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Grieve and Bremner (firm)

  • Corporate body
  • c.1863-1887

The firm of Grieve and Bremner, a Scottish-based enterprise involved in the Newfoundland trade, was formed by Walter Grieve (1809-1887) and Alexander Warren Bremner (d.1886) circa 1863. Grieve had been a partner in Baine, Johnston & Company but withdrew in 1855 to form Walter Grieve and Company. He subsequently entered into the partnership with Bremner, and purchased the Slade property at Trinity. In 1869, Grieve and Bremner leased the Garland premises at Trinity from John Bingley Garland, giving the firm control of the chief mercantile properties in the town.

During the 1860s, Walter Grieve lived primarily in Greenock, Scotland, while Bremner managed the firm at Trinity. Robert Sweetland Bremner, Alexander's son, succeeded him at Trinity. The firm engaged in all aspects of the trade, although Baine, Johnston and Company or Walter Baine & Company may have handled the firm's imports and exports of goods and fish. These St. John's firms periodically sent one of their steamers to the seal hunt from Trinity, no doubt crewed with many of Grieve and Bremner's regular fishing clients. Sealing appears to have been an important aspect of the Grieve and Bremner business since the old Slade property was used primarily for landing seal pelts and producing seal oil.

Alexander Bremner died in 1886, followed by W. R. Grieve in 1887, bringing an end to the business. Bremner bequeathed his Catalina premises and property to his sons, Robert S. and Alexander Hugh. Robert also received œ10,000 as his father's share of the net profits from the Grieve and Bremner business. The monetary bequest probably helped Robert purchase from Grieve's trustees the Grieve and Bremner premises at Trinity, where he pursued the fish trade until becoming insolvent in 1900.

Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (St. John's, N.L.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1793-1998

On 5 June 1784, Newfoundland was made an independent ecclesiastical territory/mission with its establishment as a Prefecture Apostolic. The arrival of Rev. James Louis O'Donel, the newly appointed prefect of Newfoundland, in St. John's in that same year is generally recognized as the date of the founding of the parish currently known as Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. However, the name of this original St. John's-based parish is uncertain. Records comprising the fonds only make reference to the "Old Chapel" (on Henry Street) that acted as the first parish church and later cathedral when the Diocese of Newfoundland was erected on 4 June 1847. It also is unclear whether this original entity actually was established as an official parish in 1784 or as some other less formal unit (references exist to the District of St. John's). Certainly, by 1847, with the erection of Newfoundland as a Diocese, a formal parish existed in St. John's.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, constructed between 1841 and 1855 (consecrated on 9 September 1855), replaced the "Old Chapel," and in 1955 was raised to the rank of Minor Basilica, giving rise to the parish's current name, Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish (more popularly known as the Cathedral Parish and, later, the Basilica Parish).

The original parish boundaries stretched from La Manche to Holyrood and over time have undergone several changes. The most recent occurred in 1998 when St. Joseph's, located in the East End of St. John's, was suppressed and its congregation absorbed by the Basilica Parish. Currently, the parish boundaries include Pleasantville, Quidi Vidi, and the downtown core.

The Basilica Parish was active in the establishment and administration of schools within its boundaries, including Our Lady of Mercy, Presentation, St. Patrick's Hall, St. Bonaventure's, Holy Heart of Mary, and Brother Rice schools. The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Congregation (the Presentation Sisters), the Sisters of Mercy, and the Irish Christian Brothers also were closely affiliated with parish and educational affairs, supervising many of these parochial schools and participating in the general operations of the parish.

The Basilica Parish has also maintained close relations with numerous societies and organizations active within its geographical boundaries. Such past and present bodies include the Purgatorial Society, the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, the Catholic Cadet Corps (CCC), the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Third Order of St. Francis, the Total Abstinence and Benefit Society, the Propagation of the Faith Society, the Blessed Virgin Mary Society, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Women's League (CWL), and the Knights of Columbus (KOC). Thus, the operations of the parish are intimately intertwined with several allied lay societies and organizations (the above enumeration is not exhaustive).

Structurally, the parish is currently organized along lines similar to most Roman Catholic parishes, including a Parish Pastoral Council, a Finance Committee, and a Liturgy Committee. These bodies are comprised of clergy and members of the laity, established to administer pastoral concerns and affairs. Other bodies found in the parish include the Service Committee, the Restoration Committee, the Family Care Centre and the Hospitality Committee.

