shallow River Beult, killing ten passengers and injuring 40 more. The infamous Staplehurst disaster is said to have traumatised passenger Charles Dickens, threatening to expose his affair with the young Nell Ternan, and altering his health and writing for the rest of his life.

Often recognised as having revolutionised travel and industrial Britain, Victorian railways were perilous. Few other histories honour the lives of the people killed or injured by the diseases and disasters which accounted for thousands of deaths. The victims of the Victorian railways had names, lives and families, and they deserve to be remembered.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Treaty 7 Presentation

Treaty 7

Rachel Nadon's presentation for this year's Virtual Days of Yore on Treaty number 7.

Posted by Victorian Society of Alberta on Saturday, July 31, 2021

Saturday 31 July 2021

Victorian Internet

 Here is your editor's presentation from the Virtual Days of Yore this year.


Victorian Society of Alberta

Thursday 1 July 2021

Happy Canada Day!

 However you choose to celebrate please do it responsibly and safely.

Always keep in mind that a country is a "Work in Progress" and while we should be thankful for the wonders of our country and its people we must always remember that history is messy and not all of the peoples of this land share equally in those wonders!

Enjoy your day.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Tuesday 8 June 2021

June Book Tuesday

Here is the selections for June's Book Tuesday.

Yes I know Tues June 1st was technically the first Tuesday of June but, whatever 😄

Victorian Society of Alberta

The Last Spike
by Pierre Berton

In the four years between 1881 and 1885, Canada was forged into one nation by the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Last Spike reconstructs the incredible story of how some 2,000 miles of steel crossed the continent in just five years — exactly half the time stipulated in the contract. Pierre Berton recreates the adventures that were part of this vast undertaking: the railway on the brink of bankruptcy, with one hour between it and ruin; the extraordinary land boom of Winnipeg in 1881–1882; and the epic tale of how William Van Horne rushed 3,000 soldiers over a half-finished railway to quell the Riel Rebellion.

Dominating the whole saga are the men who made it all possible — a host of astonishing characters: Van Horne, the powerhouse behind the vision of a transcontinental railroad; Rogers, the eccentric surveyor; Onderdonk, the cool New Yorker; Stephen, the most emotional of businessmen; Father Lacombe, the black-robed voyageur; Sam Steele, of the North West Mounted Police; Gabriel Dumont, the Prince of the Prairies; more than 7,000 Chinese workers, toiling and dying in the canyons of the Fraser Valley; and many more — land sharks, construction geniuses, politicians, and entrepreneurs — all of whom played a role in the founding of the new Canada west of Ontario.

The House of Worth: The Birth of Haute Couture
by Chantal Trubert-Tollu

The first illustrated monograph dedicated to the history of the House of Worth, the world’s pioneering haute couture label

Arriving in Paris in 1845, at the age of twenty and with only a few francs in his pocket, Charles Frederick Worth would go on to build the most prominent, innovative, and successful fashion house of the century. He was inspired by a love of fine art, luxurious fabrics, and his vision of the female ideal, and was the first to set out to dictate new styles and silhouettes to his elite clientele— not the other way around. He hosted them in his rue de la Paix salons, which included groundbreaking sportswear and maternity departments as well as silk, velvet, and brocade rooms, and a special salon with closed shutters and gas lighting designed to allow clients to try on ball gowns in lighting conditions precisely matched to those of the event at which they would be worn.

Organized chronologically and illustrated with striking ensembles, paintings, and documents sourced from both private family archives and the best fashion collections from museums around the world, The House of Worth is an inspiring tribute to the house that started it all.

Saturday 5 June 2021

Fashion in action!

This video by Prior Attire is a wonderful look at 60 years of Victorian fashion.
An excellent demonstration of how a middle/upper class lady had to get dressed as well.

Most Ladies living out here could only dream of these fashions.

Victorian Society of Alberta

Her YouTube channel is well worth subscribing to.
Prior Attire


Thursday 3 June 2021

Days of Yore is a go... sort of.

The Days of Yore Festival in Didsbury was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

For 2021 the event will be virtual!

The Victorian Society of Alberta will be participating in this event so make sure you check it out.

