Nanaimo Historical Society Fonds: Series 2 Sound Recordings

Tape 26

What follows is a transcription of a very poor quality photocopy, which had been originally transcribed from Tape no. 26, now missing. 

Early Days of Wharf and Front Streets with the Intersection of Bastion Street, Nanaimo by William Barraclough, April 18th, 1972

Retyped by: Nancy Lee Deslauriers,  January/February/March 2008

Introduction

No part of Vancouver Island has a more interesting history than Nanaimo, and in particular the strip of land along the harbour frontage consisting of Wharf, Bastion and Front Streets.

In preparing this article, I have gathered together items of historic interest from many sources, as the years go by the task of collecting and reviewing the events and life as it was in former times becomes more difficult to obtain.

Realizing with the passing of our pioneer citizens a wealth of valuable information that has not been written of former times is constantly being lost as part of our historic treasure source, I commenced some years ago to make written and tape recorded interviews with some of our senior citizens as “Living Memory” for the purpose of eliciting information concerning their remembrances of early Nanaimo as; social life, outstanding events and general work-a-day conditions etc. I will be using quotations from some of these interviews, already several of those with recorded voices have passed on as: Mrs. Martha A. Kenny; Mr. Wm. Lewis; Mr. Joseph L.L. Muir; Mr. Hiram Gough; Mr. Victor B. Harrison; Mr. Joseph Kneen.

Valuable information was gathered from the files of the Nanaimo Free Press, letters and documents from the Provincial Archives, per Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Andrew Muir's diary, Mr. Mark Bates's “Notes on Early Nanaimo”, Mrs. Martha A. Kenny's Early Buildings and Historic Sites of Nanaimo.

Recognition is extended to the following for inspection of their valuable early pictures and general information, Mr. Arthur Martin; Mr. Phillip J. Piper; Mrs. F. McGirr; Mr. Ronald Morris; Mr. John Green; and to my wife Ethel for assisting materially on dates and other items.

WHARF AND FRONT STREETS WITH THE INTERSECTION OF BASTION STREET, NANAIMO

The title of this article covers the central location along the harbour frontage of Nanaimo, it was in this area that the first development was made by our transplanted society, which replaced the ancient way of life and culture of the Native Indian Peoples, and my be called the birthplace of our City, about one hundred and twenty years ago.

For ages, the Native Indians had dwelt around the shoreline and fringes of the primeval forest that surrounded these named streets, living with their particular environment the several bands or family groups carrying on their general activities according to their ancient customs near the shoreline of the harbour. The Indians were an intelligent people in the ways of survival, making the best use of any natural materials, they would have long ago thrown pieces of the black rock on their fires for its usefulness, I cannot conceive that any one Indian can be credited with the discovery of coal. The story has been told and retold countless times of the Indian making the first discovery of coal by knocking off a piece of the black rock while digging for clams, he would be working on the tidal grounds, while all the early findings of coal were located on the harbour banks above high water.

The long period of the Indians self-determined way of life was shattered when ‘Coal Tyee' arrived at Victoria with his canoe load of coal, making the Hudson's Bay Company cognizant of the coal deposits at Nanaimo.

Before featuring the many old landmarks and place names that were connected with Wharf and Front Streets of former days, I will give brief attention to the early miners who took part in the formative days and customs of the City. Few of the early miners kept diaries to record the daily happenings in their lives, some have left valuable hand down history which must always be considered, they were mostly young men who possibly did not realize that they were making history of that period. The usual daily round was to work ten hours a day at their various duties, after that the prime interest of the married men was to build a home and bring their families here to settle, another important project was to clear land and create a garden, fruit and vegetables were not so easily available as today. To walk around parts of the south end of the city, several of these original miners cottages can be seen, exteriorly unchanged from on hundred or more years ago, with the present owners proud of their gardens with the rich soil cultivated over a century ago.

I will refer to the Hudson's Bay Company log cabins later; these have long since been removed.

The writing of history is always open for questioning, so many articles have been written concerning the first miners to work here and as to where the first workings were located, there is a divergence of supposedly factual information, which often turns out to be erroneous.

I was advised by Mr. J. Parker the museum has recently received some original charts and maps of the harbour, also records of the Hudson's Bay Company era concerning the early coal mining, we are looking forward to near------- article on the subjects, at which time many of these debatable questions my be cleared up.

What is factual is a document written by James Douglas dated Fort Victoria 18th August 1852 to Archibald Barkley Esq. Of the Hudson's Bay Company Headquarters, London, a copy of the letter was secured through the courtesy of the Provincial Archives. The Douglas letter referred to contains five pages of text where he informs the London office on the thickness of the various layers of formation as soil, sandstone, clay, slate, coal, bituminous shale etc. For our purposes here a few selected paragraphs are quoted.

“Fort Victoria 18th August 1852. I returned last night from an exploratory excursion through the Canal de Arro and along the east coast of Vancouver's Island, undertaken for the purpose of examining the beds of coal reported to exist in that quarter, and I rejoiced to say that our journey has been productive of very satisfactory results”.

“I was accompanied in that journey by Mr. Pemberton, Mr. Muir the Company's late oversman  (?) at Fort Rupert and Mr. Golledge with six men and a few Indians in two canoes; while the Cadboro was dispatched with a small supply of goods, by the Gulf of Georgia to meet us in Winthuysen Inlet which was appointed the general rendezvous”.

“In the course of that excursion, we discovered three beds of coal, the first and upper bed measuring 3 inches, a second immediately under it measuring 20 inches, and at the distance of about three quarters of a mile, nearly due west a third bed measuring fifty seven and one quarter inches in depth of clean coal from which with the assistance of the natives we procured about fifty tones in a single day at a total cost of 11 pounds paid in goods”.

“I have resolved until I receive the Governor and Committee's instructions on the subject to take possession of the coal district for the Company, and to employ Mr. Muir and two of his sons in opening a shaft at high water mark, over the thick seam from whence they will work the bed inwards towards the land”.

“A few of the common servants will also be sent there at the same time to assist in that work and as a protection against the natives. They will also put up a few temporary buildings to shelter the workmen and purchase coal from the natives.  I will not go to much expense until we see our way clearly and have ascertained that the coal beds may be worked to advantage. In that case it may be desirable to remove Mr. Gilmour and his party of miners from Fort Rupert should no discovery be in the mean time made there, to this new coal field and to commence permanent establishment on the spot by withdrawing a part of the officers and servants now employed at Fort Rupert”. (Signed) “I remain Sir, Your most ob't serv't [obedient servant], James Douglas”.

