There is a definite chill in the air which signifies that Fall has arrived and it is time to get those winter woollies out! The Manor House and Fintry Provincial Park will be closing at Thanksgiving for the season and what a busy season we had. As we reflect back on those hot summer days we think of all the visitors from around the world who visited and toured the Manor House; some tours way over capacity as visitors were so eager to hear the Dun-Waters’ story. We hosted several bus tours from Seniors’ Residences on weekdays; these are always a delight as the seniors love to see the artefacts from their childhood. We were delighted to see the figures for this past season show an increase in revenue from tours and gift shop sales despite the fact that due to a lack of volunteers, we were only able to offer guided tours on weekends. (With an exception for special advanced tour bookings for seniors and school groups.)
September 15th saw our Fintry Fall Fair take place in front of the Manor House ….in the pouring rain! In many years of the Friends putting on Fairs, this was the first real soaker. However, our hardy group of volunteers stepped up as usual and braved the elements, as did several vendors…… and the show went on regardless. The Vikings, clad in body armour, were impervious to the weather, the Kalamalka Highlanders played on the verandah and Kilt 45 and others had everyone’s feet stomping as they entertained the umbrella covered crowd. We actually had 130 people tour the Manor House that day, probably because it was a welcome relief to come inside from the torrential downpour! For those of you who missed the Fairs this year, we will be holding these events again next year (plus a few more exciting additions) with the first being held on Mother’s Day 2020.
With assistance from a Central Okanagan Foundation grant, we have now hired Shannon Jorgenson as our Business Manager. Her role is to come up with some new and different Special Events that will put Fintry on the map, so watch for exciting new happenings at the Manor House next year. Shannon is well known in the heritage community and we are delighted to have her and her expertise onboard.
Our Curator, Dan Bruce has unearthed some interesting facts about an item in our collection, as follows:
The Red Room, or Dun-Waters’ study contains ample proof of his interest in Ayrshire cattle and his generous support of the Armstrong Fair, perhaps better known as the Interior Provincial Exhibition, ( I.P.E.) Here, amongst other things visitors can see an almost complete set of the Canadian Ayrshire Herd Books, a framed certificate of appreciation presented to him by the directors of the Fair, and the carefully mounted horns of “Lucky Girl”, one of the prized Ayrshires that called the octagonal dairy barn home.
The most outstanding of all the Ayrshire related items in the room is the “Hudson’s Bay Trophy”, a spectacular silver cup from the workshop of Omar Ramsden in London, made in 1924. Three pieces come together to form the complete trophy. Firstly, the base is a circular stand of oak, custom made to fit the foot of the second piece, the cup itself , which, if filled would hold almost a litre. (In this case perhaps Ayrshire milk would be less likely to spill than Laird of Fintry single malt). Four lion masks support curled branches, that in turn hold the body of the cup whereon are blazoned the arms of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Around the rim an inscription reads “Presented by the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay” The third part, the crowning glory, is the lid. A solid silver Ayrshire stands on a pedestal set with garnets which rises from a wavy-rayed sunburst on the lid’s surface. On lifting the lid, the sun imagery is re-stated as the gilt inner surface catches the light.
The cup bears Omar Ramsden’s hallmarks, and also the Latin inscription that he used after 1919, “Omar Ramsden me fecit”, Omar Ramsden made me.
Omar Ramsden was born in Yorkshire in 1873. His family were well established in the silversmiths’ world, and he followed suit. He spent some time working in the United States, but returned to England to set up a studio and workshop in London, where he created a wide range of silver objects until his death in 1939. After this, his wife, Annie, kept the business going for several years. In 1898, he won a competition to design a civic mace for the City of Sheffield. In 1921, he was elected a member of the Royal Miniaturists Society, who then exhibited over 90 of his pieces.
Today he is regarded as one of the masters of British silversmiths, his works being on exhibit in many museums in the UK and abroad.
Given the circumstances here, we may speculate that James Dun-Waters may have persuaded the HBC to sponsor this masterpiece to celebrate the Ayrshire cattle at the Armstrong Fair.
Still in the spirit of the season, I would like to thank all the hard working members of the Friends of Fintry as well as the numerous volunteers who made the three Fairs, held in May, July and September happen.
I am truly grateful to those of you who take time out of your already busy lives, to step up and take on whatever role needs filling…… rain or shine! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Kathy Drew, President
Friends of Fintry Provincial Park.