Tag Archives: Springdale Street

The first Salvation Army kettle in Newfoundland


Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives: A 51-65. Salvation Army Christmas 1906 in front of No. 1 Citadel on New Gower Street,St. John’s, the first occasion of Salvation Army using collecting kettles at St. John’s.

One of the enduring symbols of Christmas is the Salvation Army kettle. Salvationists and friends stand at strategic shopping locations inviting the public to drop a few coins in their “kettles” with the monies realized going to the poor.

The kettle first appeared on the streets of San Francisco, California, USA in 1891 brainchild of Captain Joseph McFee, the kettles were used in a campaign to raise funds for a shelter in the waterfront district.

He remembered, during his earlier days in Liverpool, England, seeing a large kettle where passengers of boats that docked nearby were able to toss coins to help the poor.

Captain McFee suspended a large cooking pot from a tripod and placed a sign above it that read: Keep the pot boiling.” Shortly thereafter, Christmas kettles began appearing in communities across the United States and are now an indispensable part of the holiday season.

In Newfoundland the Salvation Army has been firmly established since the first meeting of the Army on September 3, 1885 at the Methodist Church in Portugal Cove.

In late January of 1886 a group of four female officers arrived in St. John’s, soon followed by a District Officer, Arthur Young. This initial group of Salvationists established the first corps in Newfoundland on Springdale Street in St. John’s. They held outdoor meetings at the Parade Ground, and marched with their followers through the streets making as much noise as possible. Within two months, the Salvation Army in St. John’s had 200 soldiers.

It was the Christmas of 1906 that the first kettle was introduced into Newfoundland. The kettle was suspended on a tripod in front of No. 1 Citadel on New Gower Street, St. John’s.

In Canada the Salvation Army collects approximately $15 -20 million in the nearly 2,000 kettles on street corners and at retail outlets. In Newfoundland the kettles raises approximately $200,000.

Recommended Archival Collection: At The Rooms Provincial Archives there is a small collection of photographs documenting the presence of the army in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Skittle Alley for Sale

Archival Moment

March 20, 1888

Farmers playing at skittles

Farmers playing at skittles

There was a time in the history of Newfoundland when one of the favorite recreational activities enjoyed by both men and women was the game of ‘skittles’.

St. John’s and other towns throughout the colony (later the province) could boast of Skittle Alleys where teams would gather to play their game.

On March 20, 1888 residents of St John’s discovered that the “Skittle Alley”, situated on Springdale Street was going on the auction block.  The owner of the property, James McKay, had died the year previous and the executors of his estate wanted to sell:

  “All the right, title and interest in and to all that Piece and Parcel of land with the building thereon, situate on Springdale Street, and formerly used as a skittle alley, having a frontage of 94 feet on Springdale Street and a like frontage on Thomas Street, and from front to rear 26 feet.”

The auction may have been necessitated by competition  from the opening of the new  indoor bowling alley just two years earlier in 1885, on the east end of Duckworth Street.

Skittles was played for centuries in public houses or clubs, mostly in western England and the Midlands, southern Wales, and southeastern Scotland. The rules and methods of scoring varied from place to place, but the basic principle of bowling a wooden or rubber ball (weighing about 10 pounds [4.5 kilograms]) at nine large oval-headed pins, set in diamond formation 21 feet (about 6.5 metres) away, remained the same. The player who knocked down all the pins in the fewest throws was the winner.

Does St. John’s need a new ‘Skittle Alley”?

Recommended Reading: The History of Skittles. http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Skittles.htm