Six days after writing the aforesaid letter to London, Douglas wrote another letter of great historic importance to Nanaimo, since the message contained therein is generally well known, I will only quote the first paragraph: “Fort Victoria 24th August 1852. Mr. Joseph McKay, Sir, You will proceed with all possible diligence to Winthuysen Inlet commonly known as Nanaimo Bay and formally take possession of the coal beds lately discovered there for and on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company”. “I remain Sir, Your ob. Serv. James Douglas”.

McKay arrived at Nanaimo three days later, the 7th of August 1852. He had a long record of executive ability with the Hudson's Bay Company, he instituted procedures where on a business basis as recording events, accounting, good relations with the Indians, directing construction of suitable buildings, (illegible) and shipping facilities, also (illegible) visiting the building of the Bastion which was completed in 1853. McKay may well deserve the distinction of establishing the first law and order of modern society at Nanaimo. He was transferred to another assignment during [1857?].

From the time of McKay's arrival at Nanaimo (illegible) of August (illegible) a good amount of coal was being produced from the (illegible) into the banks of the harbour, for 14 (illegible) later, September 10th, it is recorded the ship ‘Cadboro' loaded the first shipment of coal to leave the harbour which measured 450 barrels. This could be part of the 50 tons of coal mentioned by Douglas in this letter weeks earlier, August (illegible).

There would not be weigh scales here at the time of the Cadboro loading, filling barrels from canoes brought along side the ship, then hoisting aboard to (illegible) in the hold would be the most practical method of estimating the amount of the cargo.

From here on hoisting machinery and other improved devices would be installed to facilitate production. An early picture shows the small head rigging, hoisting wheel and airshaft located a little north of the corner of Wharf and Commercial Streets, known as No. 1 Shaft.

Apart from the official journals of the Hudson's Bay Company, I consider items written by Mr. Mark Bate a most reliable source of information. Mr. Bate arrived at Nanaimo the 1st of [February 1857?]  He was appointed accountant for the Hudson's Bay Company, this time of 1857, was almost from the beginning of modern history here. Quoting Mr. Bates, “Commencing with a few white men and Indians, coal was first gotten by an open cut or trench at the foot of Front Street above where Mrs. Anderson's boat house is stationed. The names of these white men should be recorded, they are; John Muir, oversman, Robert Muir and Archibald Muir, John McGregor was to be one of the party but being unwell he didn't arrive until some time later”.

“While coal was being mined or quarried from these surface works, No.1 shaft was sunk, perhaps 40 or 50 feet across from Jackson's Fish Market on Wharf Street, coal 6 feet was struck at t depth of 7 feet. Mining was at once started underground to the rise, of as far and above Bastion Street, under Commercial Street and under the land on the waterside of the street to a depth as low as the level of the pit bottom would allow. Mine openings followed at Newcastle Island and Parkhead, at both these points coal cropped out on the surface”. Parkhead was near to the old Fire hall; Nicol Street and Jackson's Fish Market became the North part of Walls and Broadway building.

A man little known about in the early mining days here was Ovid Allard, quoting B.A. McKelvie in his book “Fort Langley”, “Ovid Allard was transferred to Nanaimo and become superintendent of Indian Labour there. Allard had been the right hand man of J. Murray Yale”.

Here is an item by the late Mr. Joseph E.L. Muir which was recorded on tape in the

Bastion on May 15th, 1966. “John Muir, Robert Muir and Archibald Muir my father, came to Nanaimo when they opened the Muir Shaft, right where the Bank of Commerce stands today. Then at the Douglas Mine my father was employed by contract to mine out coal and he hired two boys, one named Billy Wall and one named Joe Malpass as trapper boys to trap doors, and they were paid 50 cents a day”.

(The three Muir's arrived at Nanaimo in the Cadboro on September 3rd, and John McGregor arrived in the Recovery the following day, Sept. 4. 1852.)

There are many accounts on the early coal mines here, they do not all agree on the exact place of the first drifts made, but the general consensus is the location was below what is today Wharf Street.

As I stated previously history is always open for questioning, errors can be made then copied and recopied. John McGregor is reported to have discovered a rich seam of coal on Newcastle Island in 1850; there was also a feature article to this effect in the Colonist magazine section for July 4th, 1971. The improbability of the story can be summed up by the following research.

According to Andrew Muir's diary, John McGregor was working with the Muir's at Fort Rupert in 1849, McGregor and I blasting rock; Monday April 29th, McGregor and I went with our guns etc; Tuesday April 30th, McGregor and his wife and three children got a canoe with two Indians to paddle over to an island”.

After the trouble with the Hudson's Bay Company officials over working conditions at Fort Rupert most of the miners quit their work there, John Muir Sr. stayed on for a short time there. The miners and their families, which included John McGregor and his family, were picked up by the ship England about July 10th, arriving at San Francisco 20th July 1850. The Muir's returned to Victoria and took up large tracts of land (application made, April 28th, 1851) located at Sooke.

From hand down family history by Mrs. Thomas Watson Glaholm (Margaret) a daughter of John and Mary McGregor, after the McGregor's arrived at San Francisco 20th of July, 1850, the family went by horse back to the California gold fields, the three children sharing horses with their parents, the children were bathed when crossing warm streams. The family returned to Victoria and took up land at Sooke in 1851, where McGregor built a house and other farm buildings. Later he farmed at Metchosin.

As mentioned previously McGregor arrived at Nanaimo to work for the Hudson's Bay Company, September 4th, 1852.

We have on file a written family tree history of the McGregor's, which covers most of the period from leaving Scotland in 1849 to early 1900's. John McGregor died at Sooke in 1866 age 55, his wife Mary died at Nanaimo in 1905 age 85.

Manuscript annotation by unknown author,  “The story of McGregor 1850 a myth”

While coal was being extracted from the shallow mines, the Hudson's Bay Company established a base of operations during 1852, a warehouse and stores were built on the upper side of Wharf Street, railway tracks which were built on pilings, from a picture the warehouse appears to be located where the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce parking lot is today, it was a good sized building with well spaced windows and a window in the gable, the building appears to be whitewashed like most of the early ones. Mr. Adam Grant Horne was the first storekeeper, a young man from Scotland, age 22 years, I will refer to Mr. Horne again.

From the warehouse an under passage or travel way went under the railway to the large enclosure having a high whitewashed picket fence. At the waterfront was a long log constructed wall or wharf across the whole front below the pickets, two heavy timbered doors gave access to the yard from the waterfront.

The picture was taken at low tide as a piece of bare beach is showing, at high tide barges and light draught boats would be able to moor at the wharf for loading and unloading. This enclosure had been referred to as the Hudson's Bay Compound. 

