New West event connects local and global historical events

During the years that we have presented historical topics and programs, we have noted what the audience has found to be of interest and how specific that interest might be.

Many years ago, a particular type of presentation captured the imagination of the people attending as the approach was a bit different – it related historical events around the world simply by date.

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This meant that a comparison was made with a local event and something else that occurred on the same date or in the same time period but far away, perhaps on the other side of the world. This was fun, it showed comparisons in terms of development and creativity, and opened the door to considering what someone on our side of the world might have been able to hear of, read, or even visit (if the travel was possible).

Perhaps examples of this are in order. For a local British Columbia early date, let’s use the 1858 gold rush and its start on the Thompson and Fraser Rivers. At that time elsewhere around the world, we find the opening of Covent Garden in London, and Big Ben began to chime; Macy’s Department Store opened, theMason jar was invented, Schweppes Tonic Water had its beginnings, Oregon State University was opened, and a couple of favourite songs were The Old Grey Mare and The Yellow Rose of Texas.

A specific New Westminster event and year might be its first municipal election in 1860. Comparisons from elsewhere include the invention of the martini by a San Francisco bartender, the first British Open golf tournament held in Prestwick, Scotland, Abraham Lincoln becoming president of the United States, and an English inventor oxidizing linseed oil to produce a rubber-like floor covering with the name, Linoleum.

In 1871, B.C. became a province of the Dominion of Canada, while elsewhere in the world Chicago had its great fire, the Pillsbury company started, Verdi wrote Aida, Charles Darwin wrote “The Descent of Man”, Apache chief Cochise was captured, the first written poker rules were completed, and PT Barnum and JA Bailey held their first circus in Brooklyn under the billing of “The Greatest Show on Earth

If you are interested in a presentation on this type of historical information then come to the New Westminster Historical Society program on Wednesday, March 20, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Spruce Room of Century House, 620 - 8th St.

In this program, you will hear that this city’s Great Fire was in 1898 and in that same year Campbell’s soup appeared for the first time as did Pepsi Cola, Kellogg’s “corn flakes”, Shredded Wheat, Opel and Renault cars; H G Wells wrote “War of the Worlds”, Lewis Carroll died, and “Heroin” was a brand name for a cough suppressant.  

This interesting approach allows us to see what people living in New Westminster might have known about, found in a store or read about.


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