The oldest parish in Newfoundland, the Basilica Parish forms part of the Archdiocese of St. John's and is the seat of the Archbishop. Thus, the parish is somewhat unique in that parish and archdiocesan affairs often converge. While the Basilica Parish is administered by an appointed priest entrusted with the pastoral care of the community, the Archbishop, officially, is the chief pastor with his cathedra (or throne) located in the Basilica-Cathedral.

The following is a list of the prelates who have presided over the Basilica Parish: James L. O'Donel, prefect and later vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1784-1807); Patrick Lambert, vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1807-1816); Thomas Scallan, vicar Apostolic of Newfoundland (1816-1830); Michael A. Fleming, vicar Apostolic and later Bishop of Newfoundland (1830-1850); John T. Mullock, Bishop of Newfoundland and later St. John's (1850-1869); Thomas J. Power, Bishop of St. John's (1870-1893); Michael F. Howley, Bishop and later Archbishop of St. John's (1895-1914); Edward P. Roche, Archbishop of St. John's (1915-1950); Patrick J. Skinner, Archbishop of St. John's (1951-1979); Alphonsus L. Penney, Archbishop of St. John's (1979-1991); James H. MacDonald, Archbishop of St. John's (1991-2000); and Brendan O'Brien, Archbishop of St. John's (2000- ).

Monroe Export Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1909-1946

Monroe Export Company, Limited, a Newfoundland saltfish company, was established by Walter Stanley Monroe in 1909. The firm was based in St. John's, with a branch at Thoroughfare, Bonavista Bay.

Monroe (1871-1952), businessman and Newfoundland Prime Minister (1924-28) was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John and Elizabeth (Moule) Monroe. Monroe emigrated to Newfoundland in 1888 to work with his uncle, Moses Monroe, in his family enterprises which included Colonial Cordage, Newfoundland Boot and Shoe Company, and St. John's Electrical Company. After his uncle's death, he established an export firm, Bishop and Monroe Company, with Robert Bishop. The partnership was dissolved in 1909 and Monroe started Monroe Export Company, Limited, which he operated until he entered politices in the 1920s.

In the 1920s, Monroe left much of the management of the family business to his son, Arthur Monroe, who expanded into frozen fish processing. A new enterprise, Fishery Products Limited (FPL), family owned and family financed, was formally incorporated in 1941; its largest investor was Monroe Export Company. In 1946 FPL purchased the assets of Monroe Export Company, and assumed its saltfish oeprations.

Alan Goodridge & Sons

  • Corporate body
  • 1807-[196-]

Alan Goodridge & Sons was a Newfoundland mercantile firm, with its origins in the early nineteenth century. Henry Goodridge (1762-18-), resident of Paignton, Devon, established the Goodridge business at Renews, Newfoundland by 1807, but probably managed the enterprise from home, as was the custom for many West Country merchants in that era. In 1828, Alan Goodridge (1808-84), Henry's youngest son, arrived at Renews in his schooner, the Viola, remaining to administer the business, although he appears to have spent many winters in later years at Paignton. Goodridge was a typical outport merchant in that period, acting primarily as an intermediary between the local planters who supplied the fish, and the merchant houses of Water Street, St. John's, who imported goods and exported the produce.

In 1839, Goodridge had a 179 ton brig named the Gratia built at his shipyard in Renews and began using the vessel to export fish and import goods on his own account. For a while, he was in partnership with a John Goodridge, possibly his brother, under the banner of Alan Goodridge and Company. John ran the newly-opened Fermeuse branch of the firm but the arrangement terminated a few years later and John entered into another partnership at St. John's with Frederick Lash.

In the mid 1850s, Alan shifted the headquarters of the firm to St. John's. Two years later, Alan's youngest son, Henry Churchward, joined the firm, prompting a name change to Alan Goodridge & Son. In 1862, a second son, Augustus Frederick, joined the firm followed soon after by third son, John Richard. With the new additions, the principal changed the firm's name to Alan Goodridge & Sons. Alan retired from the business in 1878.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Alan Goodridge & Sons was one of the most successful firms in Newfoundland. The firm expanded, eventually opening branches in Placentia Bay, Trinity Bay, Green Bay, St. Mary's Bay and Labrador. These included branch operations at Bay Bulls, Witless Bay, Tors Cove, Ferryland, Calvert (Caplin Bay), Fermeuse, Renews, Nipper's Harbour and New Perlican. In 1901, the company purchased waterside property at Port de Grave, known as "Kenny's Property", from the estate of the late Peter Butler, likely with the intention of opening a branch there.