Near this waterfront doorway the first trial by jury in the colony was conducted by James Douglas on the quarter deck of the S.S. Beaver on a frosty day January 17th, 1852 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. as recorded in the Hudson's Bay Company Nanaimo journal by Lieutenant John Moresby and J.W. McKay. [Summary?] justice was carried out on two men convicted of murder; they were hanged at Gallows Point, Protection Island.  Protection Island was formerly called Douglas Island as quoted in Capt. J.T. Walbran's book, B.C. Place Names.

The late Mr. Wm. Lewis recorded “As children we played in and out of the warehouse, I remember seeing two barrels of flints inside the doors, we held competitions to see who could throw the flints furthest over the water”.

The Hudson's Bay Company closed down their stores here in 1862 when they sold out to Vancouver Coal Mining Company.

This ends the portion of my paper concerning the history from the beginning of Nanaimo, featuring the Indian Peoples, and noting a brief outline of the Hudson's Bay Company's first developments along Wharf Street, James Douglas's official letters and the early miners who become our pioneer citizens.

I will refer later to the Spanish explorers who visited the harbour and islands in the area in June 1792.

“Fort Victoria 18th August 1852. I returned last night from an exploratory excursion through the Canal de Arro and along the east coast of Vancouver's Island, undertaken for the purpose of examining the beds of coal reported to exist in that quarter, and I rejoiced to say that our journey has been productive of very satisfactory results”.

“I was accompanied in that journey by Mr. Pemberton, Mr. Muir the Company's late oversman  (?) at Fort Rupert and Mr. Golledge with six men and a few Indians in two canoes; while the Cadboro was dispatched with a small supply of goods, by the Gulf of Georgia to meet us in Winthuysen Inlet which was appointed the general rendezvous”.

“In the course of that excursion, we discovered three beds of coal, the first and upper bed measuring 3 inches, a second immediately under it measuring 20 inches, and at the distance of about three quarters of a mile, nearly due west a third bed measuring fifty seven and one quarter inches in depth of clean coal from which with the assistance of the natives we procured about fifty tones in a single day at a total cost of 11 pounds paid in goods”.

“I have resolved until I receive the Governor and Committee's instructions on the subject to take possession of the coal district for the Company, and to employ Mr. Muir and two of his sons in opening a shaft at high water mark, over the thick seam from whence they will work the bed inwards towards the land”.


Part Two

Part two recalls the location of early buildings and business houses, historical events, general developments from the corner of Wharf and Commercial Streets, across Bastion and along Front Streets to Comox Road, and information supplied by pioneer citizens both past and present.

Commencing g our tour of wharf Street, there was no Wharf Street as seen today; the only part that could be built on was the southern end adjoining Commercial Street. Wharf Street was at first a railway route, built up on piles to carry coal trains from the small mines that operated to the south of the area. The railway tracks came over the long bridge on Commercial Street, then along Wharf to the coal docks below the old stone warehouse, or the present Harbour Commission's Building.

Quoting from Mr. Mark Bates's Descriptive Notes (Published in 1874) [sic] concerning his walk around town and along the waterfront. “There was a bridge the length of Wharf Street built as a portion of the colliery's railway system to the coal docks, long known as Hirst's Wharf. Filling and raising the street to its present grade was accomplished partly by dumping there the mud, always plentiful in season, scraped from other streets”.

The first building on entering Wharf Street from the south on the right hand side was the Royal Hotel, a two story structure with an overhanging verandah, it was not the first hotel in Nanaimo, but one of the early ones. On August 13th, 1886 this hotel catered to some important guests, Sir John A. Macdonald and Lady Macdonald had attended the historic occasion at Shawnigan where Sir John had driven the last spike of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. The Royal Hotel was the scene of a civic reception, Mr. Mark Bate was Mayor, the Council members consisted of; W.H. Webb; John Hilbert; W. Wilson; James Knight; G. Bevilockway, A.G. Horne; and Charles Wilson.

The late Mr. Wm. Lewis recorded, “I saw Sir John A. Macdonald walking back and forth on the verandah of the Royal Hotel. Robert Dunsmuir, Sir John and some of their male friends were somewhat dismayed by the ladies keeping too close tab on their actions, arrangements were made for them to visit No. 1 mine, they descended to the bottom of the 600 feet shaft to celebrate the event in their own style, no report is available about the stag party”.

The Royal Hotel was built by Richard Watkins in 1878, later it was owned by Beveridge and L. Lawrence; it was burned down together with other buildings near by, September 28th, 1894.

Adjoining the Royal Hotel to the north was the first regular built fire hall. On November 21st, 1887 an offer was made by J. Hirst and J.W. Stirtan to donate the site of the structure, this was accepted. A picture shows the front of the building was a rather ornate style with a wide overhanging porch which in turn supported a second porch, rising from this second porch were two columns supporting the front of a high hose tower, the only part of the building that looked like a fire hall. 

A brief account of the first fire department may be of interest. At a public meeting May 4th, 1878 held in the Institute Hall, Nanaimo's first Fire Company was organized, officers were Foreman, Walter Wilson; first assistant, William Gullion; secretary, [J.M.Clease?], and treasurer, George Norris.

The first (Illegible) used was a hand pumper, operated by four men, fortunately this has been preserved, it is mounted as an historic item in Piper Park, this machine was replaced by a ten man hand pumper, in this case no consideration was given to preserve it. Both these had pumpers were serviced by hand drawn hose reels as part of the equipment, the machines and reels were housed in conveniently located sheds, and hose reels were also placed in the new fire hall.

On August (illegible) the same year it was decided to purchase a used Burton and Blake steam engine from the Portland Fire Department at a cost of $1,100 and to buy 500 (?) feet of hose for $250. A committee was appointed to canvass the town for subscriptions.

In 1885 a Merryweather steam engine was purchased from London, England, at a cost of $2,500. The Provincial Government gave $1,000. Mr. Samuel Robins and the citizens donated the balance.

A group picture taken on a gala occasion, presumably to show off the Burton and Blake steam engine in front of the fire hall. In the picture about 26 firemen and 20 members of the Silver Cornet Band can be counted, and assembled group filling the end of Wharf Street. The firemen are dressed in pull-over open neck vests and wearing peak type caps or hats with a badge up front, some of the men are standing on the steam engine, the rest are holding rope lines which appear to be attached to hand drawn hose reels. The vests were of red flannel with black velvet trim according to Mrs. McGirr whose father owned one of the vests. The fire hall burned down together with the Royal Hotel, September 1894.

The next building was Jackson's Fish Market, this I have mentioned previously. The last building on that side of the street was a blacksmith shop, the last person to work the shop was Mr. J. Johnson.

