From Chronicles Past

Skin colour discussed in 1911 paper

August 1911

A letter from a resident of Somenos was received requesting support for their proposal to change the Naturalization Act so that “citizens of a foreign country would not have the right to purchase or obtain title to any land in British Columbia unless they voluntarily became British subjects.” Other requirements would include reasonable proficiency in the English language and a certificate of good character from a Minister of the Gospel.

In an earlier edition of the Chronicle, a new theory to explain the differences in human skin colour was advanced by a learned German professor, Dr. A. Bergfield, who believed that the differences were largely due to diet. Bergfield stated that the original man must have been black, as his principal diet would have been vegetarian. “Fruits and vegetables” he pointed out, “contain manganates [sic] that ally themselves with iron, producing a dark brown combination.” Indians, on the other hand, were red because they had absorbed for generations hemoglobin, the red substance in the blood of animals killed for food. In like manner, Mongols are yellow, having descended from dark fruit eating races that entered Asia, became shepherds and lived to a large extent on milk, which contained chlorine and had a bleaching effect.

“Finally, we have the Caucasians, who became still whiter by adding salt to their diet. Common salt is a strong chloride and a powerful bleaching agent to the skin.”

August 1936

The paper reported that there were 282 men on relief during July in the Ladysmith area. This has been relatively unchanged since early in the year.

Mayor Walkem received a postcard from his wife who was travelling in Eastern Canada. The card was postmarked “Ladysmith, Quebec.” This apparently completes the chain of post cards from all the ‘Ladysmiths’ in the world.

Britannia Mining & Smelting Company acquired 75 per cent of the stock in the Tyee Consolidated Mining Company and started proceedings to re-open three mines in the Mt. Sicker area. The intention was to dewater the old Tyee workings and conduct a thorough underground examination of the three mines in the area: the Tyee, the Lenora and the Richard III.

Work began in August to demolish the old washery and coal bunkers in Ladysmith harbour. After 30 years of existence, this remnant of the town’s booming coal industry quickly vanished. The writer in the Chronicle wisely prophesied that “When the last trace of wood and iron has disappeared, the traces of the washery works will remain for centuries in the barren reach of fine slack and refuse known as the ‘Slack Beach.’ ”

August 1961

After weeks of extremely dry weather, the B.C. Forest Service clamped a total forest closure on the Island from Sayward to Victoria.

The government halted operations on August 10 after 35 days without measurable precipitation. (Note: The drought continued until August 30 when Ladysmith finally received  5 mm  of rain.)

Commissioner P.R. Battie warned the community that although water levels in Stocking Lake were holding up, the old dam at the headwaters of Holland Creek was “dangerously low and there was no water coming into it.” A total ban on all outside watering was being considered.

The B.C. Ferry System encouraged everyone to “follow the birds” to Victoria. The cost? $5.00 per car and $2.00 per passenger (children 5-11 $1.00) Crossing time: 100 minutes. [Crossing time today: 95 minutes]

— Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society

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