A ‘rain cure’ was offered in 1912

Ed Nicholson looks back at election news, a 'rain cure' and school news in his March Chronicles From the Past column.

March 1912

Election News

Parker Williams defeated Ladysmith Mayor and Conservative candidate Dr. R.B Dier by 13 votes in a close battle for the riding of Newcastle in the B.C. provincial elections.

Dier, a local dental surgeon, had been strongly supported by a group of influential local businessmen, and the Ladysmith Chronicle had run front-page editorials supporting him as well. However, Williams, the incumbent MLA, was highly regarded in his electoral district. Williams had the backing of the mining community, and he presented a spirited and well-organized campaign to win the election. Only two of the 42 seats – Nanaimo and Newcastle -— went to the Socialist Party, with the rest of the province solidly in support of Premier McBride’s Conservative government.

In other political news of the day, the newly-incorporated City of Duncan voted Kenneth Duncan, son of pioneer settler William Duncan, into office as its first mayor.  William’s farm, Alderlea, was located near Duncan’s Crossing, where the road from Nanaimo to Victoria intersected with the E&N Railway. [Note: This month marks the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of our civic neighbor to the south. Congratulations, Duncan!]

The Rain Cure

In response to complaints from local women about the seemingly endless rainfall in March, the Chronicle pointed out a cosmetic side benefit of frequent precipitation. It is claimed that the beautiful complexion of Irish women is due solely to “the rain cure.” Directions: “Before leaving the house, put on a pair of stout shoes, a waterproof and a simple tweed hat with no veil so that the fresh, soft water reaches the skin. Then, on coming in, rub briskly with a soft towel, sit down in a warm but not heated room and rest all the facial muscles. You will be astonished at the result. Of course, damp clothing will have to be removed previous to this.”

March 1937

J.S. Taylor (who was elected in 1935 as one of the first Co-operative Commonwealth Federation MPs in Canada) was expelled from the B.C. wing of the party caucus in March. Taylor represented the Nanaimo federal riding for the CCF but had strong sympathy for the BC Social Constructive party led by Robert Connell. Taylor had already been sitting as an independent in Ottawa. [Note: Taylor did not run for re-election in 1940. The Social Constructivists also failed to elect any members in B.C.’s next provincial election.]

Highlights from a report on the Ladysmith High School:

• There were 16 typewriters and 50 typists in the Commerce Department in 1937.

• The Matron and all support staff for Ladysmith General Hospital were all graduates of LHS.

• All but one of the LHS staff were graduates of that school.

• There were 40 fee-paying students who were non-residents of Ladysmith District.

• The school tried out a new invention, the Gestetner duplicating machine.

March 1962

In the first week of March, Ladysmith experienced a snowfall of 22. 8 inches, which kept village maintenance crews busy cleaning the 22 miles of streets and alleys that existed at that time. Most roadways were quickly cleared, but the Symonds Street hill was blocked off for five days to give families an opportunity for some quality sleighing. Children had a wonderful time until, sadly, “nature’s snowplow” washed it all away the following week.

Ladysmith High School students competed against a team from Chemainus High in a Reach for the Top-style quiz contest on Mon., March 5 as part of School District 67’s celebration of Education Week. The LHS team of Brian Hunter, Allana Marshal, Louise Peramaki  and Stephen Wallace won the contest by a score of 424 to 225.

Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society