On the opposite corner from the fire hall was a two story V shaped wooden building owned by George Williams. An early picture shows the corner squared off with an attractive bay window occupying the whole wall, this first floor window was part of Ben [Shering's?] cigar shop. Below the window was a stairwell leading to a semi below ground business area, over the stairway entrance is a sign announcing “Eureka Soda Works, L. Lawrence Propr. “ Parked across the street end is a horse drawn 4 wheel, 3 deck vehicle with lettering on the side, Eureka Soda Works, Mr. L. Lawrence is in the driver's seat, the three young men at the rear are (from top to bottom) Fred Vater; Rube Langell, and Bert Cridge.

Mr. W.H. Philpot's first restaurant was situated in the lower level of the Williams Block previous to L. Lawrence Soda Works. Mr. Philpot came to Nanaimo in 1882 and was engaged as cook by Mr. George Shaw (who later become Governor of Alaska). Mr. Philpot became owner of the business known as the Criterion Restaurant, a Free Press item dated Monday June 18th, 1900 states, “Mr. Philpot has thrown away the key and the restaurant is open day and night”.

There were other stores in this building facing Commercial Street, on the second floor were rooms, an article from the Free Press 1924 Anniversary number states, “One of the most attractive and cozy tea rooms on Vancouver Island is the T. Kettle Tea Room conducted by Mrs. Charles Meek. The interior decoration of the rooms is done in blue, green and ivory while the high French Windows and comfortable appointments are ideal for those wishing restful quiet. There is also a cozy room with an open fire, the T. Kettle Tea Rooms are open on Sundays”.

This completes the buildings that were originally located at the south end of Wharf Street. Before giving further attention to the development of Wharf Street let us look in retrospect to the historic aspect of this area. Few places in the Province can record such an interesting evolvement from tribal days to the present City of Nanaimo. This part of the Harbour covers several periods of time, first the Indian Peoples had occupied the area for ages past. The second period began with the coming of the Spanish explorers who cruised around the islands in the harbour in June 16,17 and 18, 1792, when they entered a few Spanish names on their charts, noting an item from the Journal of Lieut. Francisco Elisa of the ship San Carloswhen he named the inlet “Winthuysen”, “The sailors continued to replenish the fresh water and make repairs to their boats”.

Nothing more was heard about this inlet until about sixty years later when the third period was established by the occupation and development by the Hudson's Bay Company when they commenced working the coal seams along the banks of the harbour, built a warehouse on the upper side of what is now Wharf Street, and constructed a high picket fence enclosing a work yard with a landing dock at the shoreline, and other suitable buildings to develop their business interests.

The fourth period commenced when the Hudson's Bay Company sold out their interests in the coal mining business to the Vancouver Coal Mining Company in 1862, now lumber and wood products have replaced coal mining.

During the years 1858 to 1861 Capt. George M. Richards (?) and his officers in H.M.S. Plumper were occupied in surveying the coast lines, they made frequent calls at Nanaimo during that time, in 1861 Capt. Richards and his crew were transferred to H.M.S. Hecate of  (illegible) tons to continue their work, during this time some of the Spanish names were changed. A chart of Nanaimo Harbour was published at London in 1862 (or 1882) I will relate more fully to these items near the end of this paper.

Manuscript annotation illegible

After the Coal Company filled in some shallow waterways at another site and built better coal loading facilities the railway tracks and bridge along Wharf Street were removed, the street became useable for general traffic with the filling up as stated previously by Mr. Bate. An item appearing in the Free Press for April 14th 1880 stated, “The old Hudson's Bay Company trading post erected when Nanaimo but a primeval forest demolished”.

After the street was built up, the waterside has remained much the same, no improvements at the street level. On the shoreline were a few floating boat launchings including Walter Campbell's boat rentals and Harry Shaw's boat house, there were also a few fishermen's cabins erected on props, these have all been cleared away.

With the removal of the railway tracks the filling and leveling of the way, an entrance to the west side of Wharf Street was created to this wedge shaped property, the area had formerly been occupied by stables, barns and carriage sheds, the access being from Commercial and Bastion Streets.

An early picture shows a large elderberry shrub or tree growing where the parking lot is today of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, I was told by one who remembers, ”This property being in the center of town, farmers would tie their horses to the spreading branches of the tree, I have often seen the place fully occupies with horses”.

Commercial establishments began to be erected facing Wharf Street which catered to a variety of businesses, trade supplies and entertainment. A few of the early building sites were later rebuilt on, some of the old stables were renovated as small shops, the rest were demolished with information supplied and pictures available of the early period, a reasonably good description of the street can be drawn.

An early picture shows the first business premises were erected at the foot of Front Street, facing Wharf Street; the site is now a parking lot. It was a two story frame building with display windows at street level, here Louis McQuade and Sons of Victoria, ship chandlers, conducted a branch house for a few years, at the very corner was a small storage shed used by McQuade.

The premises were later occupied by George Beattie and George Slater who operated a printing press, afterwards Joe Filmer carried on the same line of business. The second story had four windows. Here A.G. Day specialized in picture framing.

Adjoining to the South was a building half the width with two windows upstairs. The premises were occupied by Joseph Booth, a well-known pioneer in Nanaimo, who manufactured his famous ‘Cuban Blossom Cigars', it was one of the shops that had been renovated from John Hilbert's stables.

At the South end of this property, near to the old Williams Block, was a square shaped building with a flat roof, possibly a carriage shed.

Built after this early picture, and situated on the back portion of the present Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce site, Henry Wilkinson and A. E. Hilbert conducted a billiard hall and bowling alley, a lane along side led up to Commercial Street. The business was afterwards owned by M. Thorn and Wm. Burnip, Mr. Burnip also held auctions sales there. At a later date Mr. George Merrifield operated the premises as a sportsman's club.

The last building to be constructed in this block was the John Cowie machine shop with a two-story office in front facing Wharf Street, built in 1924, a lane ran along the south side from Wharf to Bastion Streets. This building was also the last to be removed in the whole street.

No reference has been made concerning the modern structures now situated in the area.

Crossing over to the foot of Front Street on the harbour side to the stone warehouse built in 1875 by John Hirst, an enterprising merchant. The warehouse occupies the site of the former Hudson's Bay Company platform scales that weighed the cars of coal passing along the tracks to the coal loading facilities at the waterfront. Mr. Hirst also built a general shipping wharf along the south side of the Hudson's Bay Company Coal jetty, it was known as Hirst's Wharf. The HBC steamship Beaver was the first steamer to moor at Hirst's wharf, March  (illegible but possibly 18th, 1876)

Over the years several improvements were made, noting two items the Victoria Weekly for December 8th 1870 “Workmen commenced to construct a large addition to Hirst's Wharf”. Nanaimo Free Press for October 26th 1906, “A new building had been erected at Hirst's wharf to accommodate cattle shipments”. Quoting Mr. Wm. Lewis, “Cattle and other farm animals at times causes some excitement when being driven through town”.