Here is the information from the organizers.

Victorian Society of Alberta

A little pandemic never held back a Viking or a Cowboy or a Soldier, and the Mountain View Arts Society is just as determined to bring you another great show no matter what! We might not be able to do an in-person festival in 2021, but we can sure bring you a Live Streaming Video Production featuring all your favourite reenactment performers and artisans!
For the 5th year, we invite you to STEP BACK IN TIME, only this year, from the comfort of your home, as we will be streaming live through Facebook and our YouTube channel. Yes, it's going to be different, but we are eager to bring you the best of our traditional, heritage reenactors.
We hope you will mark July 31st on your calendar - the Saturday of the August Heritage Long Weekend - and prepare to visit online with performers representing 9th C Scandinavia, 11th Century England, 18th Century England, 19th Century Canada, and the early 20th Century.
JOIN US ON JULY 31st - All you have to do is go to on July 31st and follow the entire Days of Yore Fest on our YouTube Channel. (Until then, you can follow older videos from events hosted by the Mountain View Arts Society.)
Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at

Sunday 30 May 2021

Statement on the Indian Residential School Policy May 30, 2021.

 It is with a heavy heart that your editor and, I am sure, the other members of the Victorian Society of Alberta, has watched the unfolding of the discovery of the remains of 215 children, some as young as three, in an unmarked grave at the Residential School in Kamloops BC.

The atrocity which was/is the Indian Residential School policy happened "On our watch" and as a group which studies and celebrates the Victorian and Edwardian Eras in Western Canada, we must include it, recognize it, and try to understand it. The results of this attempted cultural genocide are still being felt today by the survivors and descendants of those directly impacted. There is no way to separate the development and settlement of the West from the attempted destruction of the Indigenous peoples that were already here when the "Victorian" colonists arrived.

We have included several excellent books in our Book Tuesday lists that can help with learning about and understanding how that tragic part of our history unfolded, and I think it is important that we understand it and recognize it as the inter-generational trauma that it is.

I have included a link below to the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that concerns the "missing children and unmarked burials".

This article from the Edmonton Journal is sobering indeed:
Why so many children died at Indian Residential Schools

At some schools, annual death rates were as high as one in 20!

I urge all our readers and followers to read up on this and, as we continue to study and "enjoy" the history of the development of the Canadian West in the Victorian and Edwardian context, we must never lose sight of the fact of this Governmental, Religious, and Societal attempt to destroy, humiliate, and dispossess the original inhabitants of these lands.

Kevin Jepson
Webmaster/Editor for
The Victorian Society of Alberta


Canada's residential schools : missing children and unmarked burials: the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
"Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials is the first systematic effort to record and analyze deaths at the schools, and the presence and condition of student cemeteries, within the regulatory context in which the schools were intended to operate. As part of its work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada established a National Residential School Student Death Register. Due to gaps in the available data, the register is far from complete. Although the actual number of deaths is believed to be far higher, 3,200 residential school victims have been identified. The analysis also demonstrates that residential school death rates were significantly higher than those for the general Canadian school-aged population."


Monday 24 May 2021

Happy Victoria Day Holiday Monday!

 From the Canada's History website.

For many Canadians, the Victoria Day holiday weekend is the time to start thinking about summer. Bonus: It’s a day off school! But why do we celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, who died nearly 115 years ago?

Until 1956, the birthday of the monarch—that’s the king or queen—of Great Britain was also celebrated in Canada, sometimes on his or her own birthday, sometimes around that time and sometimes on Victoria Day.

She was queen when Canada became its own country in 1867, and she was the one who chose Ottawa as our capital. After she died in 1901, the Canadian government declared that May 24 would be a holiday in her honour. (If the 24th fell on a Sunday, the holiday would be May 25.)

In 1957, Victoria Day was named the official birthday in Canada of Queen Elizabeth II. (In Great Britain, her birthday, which is actually April 21, is celebrated in June.) And Victoria Day is officially held on the Monday right before May 25.

Also just for fun 😁:



Tuesday 11 May 2021

May Book Tuesday

My apologies but I missed the April Book Tuesday and almost the May one too.