The Registry of Newfoundland Vessels reveals that the Goodridges were one of the largest vessel owners in that era, registering 197 vessels between 1834 and 1917. The firm was Newfoundland's second and third largest exporter of codfish in 1894 and 1895 respectively - 63,800 and 55,300 quintals. The firm's St. John's premises occupied an entire block, bounded on the east by Beck's Cove and Codner's Cove on the west. The high export figures for these years belie the firm's financial situation, however. The 10 December 1894 Bank Crash sounded the death knell for many Newfoundland firms that were indebted to the Union Bank and the Commercial Bank, including Alan Goodridge & Sons Limited, which became insolvent on 31 December. Augustus Goodridge was a central figure in the political crisis of 1894 leading up to the bank crash, having become Prime Minister earlier in the year but resigning on 12 December.

Despite the financial setback, the Goodridges quickly re-organized the business. Augustus returned to the firm in 1912, and his sons, Richard Frederick and Alfred John became partners in the incorporated company known as Alan Goodridge & Sons Limited.

In 1917, the company liquidated and re-emerged as Goodridge & Company Limited with son-in-law George Carter added as a partner. Goodridge & Company Limited liquidated again (1922) after Augustus' death and re-emerged as the Renews Trading Company Limited with Alfred J. Goodridge, William P. Goodridge (Alfred's brother), and Avalon T. Goodridge (a cousin) as partners. The Renews Trading Company became the Tors Cove Trading Co., Ltd. in 1926 and continued under that name, with Avalon Goodridge and two of his sons at the helm, until the 1960s when it was sold to other parties.

Alberto Wareham Limited

  • Corporate body
  • c.1903-[198-]

Alberto Wareham Limited was established at Spencer's Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland circa 1903. This small mercantile business later expanded into Harbour Buffett and became a major supplier of the inshore fishery in eastern Placentia Bay.

St. John's Athenaeum

  • Corporate body
  • 1861-1898

The St. John's Athenaeum (1861-1898), a non-denominational library and cultural centre, was established in 1861, three of St. John's literary organizations amalgamated to form the Athenaeum Library: the St. John's Library Society (established 1820), the Young Men's Literary and Scientific Institute (established before 1848) and the Mechanic's Institute (established before 1849). The new library opened on Water Street in March 1861, with a collection of 2500 volumes, 60 newspapers and a reading room open to both men and women. The library was also a cultural center, holding weekly lectures.

In 1875, the library relocated to a new building on Duckworth Street. The building held the library collection, a reading room, and an auditorium that seated one thousand. The ceiling was painted by Alexander Pindikowsky, the Polish artist who also painted the ceiling of the Colonial Building. The Athenaeum was lost in the great fire of 1892. An effort was quickly made to re-establish the collection and a new library was opened that winter with 1000 books. However, the smaller library lacked public support, and closed permanently in 1898. St. John's was without a public library until the Gosling Memorial Library opened in 1936.

S.O. Steele & Sons Ltd.

  • Corporate body
  • 1899-1989

S.O. Steele & Sons Ltd., a Newfoundland family business, was established by Samuel Owen Steele in 1899 at 100 Water Street, St. John's. Steele emigrated from England to Newfoundland in the 1880s, and established a furniture and dry goods business in St. John's.

In 1886, Steele married Sarah Harris, niece and adopted daughter of James Hunt Martin and his wife Hannah (Tucker) Martin, both proprietors in their own right. James Martin, an English immigrant who had arrived in Newfoundland in the first half of the nineteenth century, had established a hardware store on Water Street. Hannah Martin opened a china shop circa 1848. The china shop was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892, but Hannah rebuilt it in 1894. Their children having died young, James and Hannah adopted Sarah Harris. After Hannah died intestate in 1899, Sarah inherited the china shop, thus making way for S.O. Steele & Sons Ltd. Hannah had operated the shop as a part-time concern but S.O. Steele expanded it into a full-time business by developing a wholesale trade, importing china from Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Europe, and later, Japan. Local firms, Ayre and Knowling, provided competition in the first decade of the twentieth century.

