Tag Archives: Children

Do you know about Patrick’s Pot?

imagesCAF5JTEEArchival Moment

March 17 (Tradition)
One of the earliest and best accounts of daily life at the Labrador fishery can be found in Nicholas Smith’s book ‘Fifty-two Years at the Labrador Fishery’. In his book he makes reference to a  Newfoundland, St. Patrick’s Day tradition,  that is no more.

Smith writes:

“The ice was very heavy and in large sheets; consequently slow progress was made for the first few days, but on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, Captain William  …  called everybody at daylight to get out to their ‘Patrick’s Pot’ as we were among the seals, and plenty of them.”

In Newfoundland and Labrador a ‘Patrick’s Pot’  suggests a ‘windfall’ in terms of sealing jargon it referred to a seal herd spotted on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). When spotted especially on St. Patrick’s Day there would be much excitement.

St. Patrick’s Day would have been early in the  ‘sealing season’ and a good omen. The herd would represent a portion of the sealers salary for the year.

Patrick’s Pot or Paddy’s Pot had another meaning for children, when visiting relatives on St. Patrick’s Day silver coins were traditionally given to children, the coins given were referred to as Paddy’s Pot. In the Folk and Language Archive at Memorial University is found reference to this tradition in interviews that were conducted with informants.   One gentleman reported when giving a coin to a child the person typically said:  “and here’s a Paddy’s Pot for ye, me little colleens.’

Wishing you the very best on St. Patrick’s Day. May you find your pot?

Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives read the journal of Dr. William Waddell (MG 1006.1). The journal documents a typical sealing voyage including a description of the vessel and role of the crew.

Recommended Reading: Fifty-two Years at the Labrador Fishery (London: Arthur H. Stockwell, 1936.

Newfoundland and Cod Liver Oil

Archival Moment

September 20, 1943

Gerald S. Doyle was a major distributor of Cod Liver Oil in Newfoundland

During the final months and days of WWII governments throughout the world began to  realize that something would have to be done for the health of the children in war torn Europe.

The Pope’s delegate to Canada and Newfoundland  was aware that Newfoundland had a product with considerable medicinal value  that should be considered.

On 20 September 1943, church officials in Newfoundland were notified by the  Vatican that Rome:

“plans to secure a considerable quantity of cod-liver oil to be kept at its disposal so it can be distributed at the end of the war in those regions where the health conditions of poor children demand it.”

The letter went on the ask the local bishop in St. John’s   to

 “obtain information, if several thousand pounds of it  (cod liver oil) could be bought now  in Canada and Newfoundland.”

In Newfoundland, local businessman P.J. Lewis  was charged by Archbishop Roche of St. John’s with  finding the cod liver oil and looking at how it could be transported to the children in Europe.

Lewis had proven to be equal to the task that was assigned to him. He had managed to find six tons of cod liver oil that they were  “able to ship abroad that year, for the children of Europe.”

During World War II, the British Ministry of Food, concerned about the effect of a tightened food supply on health, provided free cod-liver oil for pregnant and breast-feeding women, children under five, and adults over forty.The British government, believing that the oil had produced the healthiest children England had ever seen, despite the bombings and the rationing, continued the program until 1971.

Cod Liver Oil is pressed from the fresh liver of the cod and purified. It is one of the best-known natural sources of vitamin D, and a rich source of vitamin A. It has been shown to prevent rickets. Because cod liver oil is more easily absorbed than other oils, it was originally  widely used as a nutrient and tonic.

Recommended Archival Collection:    Search the online database for descriptions of our archival records and to view thousands of digital photographs.  In the search bar type; Cod liver oil  –https://www.therooms.ca/collections-research/our-collections

Recommended Video:   Information Video from the British Ministry of Information WWII   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4PgMIPQb7U

Recommended Song: Great Big Sea on their album The Hard and the Easyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyocPX4k4y8