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In 1964 Melbourne Legion Branch 510 purchased two lots at the Longwood Cemetery to build a memorial stone to honour all those that had fallen in past conflicts. Construction was complete in 1965.  This cemetery is located approximately 2 km north of Melbourne on Melbourne Road.  The Legion members and members of the community would march out to it from the village and have a ceremony every year.

After a number of years the Legion decided to look for land closer to the village.  Mrs. Elsie (Vail) Auld and Mrs. Ina (Vail) Campbell of Melbourne made the new park a reality when they donated a triangle of land to the Melbourne Royal Canadian Legion Branch 510.  This new park would located across the street from the Presbyterian church facing Victoria Street.

The land was donated in memory Mrs. Beatrice McDougall, a long-time resident of Melbourne.  She lived in the red brick house across from the new park. The triangle became separated as a result of everyone taking a short cut across the property that eventually became a road.

The land was deeded as a gift with the intent that the Legion would maintain the park. The Melbourne Legion moved the war memorial to its new location in 1985.  Other additions to the new park included plants, flag poles, lights (1987) and interlocking brick (1988).

With the move the memorial is now more visible and closer to the churches.

Currently Museum Staff are working at adding a Virtual Memorial for the Melbourne Cenotaph that is similar to that of Strathroy and Mount Brydges.

Melbourne Cenotaph

Melbourne Cenotaph

WWI Soldiers that were inscribed on the Cenotaph in 2014 include

Pte John McDougald
L Cpl William Newman
Pte Arthur Stevenson
Pte John Annett

Others from Melbourne area that are honoured on other memorials include

Wilfred James Cooper
John Andrew Dow Elder
Arthur William Good
Joseph Edward Moore
Dougald McNeil

WWII Soldiers names there inscribed on the Cenotaph in 2014 include

F/O John Dewar
Cpl Lorne Evans
                                                                      Pte Warren Kellestine 
                                                                AC2 John Brodie

Information gathered from the following sources
Melbourne WI – Transcript and Free Press pg. 20 November 7 1985
A Split Village by JoAnn Galbraith
Honour Rolls and Cenotaphs of Middlesex County by John Sargeant

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On July 30th Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened a new exhibit titled “Strathroy-Caradoc Then and Now: A Photographic History.  This exhibit consists of over 30 past and present images of Strathroy, Mount Brydges and Melbourne.

As part of this exhibit we are showcasing cameras that are in the museum collection and telling the history of photography.

The earliest camera on display dates back to the 1920s and it is a Kodak Brownie No 2A Model B.   These cameras were produced by the Eastman Kodak Company in the Rochester New York and the Canadian Kodak Company in Toronto.  The name Brownie came about from a comic produced by Palmer Cox who wrote numberous books with these characters  These cameras had a leatherette covered card box that would slide off the metal piece for loading.  These cameras would use 116 film size and produce images that were 6.5 cm x 10.5 cm (2 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches) in size.

These cameras were inexpensive and easy to use making it an ideal purchase for the average person.

 

For more information on the Brownie Camera please go to Kodak’s Brownie camera site

For more information on Palmer Cox please go to The Photographic Historical Society of Canada

This month we will be looking at a spinning wheel in our collection that is currently on display in the Quilts and Coverlets exhibit.

The Solomon Dell Lever Spinning Wheel was invented by a gentleman who was one of Strathroy’s original 14 settlers and one of the town’s greatest inventor.  Coming to area in 1837, he opened a tavern and a house of entertainment, and tinkered with machinery to improve farming implements.  The story goes that he walked all the way to the Crown Law Department of Upper Canadian in Ottawa to get his wheel patented in 1867.  The patent stated it was for “a new and useful lever spinning wheel, not known or used in this province by others before [my] discovery [of it].”  Dell’s spinning wheel differed from other wheels because he added a treadle, spinners could either stand or sit to control the yarn tension with their feet, rather than walking back and forth.  During this time in early Canadian history settlers had to be self-sufficient and many houses had a spinning wheel.

At the Provincial Exhibition held at Kingston in September 1867 he won under the category of Agricultural Tools and Implements chiefly for hand use for his invention.

Another patent that Solomon submitted to the government was for an improvement in hand drills that you can see on the Library and Archives Canada website.  On this website you will find patents from 1869-1919 and if you type in Strathroy there are 98 results, everything from improvements to a snow gate to refrigerators and bolt-cutters.   There is one Mount Brydges result, a fanning mill shoe and two for Melbourne; a device for restraining vicious animals and a wheel.

Dell was also a noted hunter, killing 800 deer in his first forty years in this district and earning the nickname “The Western Hunter of Ontario.” Some called him “the greatest hunter of his age.”

 


Quilts and Coverlets: Piecing Stories Together is on until July 26th and as part of this exhibit we are showcasing two quilts from the local Barn Quilt Trail, the Longwoods Quilt and the Trail of Tears Quilt.  For more information on these quilts visit Trail of Tears and Longwoods Barn Quilt Trail 

Next month we look at a quilt that was produced on a Jacquard Loom.

 

In honour of the recent Beaver and Cub tours held at the museum and conducted by Brianna, I am dedicating a post to Scouting.

The Beaver program (ages 5-7) emphasizes having fun well learning basic social skills and gaining self confidence.  Cubs (ages 8-10)  is built around games, crafts, music, storytelling, play acting, and the outdoors and individual interests and skills are recognized through simple awards.

Strathroy, Mount Brydges, and Melbourne are part of the Sydenham Area under the Tri-Shores Council which has 4,900 youth in the Scouts Canada Program and over 1,200 adult volunteers who deliver and support the program.

Strathroy’s first Scouting group was organized shortly after the founding of the Boy Scout Movement by Englishman Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1907.  Since this time Strathroy and area citizens have been active in promoting the movement.  Among the early leaders were E.J. Wright and Ian P. Bateman.

During the years of the Second World War activities increased.  At that time there were two groups in Strathroy with an approximately 200 Scouts and Cubs.  The Scout House located at the northern end of Alexandra Park was built in 1957 at a cost of $22,000 on land donated by R.B. Pincombe. 

For more information go to the Age Dispatch article published during the 100 year anniversary of Scouting.

The museum has a number of pieces from the 1930s-1980s, from books to uniforms, below is just a sample of what can be found within the collection.

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About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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