The following articles are part of an exhibition at the Knaut Rhuland House in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia put on by the Lunenburg Heritage Society from June to September 2006. For more information about The Heritage Society go to the Lunenburg Heritage Society. This information is protected by copyright, and cannot be used or reproduced in any way without the written approval of the Lunenburg Heritage Society.
The Victorian era covers the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. This was a period of great change across the world. Here in Canada moves were made towards federation and on Dominion Day, 1st July 1867, four provinces had confederated with five more joining by the end of Victoria's reign.
In Lunenburg the early part of the Victorian era was noted as a period of commercial depression. This was caused by the collapse of the town's marine insurance business, which had been financed by the town's businessmen. Added to this was the competition of Halifax as a "free-port" with larger and more numerous financial firms. Lunenburg was not granted free-port status until 1839. It was also a time of tough trading, with Halifax benefiting at the expense of Lunenburg.
However, by the 1860s things had improved and the town and its industries began to prosper due to the finances and expertise of its local businessmen, such as James D. Eisenhauer, Lewis Anderson and W. N. Zwicker of Zwicker & Co., which was Canada's oldest fish company. This exhibition does not attempt to tell the story of the rising prosperity associated with the fishing and shipbuilding industries, as they are covered expertly at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic here in Lunenburg.
The exhibition provides the visitor with a glimpse of life in Lunenburg as it grew in prosperity up to the end of Victoria's reign. Most of the photographs in the display were taken from the 1880s to 1901. We hope they will provide insight into the life of our town and its residents.
We have focussed on six aspects of life in Lunenburg in Victorian times: children at school, children at play, women's work in the home, changes in food preparation, businesses in town and recreation.