So many items of interest were centered around this wharf that only brief mention can be made of the few. The Union Steamships operated from here three times weekly. Sailing time for Vancouver was 5 pm. A side-wheeler bringing a circus to town was delayed docking owing to a low tide, people gathered nearby could hear the restless animals voicing a protest for the delay. The long building was last used as a herring saltery for shipment to Japan. The wharf was demolished during the summer of 1966. 


Stone for Hirst's warehouse came from Newcastle Island quarry. The original service lane to the wharf is still in use along side of the warehouse. With the change of occupancy John Mahrer used the upper floor as a liquor merchant, and Frank Stannard carried on a flour, feed and produce business on the lower floor facing the water, afterwards Mr. Stannard took over the upper floor for his businesses. During the Second World War the lower floor or basement was used as an emergency storage.


The date 1875 was cut in relief on the front gable, this fine example of the stone mason's art was destroyed when renovations were being made to house the Harbour Commission, I saw a workman knocking the features off with a hammer.

Mr. John Hirst died a comparatively young man, Sept. 1882, age 52.Moving up to the intersection of Front and Bastion Streets where much of our early history was made. On the S/W corner John Hilbert who came to Nanaimo in 1873, erected the building, which now stands there. He established a furniture making shop and undertaking business, later disposing of the furniture making, he continued the undertaking business for about 30 years, advertised “Coffins made to measure”.

Mr. Hilbert was elected Alderman seven times during 1877 and 1892, then elected Mayor of Nanaimo 1890 and by acclamation in 1891. Served as school trustee and trustee on the first hospital board, appointed a Magistrate. “He was active in the contracting line, many of the most substantial buildings being built by him, Mr. Hilbert built the Methodist Church at Wellington and one of Nanaimo's schools”. A few people remember a Chinese store in the building facing Bastions Street as a game, fish and produce shop, a picture shows display tables out front.

“Mr. John Hilbert was a public spirited man to a great degree, he was interested in many projects as gas works, waterworks, tannery and social events”. He died at Nanaimo Saturday July 24th, 1926, age 82 years.

The dominant structure at the intersection of Bastion and Front Streets was the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort or Bastion on the N/W corner, built by Leon Labine and Jean Batiste Fortier, completed in 1853.

Mr. Mark Bate wrote, “The Bastion which stood on the rocky eminence at the corner of Front and Bastion Streets was completed in 1853. Between the Bastion and Dallas Square four small hewn log houses 26'x15' with a lean-to in the rear, and one of them with an annex at the rear”. These cottages I will refer to later.

The Bastion was moved by Mr. John Coulson, a teamster, to the N/W corner of the intersection (illegible) of September 1890, while Mr. J. Hilbert was Mayor. As of the beginning of 1972, preparations are being made to move it to Bastion Square near by.

On the 24th of May each year, Chief Constable William Stewart had a 21 gun salute fired, pictures show his team in action. Governor J. Douglas when visiting here received a salvo of 17 guns.

The history of the Bastion has been written about countless times, it is so well known; there is no need to pursue the subject here. However there is one item not generally known, it is interesting and worth telling.

As stated by Mr. Victor B. Harrison on tape-recorded at his home the 16th of September 1968. “Mr. Harrison became legal advisor for Mr. Thomas Kitchen, a person who had large land and mortgage holdings. Mr. Kitchen had an option to purchase the land whereon the Bastion stood and all he wanted was an agreement from those using the old fort to pay $1.00 ground rent per year, this was refused so Mr. Kitchen ordered them to move the Bastion off the land, this was done as stated”.

“Mr. Kitchen went on to say the timbers for the Bastion were brought in the shoreline and first fitted together there, then packed up the hill in segments and built on the rock knoll of it's first location.”

I spoke to the late Mr. Hiram Gough about this story, he remembered his father telling him along these lines of the story. Quoting another reference on the subject from a publication by the Nanaimo Herald, (illegible but possibly 190?) page 3, in part. “During the building of the fort the snow was several feet deep on the ground, and the ice thick enough for men to walk on across the harbour. Logs were brought in by the Indians who had no other covering but a blanket, bare feet and bare headed, they brought the logs over the ice to Commercial Inlet”. The Native Sons purchased the Bastion in 1906.

Referring back to the four squared log cottage on Front Street, the one nearest to the Bastion was built for the Muir family who arrived here 3rd September 1852, the cottages were each 25'x15' and built before the Bastion. Quoting in part, letter from Joseph Wm. McKay to Gov. James Douglas dated Winthuysen Inlet September 9th, 1852. “Lazard and Gang have most of the wood on the site for a house 25'x15' and have commenced building. The Indians have brought 1,000 pieces of cedar bark etc”.

A sequence of pictures records the stages these four cottages were disposed of. The most northerly cottage was removed to make way for the three story brick and stone Green Block, built about 1871, (supposedly by Rev. N.P. Green), which filled the corner of Front and Church Streets.

The adjoining [building?], the largest of the four, had been the home Robert Dunsmuir and family. Mr. V. Harrison stated as a young man he had often seen the Dunsmuir's there, and that there is a picture around showing Mrs. Dunsmuir standing on the veranda in her bare feet.

A few years ago Mr. Harrison recorded on tape that he saw the next cottage being taken down, it was built of squared logs. A picture shows it with inside chimney, the veranda with corner brackets could have been added from originally. Mr. And Mrs. L. Lawrence occupied this cottage in 1884 when they first came to Nanaimo. A later tenant was Mr. Al. Davis, a well-known citizen of Nanaimo who made the ‘Enterprise Cigar' at his shop on Bastion Street.

These last two mentioned dwellings were removed when additions were made to the former Green Block by Mr. Joe Fox, who named it the Windsor Hotel. Mr. Thos. Kitchen had a mortgage and an option to purchase the property he brought a suit against Mr. Fox for removing the two cottages without his consent as he wished to preserve them for historic reasons.

Mr. Fox next built the Windsor Hotel Annex, completely occupying the site of the two cottages. After modifications the Windsor Hotel become the Plaza Hotel operated by Mr. T. Wells. Afterwards the original corner section was rebuilt along more modern lines when it become named the Shoreline Hotel, and the recent years it goes by the name Villa Hotel.