Better late than never I suppose. 😕

Victorian Society of Alberta

From Treaties to reserves
by D.J.Hall

Though some believe that the Indian treaties of the 1870s achieved a unity of purpose between the Canadian government and First Nations, in From Treaties to Reserves D.J. Hall asserts that - as a result of profound cultural differences - each side interpreted the negotiations differently, leading to conflict and an acute sense of betrayal when neither group accomplished what the other had asked. Hall explores the original intentions behind the government's policies, illustrates their attempts at cooperation, and clarifies their actions. While the government believed that the Aboriginal peoples of what is now southern and central Alberta desired rapid change, the First Nations, in contrast, believed that the government was committed to supporting the preservation of their culture while they adapted to change. Government policies intended to motivate backfired, leading instead to poverty, starvation, and cultural restriction. Many policies were also culturally insensitive, revealing misconceptions of Aboriginal people as lazy and over-dependent on government rations. Yet the first two decades of reserve life still witnessed most First Nations people participating in reserve economies, many of the first generation of reserve-born children graduated from schools with some improved ability to cope with reserve life, and there was also more positive cooperation between government and First Nations people than is commonly acknowledged. The Indian treaties of the 1870s meant very different things to government officials and First Nations. Rethinking the interaction between the two groups, From Treaties to Reserves elucidates the complexities of this relationship.

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London Paperback
by Judith Flanders 

The 19th century was a time of unprecedented transformation, and nowhere was this more apparent than on the streets of London. In only a few decades, London grew from a Regency town to the biggest city the world had ever seen, with more than 6.5 million people and railways, street-lighting, and new buildings at every turn. Charles Dickens obsessively walked London's streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities and cruelties. Now, Judith Flanders follows in his footsteps, leading us through the markets, transport systems, sewers, slums, cemeteries, gin palaces, and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London. The Victorian City is a revelatory portrait of everyday life on the streets, bringing to life the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor. No one who reads it will view London in the same light again.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

March Book Tuesday

March already!

How time flies when you are having fun.

Here are two books to add to your collection for this months Book Tuesday.

Victorian Society of Alberta

The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7
by Treaty 7 Elders


The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 is based on the testimony of over 80 elders from the five First Nations involved in Treaty 7 - the Bloods, Peigans, Siksika, Stoney, and Tsuu T'ina. Their recollections highlight the grave misconceptions and misrepresentations between the two sides, due in part to inadequate interpretation and/or deliberate attempts to mislead. The elders consistently report that the treaty as they understood it was a peace treaty, not a surrender of land, and that they had agreed to "share" the land with the white newcomers in exchange for resources to establish new economies - education, medical assistance, and annuity payments. The book provides both a historical overview of Treaty 7 and an analysis of the literature on treaties generally and Treaty 7 specifically. It makes clear that different agendas, different languages, and different world views affected each side's interpretation of events. This review of the events and interpretations surrounding Treaty 7 takes place at a time when aboriginal and indigenous peoples all over the world are re-evaluating their relationships with imperial powers. It was undertaken in good faith in hopes that it will begin a dialogue that can alter the dominant discourse of Euro-Canadian society, which has been so damaging to aboriginal people.


The Domestic Revolution: How the Introduction of Coal into Victorian Homes
by Ruth Goodman


The Domestic Revolution by historian Ruth Goodman is an interesting insight into how coal, and later soaps changed Britain, and the Empire. Everyone has heard of the Industrial Revolution, but in many ways the changing habits of how humans burned fuel for warmth, food-making and the domestic domain was more significant, if less well known.

For thousands of years humans have burned wood, peat, or variations thereof in the home – cooking and keeping warm. This practice shaped the landscape – wood was used everywhere – fuel, building, weapons, war, ships, homes etc. Land was managed, farmed, coppiced and the industries around this were important. Many folks did not travel far, and so utilised what was around them. Certain foods and ways of cooking do not manage on wood or peat, and others do not manage well on coal.

Ms Goodman describes cooking on wood, peat, dung and charcoal, how it was sourced and the foods which worked best. Cleaning was done, largely with wood ash, lime and various other intriguing ways. Ash doesn’t work on coal dirt and so hot water became the norm, and new vessels for boiling, new detergents and new roles.