S.O. Steele's two eldest children, Owen William and James Robert, joined the family business. When war broke out in 1914, both sons enlisted in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Owen Steele was killed at Beaumont Hamel, but James Robert survived, returning to resume his position in the family business. Sarah and S.O. Steele retired to Paignton, Devon, England in the early 1920s, passing the firm to sons, James Robert and Victor.

The firm survived the depression of the 1930s and, like many others, thrived during World War II, with increased business stemming from the establishment of military bases in Newfoundland and the great influx of foreign military personnel to St. John's. In the 1940s, James Harris Steele, the second son of James Robert, entered the business, to work along with his father and uncle.

By the late 1960s, however, large chain stores were supplanting outport merchants, S.O. Steele's chief wholesale customers. Despite the decline, S.O Steele & Sons Ltd. survived by developing a strong retail trade to complement the wholesale business. This shift prompted the firm to import more expensive china which was of less value to the outport market.

James Robert Steele died in 1970, and Victor retired in 1976, leaving James to operate the business alone. When James retired in 1989, Victor's widow and son decided to close the business.The building at 100 Water Street was purchased by Breakwater Books who have restored and refurbished the century- old property.

Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1924-1965

The Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association (NONIA) was formally established in 1924. The aims of the organization were two-fold: to provide medical and health care to families of outport (rural) communities, and to support the nurses financially through the production and sale of knitted goods and other crafts by women in the regions served.

The nursing component of NONIA commenced when the Outport Nursing Association (ONA) was formed in 1920 by a group of prominent St. John's residents including Lady Constance Maria Harris (wife of the governor) and Lady Helena Squires (wife of the prime minister). Encouraged and supported by government, the ONA recruited four trained nurses in England (with expertise in midwifery) on two-year contracts and assigned one each to the communities of Hodges Cove in Trinity Bay, Rose Blanche on the south coast, Joe Batts Arm on Fogo Island and Daniels Harbour on the Northern Peninsula. The nurse at Daniels Harbour, Myra Grimsley (later Bennett) provided medical care to inhabitants along 200 miles of coastline. Salaries of the ONA nurses were initially provided by a government grant, but the association (and the government) had hoped the program could become self-sufficient and that the regions served might raise half of the nurses' salaries. When it was discovered that most were unable to raise this amount through subscription, a new strategy was devised.

In 1922 Lady Allardyce (wife of the next governor) suggested introducing "knitting circles" to produce goods for sale as a fund raiser, a plan used in the Shetland and Orkney Islands to support the war effort. Volunteer committees were organized to produce sweaters and knitted items. Each family was expected to provide the services of a volunteer worker. Weaving was introduced in some places (e.g. Pools Cove in Fortune Bay) with the aid of the International Grenfell Association (IGA). By these efforts, the industrial component of NONIA was organized and a crafts industry encouraged among outport women.

NONIA recruited nurses, mostly British, who were well-trained in all aspects of medical care, including midwifery, and who were able to work independently of doctors and hospitals. The association supplied them with dressings and drugs and guaranteed them a salary of $900 per annum. Between 1920 and 1934, forty-five NONIA nurses were stationed in twenty-nine outports, treated over 83,000 patients and made 230,000 home visits. Many found the work in the isolated and remote places very arduous and left after one term. In 1935 the Newfoundland Commission of Government established a cottage hospital system to provide medical facilities, nursing services and midwifery training in rural areas. The NONIA nurses became the first nurses employed by the newly-formed system under the Department of Health.

By 1925 the crafts component of NONIA involved 615 workers in 35 communities. After 1935 NONIA continued as a non-profit craft manufacturing and retailing operation. Released from the responsibility of having to subsidize nurses' salaries, NONIA was now able to contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of outport women by paying them on a piecemeal basis for their work. The number of production centres increased and the quality of goods was improved. NONIA goods became well-known for their excellence. In 1956 the association moved into wholesaling. In 1958 a retail store was opened at a prime location on Water Street in St. John's which still operates. In 1965 NONIA merged with the Jubilee Guilds (another crafts organization) and assumed control of their commercial operations. The latter organization then became the Women's Institute.

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