Exploring Murray Street

I’ve been doing research around 227 Murray Street East, in Hamilton, for quite some time now.  My great grandfather, John Haddow, lived in this eight room dwelling for most of his 43 years in Hamilton.  For over 30 years, John was a valued employee of the Steel Company of Canada and was a member of the Unity Lodge, S.O.E. For any of my readers interested in reading about the establishment of this industry, see Working In Steel: The Early Years in Canada 1883-1935 by Craig Heron.  The content of this writing supports the narratives I have come across regarding my Haddow family, in regards to the influx of Italian immigrants to the area and their ‘english’ bosses.  It also confirms the actualization of ‘union’ life and the reasons for it.  Murray Street was an easy walking distance from both the tracks and industry.  This past summer, I was able to walk the paths my relations may have walked.

Steel Company of CanadaBorn in Daltongate, Ulverston on the 25th of March, 1853, John was the son of William Haddow and Agnes Poole. He married Mary High in 1875. In 1874, John joined the Royal Navy and served for just a few short months.  He had a good farm on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario at Ryckman’s Corners, but sadly all was lost in a fire.  This is when John, the father of my great grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow, started to work for the Steel Company.  He was in charge of all immigrants who worked there, a crew of about 60 men.  John, an engineer, became superintendent of the steel company on Wellington Street and it is said that on the day of his funeral, the shop was shut down in order to honour his life..  John paid $15.00 a month to live on Murray Street.  His beloved Mary died in February of 1919, but John and some of his children continued to live at the residence until his passing.

John Ames of the City of Hamilton, Growth Planning department was initially very helpful with my research.  I realized early on that there would be no residence left where 227 Murray Street once existed.  So, John and others provided me with some important links to the history of the location.

Kathleen Moors

 

This section of Murray Street disappeared during the First World War and the 1920’s as a number of industries occupied this area.  According to Registered Plan 287 (July 1879) Murray Street extended from the existing street (at Mary St.) all the way to Wellington Street.  The existing Murray Street house at Mary Street is #115, so your great-grandfather’s house at #227 was on the eastern edge of a complex which included the City Jail, two railway lines, and growing industries which were displacing the original homes.  #227 Murray St was Lot 132, RP 287, right beside the railway line.

 

In 1929 there was a remnant residential area on the north side of Murray Street east of Ferguson which included #227 (223, 225, 227).  The resident was Edwin J. Walker.  By 1930 all the houses were gone.  If you can, see http://library.mcmaster.ca/maps/airphotos/zoom/1934_A4871_15 to see what that part of Hamilton looked like in 1934.  Use a ruler to visually extend Murray Street four blocks to Wellington Street; this is the part of Murray Street east of Mary which has disappeared.  The Food Basics store was built in 1980 on the foundations of the Dominion Cotton Mills circa 1903, which is the large T-shaped building along the east side of Mary Street.  With the old Barton Street Jail, a large city asphalt plant behind the house, and other heavy industry all around, this was not a very liveable area.

 

and further to this communication…

 

Kathleen

 

As a correction to my last e-mail, the cotton mill on the east side of Mary Street at Murray Street was not Dominion Cotton Mils but was in fact the Hamilton Cotton Company.  There were at least seven cotton mills located in Hamilton, hiring as many people as the steel plants in the early part of the 20th century.

 

I have included a typical “birds eye view” of Hamilton in 1893, looking south.  Hamilton Cotton Co. is marked as No. 5.  Most of the alignment of Murray St. further east is not laid out, but there is a small group of houses to the east (left) which does mark the intersection of Murray St. and Wellington St., and I am positive that one of them is 227 Murray St.  My earlier estimate of the location of 227 Murray St. in a little bit off:  it should be closer to Wellington St. 

 

As you can see from Google, most of the site has now been cleared and serves as parking lots for the Hamilton General Hospital and associated clinics.

 

I did a bit of cropping in order to create a snippet of a map dating back to 1934…pin pointed the area where the Murray Street house would have stood.  I am very grateful to the Hamilton Public Library and for John Ames of the City of Hamilton for their awesome help in my research.

