The Octagon – July 2021

Greetings all….

As I write this we are in the midst of this crazy heat dome. What more is going to be thrown at us, first a pandemic, then extreme heat….. probably the next will be forest fires and the resulting smoke. I hope everyone is able to stay cool in this heat.

These past few weekends we have been open for tours of the Manor House, albeit on a limited basis, but as restrictions are lifted we will be able to take more people at a time giving them a glimpse of days gone by and even re-open some of the rooms that we have had to close off during Covid. We are excited to have our students onboard starting the first week of July; Morgan, a returning intern from last year as well as newcomer Holly who is quickly catching up with all the info required to showcase the Manor House. Starting on July 10th the Octagonal Barn will once again be open, so bring your visiting friends and family to see this unique structure and imagine the Ayrshires all standing in their stanchions waiting to get milked.

We have completed Dun-Waters’ bedroom and this is now available for viewing. Many thanks to Dave Richmond (BC Parks) for donating the magnificent 1930’s bedroom suite in this room.

Another new addition to our collection is in the Ben Lee Room and Dan Bruce our Curator, gives the history of this magnificent piece below:

“A new item of furniture in the Ben Lee Room will be very obvious to visitors . . . Bruce Hopkins of Vernon has just donated a bookshelf that now dominates the room.  It is an example of the Eastlake style of furniture, very popular in the USA and eastern Canada in the late 19th century.

Charles Locke Eastlake (1836 – 1906) was an artist and architect in England who envisioned a decorative style that could be largely machine made, and therefore affordable by customers of lesser means.   His publication, ” Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details ” was influential in Britain, but was even more popular in North America.  His angular, sharply defined decoration contrasted with the curves and swirls of an earlier age. Lending itself to machine work, many builders and manufacturers took to it with enthusiasm.

The ” Hopkins Shelf ” at Fintry was brought from a house in Ontario some time ago, where it had been since about 1895. In order to get it to BC and into the Vernon residence, the upper section had to be cut in half and rejoined once in place. This process had to be repeated when it came time to move it to Fintry.   With the assistance of Bruce Hopkins, the donor, our Board members, Roy Lysholt, Jason Satterthwaite and Jason’s son Aiden, we engineered the piece out of the Hopkins house and delivered it to Fintry. Shortly thereafter the team re-assembled it in its present position.

Being located in the part of the Ben Lee Room that was the original kitchen, the decision was to use it to exhibit cooking and food related items that would not fit well in other parts of the house.  This is in the experimental stage at the moment, but here one can see the two spice boxes, and the selection of Chinese ginger jars.   

While enlarging and upgrading the campsites 1 to 50 some years ago, BC Parks workers unearthed a few glass bottles that had been disposed of in a pit almost certainly during Dun-Waters’ time. One of these is now on the new shelf, and identifies itself as “Sharwood’s Chutney, Calcutta and London”. Still in production by Sharwood’s , one can sample one of the items on Fintry’s grocery list.

With the relaxing of Covid restrictions, we look forward to re-opening the Red Room, and being able to give visitors the much-desired look into the whisky cellar.   “Enjoy Responsibly”!”

At this time, I would like to inform everyone that The Friends of Fintry will be holding their AGM on Saturday, August 21st, 10 a.m. at the Manor House. Mark your calendars, come and meet the Board members and our students and stay for a tour!

‘Til next month….stay cool and stay safe,

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.

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