The cottage nearest to the Bastion was built for the Muir family in 1853 before the Bastion was built. The late Mr. Joseph Muir stated on tape recording May 15th, 1963 in the Bastion, this cottage was first roofed with cedar bark, pictures show this cottage with an outside fireplace chimney, the other three dwellings had inside chimneys. It was 25'x15' with a lean-to at the rear, being of a duplex type with two doors in front. This Muir Cottage was the last standing of the four; a picture shows it along the side of the new Windsor Hotel Annex in the state of disrepair, the site is now vacant property. On the tape Mr. Muir stated ‘the Muir cottages', he was also referring to a second cottage that had been built for the Muir's, located a little behind the Bastion.

When the ship Oscar blew up outside the harbour January (13 or 15?) 1913, great damage was done to the windows of the Windsor Hotel, even doors on the inside of the building were blown off their hinges.

Manuscript annotation: See note below.

Crossing over to the Bastion on it's site since 1890, the area below is known as Pioneer Rock, the landing place of the Princess Royal passengers on November 27th, 1854, they had been trans shipped here by the H.B.C.'s ships Beaver and Recovery, this event is well known. The Nanaimo Historical Society celebrated the arrival of those early citizens each November 27th by a brief ceremony. A stone Cairn stands on Pioneer Rock to mark the landing place, inside the cairn is a sealed lead container with accounts and pictures of the Princess Royal Day Centenary November 27th, 1954, this container to be opened November 27th 2054. Plans are on file at the City Hall. At this time preparations are being made to move the Bastion to a new site nearby, called Bastion Square. 

At this point, the manuscript has been cut off and is illegible.

….. time late the south part of the building and the lower floor was operated as a garage, the north part was the studio of Mr. King a photographer. About this time hard wood floor of the bowling alley must have been removed and replaced with the present fir floor, and forty feet cot off the back of the building. Schwarze Studio was opened in 1912 by the grandfather of Peter Schwarze the present owner and photographer.

Manuscript note:Illegible entry ending in ‘1962'

A building that is worth special historical recognition was the first to be built in that block of Front Street, it was a business house built by Adam Grant Horn, as a general store in (illegible date but possibly 1863), it was situated near this ramp that let down to the former wharf. Mr. Horne had been storekeeper for the HBC until they sold out their interests to the Vancouver Coal Mining Company in 1862. The building became Nanaimo's early Court House about 1865. Here Judge Begbie held court. Later it served as the local Police Station and Detention Jail. There are several pictures, which show the high picket fence at the side and rear, on building was taken down in 1916. A sketch of the premises was shown on the meeting notice for  (illegible) Tuesday September (illegible but possibly 10th), 1970, when Judge Wm. Philpott addressed the Historical Society. Near the front of the building was a public weigh scale.  

Dallas Square is next, the small island in the center divides Front Street to East and West sides. The island originally had a higher base, surrounded by a tubular iron railing, a favorite place for people to lean on while watching the ships and small craft movements in the harbour.

The square was named after Alexander Grant Dallas, the representative of the Hudson's Bay Company on the Pacific Coast (illegible but possibly 18… -1861) with headquarters at Victoria, Dallas was a son in law of Governor Douglas.

Today, the island is surrounded by a granite curbing, occupying the island is a granite shaft about 7 feet high, a bronze plaque states  “Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada”. This monument stands between the point of discovery and the pithead of the first commercial coal mine in British Columbia. Erected 1927. There is also an ornamental gas lamp about 10 feet high, “This constant burning Welsbach gas lamp which lighted the streets of Baltimore about 1830, was presented during the British Columbia Centennial Year 1953 to the City of Nanaimo”. Situated also there is a large block of coal with the date [1849?].

Moving over to the west side of Front Street, commencing at St. Paul's Church, this is the third church to occupy the site, foundations for the first church was laid by the manager of the Hudson's Bay Company, Mr. C.S. Nicol on Christmas day 1861, the site had been conveyed to the church by Alexander G. Dallas earlier that year on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company. The history of St. Paul's Church had been well recorded in a publication by Archdeacon A.E. Hendy, 1859-1952 while rector in 19 (illegible)

By Mr. Mark Bate, “There was also a little South of the Church, St. Paul's School House, a handsome tastefully designed structure, much used in the 1860s and 70s for concerts, lectures and literary gatherings”. I spoke to Mr. Lewis several years ago about this hall, he remarked on the pleasant occasions he had attended there. Nearby was St. Paul's Rectory, a large frame building, this was taken down a few years ago.

The triangular piece of property fronting St. Paul's Church and the rectory has seen a few changes in it's occupancy, an early picture shows an attractively designed band stand having eight pillars, which supported a conical roof, it is situated in front of and midway between the first St. Paul's 1862-1907 and the Rectory, the band stand must have been removed before, or about 1913 as it does not show on the picture when the Militia from Victoria were housed there in tents in 1913 on account of the miners strike.  This was not the first bandstand on Front Street, I will refer to the previous one later.

Approximately on the same site of the former bandstand is the imposing granite Cenotaph with its bronze tablets recording the names of two world war victims, the monument is surrounded with lawns and garden.

Another occupant of this triangular lot was A.C. Wilson, florist, with his shop facing Front Street and greenhouses behind. Situated on the north side of the lot, now a rose garden.

As we enter this section on Front Street, both sides are so richly laced with historic interest of former times, it was along here the first dwellings were built by the Hudson's Bay Company, followed soon afterwards by the pioneers for their families, the first church was established, cultural and social activities engaged in, small specialty businesses promoted, and for recreation and water sports there was a natural viewing bank along the whole waterfront, indeed Front Street was the very heart of Nanaimo.

On the west part of lot 19, block 55 (which was comprised of 3 lots) was the site of Nanaimo's first church; it was set well back from Front Street, almost to Chapel Street. The late Mrs. Martha A. Kenny who came to Nanaimo in April 1876 wrote in part: “Colviletown's first church was built in 1860, the site conveyed by Trust Deed to the Wesleyan Methodist Mission by Alexander G. Dallas on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company in June 1860, hence the name given to Dallas Square in the near vicinity. The church was dedicated November 27th, 1860. The interior was beautifully finished in California Redwood, the original had four gables, the North and South wings forming transepts, even at this early date the church had beautiful stained glass windows and four ornate bronze chandeliers”.

The church was built by Ebenezer Robinson, a ship builder. A frontal picture shows it as having a pleasing appearance, the double doors and window headings are of a rounded type, the belfry is a most outstanding feature, made of Redwood and fashioned after a classical miniature temple. The bronze bell came from Truro, Cornwall, and the coloured glass came from Belgium.