227 Murray Street 6While in Hamilton, I walked the neighbourhoods, visiting with individuals along my walk, particularly a little Italian family, as I admired their rose bushes, adjacent to the block where my great grandparents would have lived.
P1110410
Similar period, style and location on Murray Street East.

Similar period, style and location on Murray Street East.

Grocery store and parking on block where John Haddow and his neighbours once lived.

Grocery store and parking on block where John Haddow and his neighbours once lived.

P1110413 P1110412P1110415A year before John passes, I find his name in a phone directory, living at 227 Murray Street East.

Hamilton 1922 Phone Book John Haddow Phone Book

It has been a blessing to explore the places where my ancestors settled, worked hard, and enjoyed the joys of family.

P1110372

Changing My Own Landscape: A Bag at a Time

February 29, 2012: 11:00 a.m.
Weather -6 degrees and overcast, with a threat of snow.  Mountains looking strangely close.

Such a lovely wetlands area.

Demitri, a sheet metal worker, has only been in Canada for two years and finds the weather very similar to the weather of his own homeland.  He was glad to take our photograph for the archive, while puffing on his cigarette over break. 

Demitri: today's witness to my life.

This is our second day out at the pond, gathering up one bag of discarded and manufactured items. Tim Hortons coffee cups are quickly becoming my nemises, as is building insulation.  I found myself mumbling, about people who gripe about owners who do not pick up dog poop, “What about picking up your own ________?” 

Tim Hortons: Thoughts about social responsibility cross my mind.

Today’s findings: plastic, five Tim Hortons cups with plastic lids, 25 pieces of foam insulation, a cardboard box, many random pieces of plastic (too many to break down), at least 20 bags for candies and treats such as jelly bellies, 20 sandwich bags, two beer cans.

Decision to include a close-up.

Demitri's 'capture' and I ask myself if I am quickly becoming a 'bag lady'.

As I deposited today’s  ‘bag’, I noticed that yesterday’s remained at the bin.

February 29, 2012

Where are you, Marie Delorme? Thinking about a photograph!

Container Ports #10, Delta Port, Vancouver, British Columbia Photographer: Edward Burtynsky

As I continue to look back upon the Glenbow exhibit, Encounters,  I am very much intrigued by the people who were guest curators and their approach to selecting a single photograph by Edward Burtynsky for the exhibit.  Marie Delorme is the CEO for the Imagination Group and is a mentor to many, it seems, in every aspect of her life.  I was moved by the narrative that was exhibited alongside her selection of Container Ports #110, Delta Port, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The gist of Marie’s narrative is that manufacturing and consumerism pulls humankind away from our connection with nature.  I can’t agree more.  I agree that there has to be some reconciliation happen between humanity’s need to consume…and its ability to protect the planet, all at the same time.  This can no longer be a matter of (P)olitics and/or polarized views…somehow we have to come more to a middle in our understanding of the issues.  Thank you for your selection, Marie Delorme and best wishes on your journey!

As you view the Burtynsky photograph,  there is a pathway.  Where does it lead?

Where are you, Jeff Melanson? Connecting with a photograph!

Carrara Marble Quarries #26, Carrara, Italy, 1993 Edward Burtynsky

Of the photographs exhibited in Encounters, Jeff Melanson chose Edward Burtynsky’s Carrara Marble Quarries #26, Carrara, Italy.  Burtynsky’s quarry explorations are compelling for many reasons, but especially for the mere scale of the excavations that he has observed.  We are reminded, where Carrara is concerned, that Michelangelo and other masters carved such sculptures as David out of Carrara marble.  This same marble continues to be excavated to this day.  After a very sensitive observation of the photograph, Melanson, president of the Banff Center, includes the following quote by Francois Voltaire (1694-1778).

“C’est a ce prix que vous mangez du surre on Europe.”

'C'est a ce prix que vous mangez du sucre en Europe', illustration from chapter 19 of 'Candide' by Francois Voltaire (1694-1778) engraved by Pierre Charles Baquoy (1759-1829) 1787.

 Here, Melanson reminds us that our ways of living DO come at a cost.