Stories from Chronicles past

Looking back on June in Ladysmith

June 1911

An announcement on the front page of the Saturday, June 13 Chronicle stated that McKenzie and Mann were purchasing the entire holdings of the Western Fuel Company for $400,000. Western Fuel had recently come in possession of 1,000 acres of virgin coal properties in Nanaimo District. The new acquisition was expected to double coal output from 2,000 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes per day.

James Strang, Thomas Strang, William Reid, R. Wilson, David Irvine, A. McLachlan, Wm. Bauld and P. Mckenzie — all of Ladysmith — passed the Provincial Examination for Proficiency in Coal Mining which qualifies them to become coal mine officials.

Strawberry plants were offered on sale from L.F. Solly’s farm at 500 plants for $4.50. The first strawberries of the season  arrived at EH Jones’ store from the local farm of David Johnson.

Walter Carter installed a new electric fan so that his customers could further enjoy their visits to his ice cream parlour for fresh strawberry sundaes.

Simon Leiser & Co. offered a new line of ladies American shoes in the very latest styles and lasts. “Gun metal, button shoes, cloth top, patent bottom, short vamp, cosy fitting, $3.95 a pair.” [Unfortunately, no illustration was provided for the bewildered male shopper.]

June 1936

The Ladysmith Board of School Trustees decided to create a graduating class ceremony at the high school. Eleven students would complete their four years of academic studies that year and 10 would complete the Commercial Program. Diplomas will be presented and parents, staff and the Board of Trustees were in attendance.

The Provincial Director of Home Economics, Miss Jesse MacLennan gave a report to the Board on the costs of adding a Home Economics course to the existing high school curriculum. She indicated that the cost to the taxpayer would be low and the program was needed. However, one trustee in particular was not convinced.

“Our last experiment in home economics about 14 years ago was not satisfactory.” remarked Trustee J. Rodger. “We don’t want to be committed to a policy of economies that teaches how to fry a herring in a half pound of butter – not in these times.”

A report in the Chronicle described the opening of a number of plants in Great Britain that would be using coal to make gasoline. The achievement of making gasoline from coal is hailed as one of national importance, as it would go far toward solving the problems of the slumping coal industry, while at the same time guaranteeing the security of the national gasoline supply.

June 1961

A disagreement over a $100 fee seriously threatened the Ladysmith July 1 celebration. The Recreation Commission had insisted on the fee, as they mistakenly believed a gymkhana was to be held on the Agricultural Grounds. The July 1st Committee threatened to cancel all activities planned for Saturday if they were charged the fee. Ladysmith Chronicle publisher John McNaughton ran a scathing editorial on the front page of the June 1st issue calling the difference of opinion a “community disgrace”. He told the principals of both groups that they “must try to hold their tempers when they hear distorted reports from street corner critics who know all the answers before they know all the facts, and reserve their decisions until they’ve had a chance to meet across a table and talk the question out.” The July 1 Committee later decided to proceed after an 8- 5 vote.

School District 67 decided that starting in September, no girl students or women staff would be allowed to wear slender spike heels to school because of damage to the linoleum. Trustee Chamberlin reported that he had read somewhere that “one of those heels puts 1600 pounds of pressure per square inch on a floor.” The School Board also decided to leave the present dress requirements for local schools unchanged after receiving a request from Chemainus parent Noel Armstrong to require uniforms for girls attending high school.

Weather for the month of June, 1961 ranged from a high of 84 on June 1 to low of 42 on June 13! Total precipitation for the month was a mere .19 inches, as only four days in June recorded any rain.