With a growing membership of the church, more accommodation was required, a new site was secured at the corner of Wallace and Franklyn Streets. The corner stone of the new church was laid by Mr. Samuel M. Robins, June 4th, 1889, and dedication took place January  (illegible) 1890, it was described as “A more commodious edifice”.  The old church with the three lots were sold January (illegible), 1889 for (illegible) $3,500.00.

The old church was converted into a schoolhouse for a few years, then a dance hall, it is stated the floor was in a wonderful state of preservation; it was next occupied as a furniture store followed by a garage. In 1919, Dendoff Springs took over the building at which time structural changes were made to accommodate their business. In [1941?], Dendoff's vacated the property and moved down to Terminal Avenue.

Dendoff's kindly supplied us with pictures of their occupation of the building and many items of historical interest of the old church, also a picture of Abner Griffith's grave, 1861, with a small headstone, on the property on Chapel Street.

When calling at Dendoff's shop in the old church, it was a striking sight to see the beautiful coloured glass in the North transept and other side windows.

An item by Mrs. M.A. Kenny: “Perhaps the most attractive place of all, among the otherwise plain, whitewashed buildings along Front Street in the early days was Mrs. Raybould's Millinery and Dress Making establishment, situated in a front corner of the Wesleyan Church property, the large show windows revealing the latest in millinery imports from England were a perennial source of interest to the ladies of the community”. The site is now occupied by the Elk's Club, I will refer to this item again.

A rocky ridge ran along the center of this block, north to south between Front and Chapel Streets.

Nearby the church and also situated on the westerly part of lot 19, block 55 was a stone building erected by the Hudson's Bay Company as an office and residence for Capt. Charles Stuart, officer in charge, thought to have been built in 1854. On a chart of Nanaimo Harbour 1875 British Admiralty, by Capt. G.H. Richards and his officers of HMCS Hecate dated [1852?] the old church is marked as such and nearby, northerly, a graph delineates the site of the stone building, this location has been attested to by Mrs. M.A. Kenny who as a young person lived nearby. Unfortunately, no picture is available of this stone building at the present time, not even from the Provincial Archives.

We have three excellent references concerning the building, first by Mr. M. Bate, in part: “Back from Front Street the old stone house a curiously constructed tenement said to be the first stone building erected in the Colony, as strongly built as a fort, walls three feet thick, ought, like the Bastion to have been preserved as a relic of the HBC's regime”.

By Mrs. Kenny on tape recording March 14th, 1962 when ninety years of age, “Another building on Front Street of more than ordinary interest was the Court House, situated a little north of the first church. It was constructed of stone, plastered on the outside with mortar made from lime from the vicinity of the Biological Station. It was originally constructed as a residence for Capt. Charles Stuart of the HBC it was taken over for use as a Court House, and later it served as our City Hall until 1886 when the Literary Institute was purchased by the City”. The stone building was used as City Hall from March 19th, 1875 to 1886. 

Mr. Hiram Gough also on tape recording March 14th 1962 in part: “I was born on Skinner Street, July 3rd, 1884. My father was City Clerk, and I can remember one day while playing in the window of the stone building on Front Street, used as the first City Hall, I would be just over two years of age. Some years later, while ringing the bell for morning service at the church on Front Street, I noticed many people skating on the harbour, I also saw a load of hay being hauled across the harbour drawn by two horses”.

Manuscript annotation: Illegible

Now moving to the frontage of lot 18 on Front Street. An excellent picture shows a double log dwelling on the northerly half of lot 18 in the course of being taken down. This dwelling had two doors facing the street had been the home of James Miller Brown and family, a small addition to the side was his tailor shop, he was generally known as Tailor Brown and enjoyed considerable business from navy personnel when calling here, and when America ships were in port there was a great demand for his imported cloths.

The Bank of British Columbia took over part or the whole of the Brown dwelling and opened a branch office on March 7th, 1887. The bank next acquired the southerly half of lot 18, a contract was let for the erection of a two story brick building September (illegible) 1887. They occupied the premises December 18th, 1888, a Mr. Williams as manager.

The Bank of British Columbia ceased to exist in January 1901, its assets were sold to the Canadian Bank of Commerce for (illegible). When the Nanaimo branch was closed the premises became the Nanaimo City Club, it was known as a rather exclusive club. The Steward - Custodian was a Japanese gentleman who knew all the foibles of certain members, he became noted for his diplomatic actions. The Elks Lodge were the next occupants of the building, they moved in October 8th, 1917, the brick building stands today and is numbered 55 Front Street.

A prominent businessman of Nanaimo was Joseph Miller Brown, the second son of James Miller Brown, who was born at Ashlar Farm near the city. Joseph M. Brown began his career as watchmaker in 1883, he opened his first shop on Front Street in 1886 adjoining the old wooden Court House. Mrs. A.E. Planta wrote a lengthy article in the Free Press for Saturday July 31st, 1948 concerning Mr. Brown's inventions and accomplishments, he received many awards as watchmaker and related lines, amongst which was a gold medal from the Royal A&I Society of London England in 1903. Joseph M. Brown set "Great Frank" the Post Office clock in motion January 1st, 1913. On May 12th, (check date, illegible) 1971 his daughter Audrey Alexandra Brown made a living memory tape recording for Nanaimo Historical Society, Miss Brown is a noted writer and poetess.

Before proceeding with other persons located on Front Street, here is a selected item from a tape recording by Mr. Joseph (Illegible) "I arrived at Nanaimo in 1907 at Gordon's Wharf. Walked up a steep hill to Front Street on our left the old jail with it's whitewashed fence, on our right the old Post Office, (plans dated 1883-1884). Going north on our left a rock bluff, then a brick building, more rock bluff, 3 old Hudson's Bay Company houses standing on top of it, then the Court House and next the Globe Hotel. On our right stretching from the old Post Office north about 800 feet of vacant lots belonging to the Western Fuel Company, it had a band stand and several benches, this was where you would meet your friends on a fine summer evening". This was the first band stand referred to previously, it was situated about the space between the Federal Building and the Malaspina Hotel, this band stand may have been moved and erected again on the plot in front of St. Paul's Church.

A gentleman told me recently of listening to the music floating over the harbour from this early bandstand while paddling a canoe.

Manuscript annotation, illegible.

The next building northerly from the stone house was the old frame constructed Provincial Offices and Court House, it was not an imposing structure. An interesting picture in "Scene's from the Past" shows the cramped general office arrangements, the six men around the room were well known personages in those days, an Mark Bate, Assessor ; George Thompson, Assistant Assessor; Marshall Bray, Government Agent; Herb Stanton, Deputy Government agent, Samuel Drake, sheriff;  illegible , inspector of mines. The building was erected in 1881.