Then came coal – which burns differently from wood, cooks differently, is used in industry differently, heats differently. People, pots, manufacturing, transport, food, housing, cleaning and pretty much every aspect you can think of changed with it, or as a result. Coal creates smoke which leaves smuts, dirt and dust. It produces pollution and is much harder to clean off. All those coal fires – say goodbye to your family tapestry, and your old cleaning habits. Bring on different smelting, transport, industry, soap-making, production and recipes.

The domestic hearth was, for much of history, the female domain, and although the records from women are scarce, from the 19th Century the records do bring to life the challenges, solutions and habits of women, from highborn ladies, to the lower classes. Status was important, and coal and soap brought with them status.

The book is a little slow to start, but the author knows her stuff and the book brings an interesting view on the lives of our ancestors, and how change, once it starts can be inexorable.

A good book for writers, and readers of history/historical fiction/fantasy as a reference to living with wood fires and coal, foods, cleaning and the role of women in these times (who became more tied to the home as things changed).

Wednesday 10 February 2021

February Book Tuesday

A quick one for this month's delayed Book Tuesday.
Oops! 😏
I hope everyone is staying warm and healthy!

Victorian Society of Aberta

Ranching Women in Southern Alberta
-by Rachel Herbert

Once dominated by large cattle operations covering thousands of acres, Alberta in the 1880s-1930s saw a shift as small, family-owned ranches began to dot the province's southern plains. While this era of agriculture might conjure images of cowboys riding through the foothills or ranch hands tilling the prairie fields, women, too, played an integral part in this rapidly changing industry. Ranching Women in Southern Alberta explores the world of these women, and their efforts to ensure the economic viability of their family ranches and the social harmony of their families and communities. Rachel Herbert examines what life was like for ranching women, who faced a myriad of challenges while at the same time enjoying more personal freedom than their urban and European contemporaries. This book pays homage to the brave and talented women who rode the range, carving out a role for themselves during the dawn of the family ranching era.

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Happy New Year's Book Tuesday

Well we are off on the odyssey of a new year!
Wishing you all a very safe, healthy, and prosperous 2021.

Here is the first Book Tuesday of the New Year.

Victorian Society of Alberta

We Don't talk about Those Women
Lethbridge's Red Light District 1880s to 1940

- by Belinda Crowson

A fascinating look at the history of Red Light District of Lethbridge Alberta.

 How to Cook The Victorian Way
 with Mrs Crocombe

 - by Annie Gray and Andrew Hann

Mrs Crocombe is the breakout star of English Heritage's wildly popular YouTube series, The Victorian Way. Millions of fans around the globe devour her historical cookery videos, and their hunger for her content shows no sign of abating. In delightful contrast to the high-octane hijinks of many YouTube celebrities, The Victorian Way offers viewers a gentle glimpse into a simpler time - an age when tea was sipped from porcelain, not from plastic cups; when mince pies were meaty and nothing was wasted; when puddings were in their pomp and no kitchen was complete without a cupboard full of copper pots and pans. Avis Crocombe really did exist - she was head cook at Audley End House in Essex from about 1878 to 1884. Although only a little is known about her life, her handwritten cookery book was passed down through her family for generations and rediscovered by a distant relative in 2009. It's a remarkable read, and from the familiar (ginger beer, custard and Christmas cake) to thefantastical (roast swan, preserved lettuce and fried tongue sandwiches), her recipes give us a wonderful window into a world of flavour from 140 years ago. How to Cook: The Victorian Way with Mrs Crocombe is the definitive guide to the life, times and tastes of the world's favourite Victorian cook. It features authentic do-it-yourself recipes chosen and tested by Dr Annie Gray alongside insights into daily life at Audley End from Andrew Hann, beautiful food photography and a foreword by the 'face' of Mrs Crocombe, Kathy Hipperson. It showcases the best recipes from Mrs Crocombe's own book, alongside others of the time, brought together so that every reader can put on their own Victorian meal. It's a moreish smorgasbord of social history - an absolute must for fans, foodies and anyone with an appetite for the past.