Monthly Archives: March 2012

Eldon House anniversary photo contest

In 2011 Eldon House celebrated its 50th year anniversary as a museum. Among several events throughout the year was a seasonal photo contest. Participants were invited to submit entries for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I looked forward to participating because it allowed me to mix two of my passions: photography and local history (more specifically Eldon House).

While they didn’t make the Winter category, I caught some rare images of Eldon House after the snowfall we had at the end of March. Everything was coated in a light dusting of snow which was quite enchanting.

So when I finally did get in some submissions I was excited when the judges chose my photos as the winners for the Spring and then the Fall portion of the contest.

Spring was a fun photo to take because the lush green lawn and blooming garden against the white contrast of the house portrayed the fresh feel that only springtime has. The flags on the front of the house flap in the gentle breeze and one can imagine the scent of grass and perfume of the garden.

Fall presented more of a challenge because I wanted a photo that captured the dark mood of October and the ghost stories connected to Eldon House. I laid down on the lawn to take several snaps. I ventured into the ravine at the edge of the property, nearly sliding down the muddy hill to get a different angle of the house. But it was a tree at the front of the property near the end of the gravel walk that I got the picture I wanted.

With the contest at an end only one final thing was to be decided, would either of my submissions be chosen as the overall winner and if so which one? The winning photograph would be framed and there may also be the opportunity to have the photo appear on upcoming Eldon House postcards.

Well, the judges made their choice and they chose my Spring entry! I was very honored to be chosen and excited to receive a beautifully framed copy of the photo from Wilda Thomas of ‘Creative Art and Frame’. Many thanks to Tara Wittmann for keeping me informed and sharing the good news! For more information on the Eldon House photo contest visit their website.

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Officers at Play

One could argue that early Londoners were very lucky to have the British military deploy several regiments in Canada during and after the 1837 rebellion. Lucky, because the town benefited from the security, commerce, and “high society” that well educated officers brought with them.

During its time in London, the British military was responsible for clearing trees and stumps to create better roadways, protecting the local population from the rebellion’s skirmishes, as well as aiding in civic emergencies such as fires and floods. At this time, the local militia was primarily volunteer, so the presence of the British military not only provided a very practical helping hand but also provided the militia with educational and organizational opportunities.

The British officers were a welcome customer to farmers and local business owners (read: tavern, wink wink).  We also know that they were a relief to London’s upper class who longed for the company of “refined” guests for discussions regarding literature, music, politics, and news of England; this is apparent from the stories about balls and soirées where British officers were hailed as honored guests. Young ladies also were enamored and fell victim to “Scarlet Fever” – the excitement of having an influx of available, well-dressed suitors who offered an opportunity to leave London.

Further to this, the arrival of the military enriched London’s artistic culture. British officers were responsible for significant works of Canadian artwork. They also brought the theater:  putting on plays and musical productions so regularly that a performance hall was eventually built for which tickets were sold and reviews were written in the London Gazette.

Mark Tovey’s presentation, made at a Jane Austen Society meeting in November 2011, provides an excellent background and detailed history on this subject, as well as some fun comparisons to Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.

Watch the presentation here:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

During the summer of 2011 Mark Tovey produced a highly acclaimed (at least by me) re-creation of a play performed by British officers. You can read my review here.

Interested in more on the British military’s involvement in London, Upper Canada?

See these previous posts:

The 83rd regiment comes to town

Marriage and drama at Eldon House

Wreckless horseman

Holiday romance

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