In August 1887, work commenced to clear the site of the present stone edifice as Provincial Offices and Court House. In December 1894, the Legislature voted (illegible) for the new Court House, in February 1896, the interior work was completed, the date 1895 is recorded in the frontal stonework, making an eight-year period for completion.

The wooden structure was purchased by Vancouver Coal Company and presented to the City of Nanaimo, courtesy of Samuel Robins. It was moved back across Chapel Street in late 1897. The building became occupied by the Nanaimo Athletic Club for some years, afterwards it served a variety of public functions as, general meetings, flower shows, library, emergency hospital for flu patients in 1918 and Red (?) Cross Carnival. The last occupants were the Canadian Legion to 1950 when they moved to Wallace Street, the building was then demolished.

On the lot now occupied by the Globe Hotel, a French Canadian named 'Cote' built a log cottage, Cote appears in many H.B.C. expeditions, he was known as a good canoe man who knew the coast line well, he accompanied A.G. Horne in his adventure across the island to Alberni Inlet in May 1856. This Cote cottage became the birthplace of the Nanaimo Free Press with George Norris as publisher, the first edition is dated Wednesday April 15th, 1874, shortly afterwards Gorge Norris built a new home and printing office on the present site of the Free Press building. The Globe Hotel was owned by Alex Henderson, the date 1887 is on the cornice. It was not used as a hotel at first, Henderson occupied the ground floor for his Nanaimo Marble and Monument works for some years.On the lot adjoining the Globe Hotel were two large frame houses, both had verandahs and roofed over observation decks on the third level where the occupants could survey the outlook. In early days two of Nanaimo's best known bachelors resided in one of the dwellings, Mr. John Rudd and Mr. John Doyle. Mr. Jeff Davidson lived in the other one, Davidson was City Alderman in 1895 then Mayor of Nanaimo in 1896 and 1897. The houses were part of Mr. J. Rudd's estate. From the end of Chapel Street was a rising rocky bluff, part of the barrier across Front Street, Mr. Bates notes, "that bluff was a great barrier to vehicular traffic until cut away bit by bit by the corporation, before being built upon the 'Land' in this locality was a most uneven jumble of disrupted rocks, along the face of the cliffs the bogwoods flourished. As improvements were made to the property now occupied by Sea Crest Apartments, two large houses were erected, the first was known as Dr. Praeger House, the next was the home of Judge W. McBain Young for several years, and at the corner of the bluff was a rambling one story dwelling, it had been a boarding house, the last tenant was Harry Carrol.

Moving over to the east side of Front Street, it was along here the earliest housing development was made for the miners and the company's staff members. Mr. Bate continued: "Crossing Dallas Square there was a range of houses built in (illegible) extending to the bluff at the corner of Comox Road. On the extreme end of the rock bluff, at the corner or ridge, a building tenanted by Jesse Sage which had been erected by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1852 for a billiards, chess, reading rooms etc., where one could pass the tedium of a wet day or evening, this same building was subsequently used as the printing office of the Nanaimo Gazette, Nanaimo's first newspaper. An excellent picture loaned by Mr. A Martin, a great grandson of Jesse Sage, shows these log cottages stretching along the bank of the harbour.
At the museum is a framed chart of Nanaimo and the harbour, approximately 22"x [38]”, illegible). It is headed "Plan of Colvile Town, showing improvements made previously to May 8th 1854". This is the earliest chart we have, there is no information who authorized it to be drawn, nor is there a signature of the surveyor, it can be considered reasonably correct as locations of various items including dwellings are in keeping with the same items on Capt. G.H. Richards chart of 1862. Later amendments were made identifying some features in ink, the row of cottages along Front Street facing the harbour are numbered in sequence with ink, also shown are seven cottages on the west side of the street and the four cottages situated near the Bastion. Amongst other items shown is the H.B.C. water powered sawmill on Millstone River, the Methodist Church on Front Street of 1860 but the old H.B.C. stone building adjoining the church is not shown, thought to be built in 1854 the same year as the chart is dated, there are a few dwellings shown on Wallace and Skinner Streets, a rectangle is marked off with notation 'Intended Shaft', this site became #3 shaft situated at the rear of the Malaspina Hotel today.

I wish to pay special attention to Lieut. Richard Charles Mayne R.N. who was first Lieut. and chief surveying officer under Capt. Richards during the work of surveying these coastal waters, first in H.M.S. Plumper 1858 and on, thence the crew were transferred to the H.M.S. Hecate 850 tones in October 1861.

On Mayne's return to England he was elected as (illegible) G.S., there he wrote his book Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island, published in 1862, containing 450 pages. Mayne's book contains an amazing account of his difficulties encountered, not only along the coast inlets but also through the vast interior of British Columbia, he recorded extensively on the customs and social life of the Indian Peoples, and noted valuable accounts of natural history. On page 35 of Mayne's book he gives a forthright assessment as Nanaimo was in 1854 while he was engaged in the Plumper. "We visited Nanaimo for the purpose of coaling, the town, such as it is, stands upon a singular promontory, which seems to have been severed from the mainland by some violent volcanic eruption which twisted the strata of which it is composed most curiously. Along the shore are the colliery buildings, and about a dozen remarkably sooty houses, inhabited by the miners and the few Hudson's Bay Company officers here. There is a resident doctor in the place, who inhabits one of these houses, and to the left of them stands the Company's Bastion, on which are mounted four or five honeycombed 12-pounders".

As a final item I have for your inspection a copy of a conveyance document concerning the acquisition of the harbour frontage and land area from the local Indian Peoples by the Hudson's Bay Company for the consideration of the stated number of blankets.

The Conveyance is headed, - 'A similar Conveyance of country extending from Commercial Inlet 12 miles of the Nanaimo River, made by the SARLEQUIM TRIBE, sighed [SQUONISTOW?] and OTHERS. There follows the names of 159 Indians with X as his (sic) mark including 7 chiefs acknowledging the transfer of ownership. The document bears witness as follows: 'Done at Fort Nanaimo, or Colviletown this [23rd?] day of December in the year of our Lord 1854 in the presence of us who in the presence of each other have hereunto affixed our names.                             
                        CHARLES EDWARD STUART, Hudson's Bay Company in charge.

                        RICHARD GOLLEDGE, Hudson's Bay Service.

                        GEORGE ROBINSON, Manager of the Nanaimo Co.

                        JAMES DOUGLAS, Governor Vancouver's Island

The above document is signed: Wm. Barraclough, Presented before Nanaimo Historical Society, Tuesday, April 18, 1972.