Thursday, March 17, 2011

Putting 'a face' on Marion's Kids

Kids at Chapleau, boys playing cowboys and Indians. Some Black children who likely lived in the Royal Arthur Catchment area.

More children at Camp Chapleau, 1910 or 11, likely.

Marion did not write about the kids in her class, except to call them 'very bad children.' Very bad children who performed well, as Marion, their teacher, received a bonus at the end of the year in 1911. I assume these are English side children, as the Old Brewery Mission was an Anglo Institution. But I might be wrong.

I have used the 1911 Census to take 'a snapshot' of the children who likely attended Royal Arthur in 1910-1912, with respect to where their parents lived, what they did and what they earned. Not much... much less than the 1,500 a year supposedly needed to keep a family in dignity, unless dad was a bricklayer or some such other skilled labourer.

I recently found another Old Brewery Mission Fundraising Brochure, from around 1910, I guess. (I already posted images from the 1912 brochure on

This brochure has more pictures: "Camera-ing The Old Brewery Mission Fresh Air Camp.. Chapleau. 65 miles from Montreal. 1.400 feet higher than the City.

582 gallons of milk. 148 bushels potatoes. 429 pounds of butter. 2 tons bread. 1 ton beef.

700 women and children last year.

Open July 28 to September 5.

(Families stayed for two weeks each. Unlike the other brochure, this one does not stipulate NO BOYS OVER 8, but I see few older boys in the pictures.)

Going to get a 'beauty tan' says the brochure. But wait! Coco Chanel was supposed to have made the tan fashionable, but much later on. She was just starting her hat shop in Paris in 1910. So why did they write "beauty tan."

Lots of babies... and that was the problem.

Hat fashions of the poor.

"A typical family" says the brochure. Was there a dad at home, or was this camp for single families. I assume the first option. I put a frame around this picture. It is unlikely these people could afford cameras (5.00 for the cheapest and of course the cost of developing film)or photography studios.

The Nicholsons were not rich, but they sure took A LOT OF PHOTOS and formal ones, which I have posted here.

So says the brochure, with 3 pictures for this theme. This was the Age of Soap, Light and Water, the PURITY MOVEMENT. Washing these children was about more than hygiene, it was about washing away the sin of poverty.