Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Evacuees, Brinckman and Superfluity

A project I occasionally come back to one way or another, and which often leads along curious paths, is researching child evacuees to Canada from the UK during WW2. The children who came with the government program, known by the acronym CORB, are well documented; those who came privately not so.

A list of unaccompanied child evacuees found at LAC lists not only child's names but in some cases the Canadian host, sponsor or other affiliation. In Ottawa they are: Ashbury College; Lady Brinckman, Rockcliffe; and Mrs. M. Dimsdale, Chateau Laurier.

I wondered who Lady Brinckman was. The Ottawa Citizen archive delivered with a 3 July 1941 article "Party in Aid of Two War Efforts"  which informed that "Mr and Mrs W M Southam will host the party with their daughters Lady Brinckman and Mrs Napoleon Brinckman. "

Getting the item printed in the Citizen must have been no problem. Wilson Mills Southam was publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, son of William Southam, founder of the Southam chain of newspapers.

Lady Brinckman was the former Jean Peter Southam who married Capt Sir Theodore Brinckman, Bart, on June 12, 1939. She returned to Ottawa and the parental home, along with her sister Margaret who had married a younger son, Roderick Napoleon Brinckman.

Aside from holding parties, and sponsoring evacuees they did other charitable work as mentioned in passing in a letter to the Citizen published in June 1943 in which Margaret enquires about a verse embroidered on an old sampler found in the " Shop" where she was working.


I asked an aged man, a man of cares,
Wrinkled and white with hoary hairs;
"Time is the warp of life," he said, "And tell,
The young, the fair, the gay, to weave it well!"

I asked the ancient, venerable dead,
Sages who wrote, and warriors who bled;
From the cold grave a hollow murmur flow'd,
"Time sowed the seed we reap in this abode!"

I asked a dying sinner, ere the stroke
Of ruthless death life's golden bowl had broke
I asked him "What is Time?" He replied
I have have lost it 'Ah, the treasure" and he died.

Of life had left his veins: "Time!" he replied;
"I've lost it! ah, the treasure!" and he died.

and concludes

I asked Old Father Time himself at last;
But in a moment he flew swiftly past–
His chariot was a cloud, the viewless wind
His noiseless steeds; which left no trace behind.

I asked a mighty angel, who shall stand
One foot on sea, and one on solid land;
"By Heaven," he cried, "I swear the mystery's o'er;
"Time was," he cried, "but Ti ...

The letter concludes that the verse breaks off leaving a dangling thread, and asks if anyone can send her the complete poem.

These days you don't need a father in the newspaper business to find the answer.

Googling the first line gives almost 200 hits, and attributes the verse to Marsden. Read it at

You may also be curious about the Superfluity Shop. It operated at 23 Nicholas St, but I leave it as "an exercise for the reader" who wants to find out more.

1 comment:

Stephanie Stone said...

The Ford Motor Company of Canada sponsored a number of children of English Ford Company employees to come to Windsor, Ontario, during World War 2. They were billeted in private homes. My father got to know a brother and sister, and the family connection continues to this day.

The Rotary Club of Windsor also sponsored children. One of them has written a story for a local newspaper, and it can be found at