|Burwick House in Winter|
|Dining At Burwick|
|Hearth and Home |
Burwick House Kitchen
In the laundry room of Burwick House
|The Young Master's Bedroom|
|Lace Making Bobbins|
|View Of Burwick|
From the kitchen of the Stong House
Original location: Pine St., Woodbridge, Ontario
This beautifully proportioned home was constructed by
Rowland Burr in Woodbridge, a community then known
as Burwick. the house is an extremely fine example of rural Georgian
architecture with an imposing facade. This two-storey building
had a kitchen wing at the rear with an adjoining coach house.
The building was constructed with mortise and tenon framing
covered with clapboard, the interiors were finished with lath and plaster.
On August 13, 1958, the front portion of Burwick House was
moved to Black Creek Pioneer Village more or less intact. The kitchen wing
was then reconstructed as authentically as possible.
The barn was acquired separately and restored to original.
In England how truly pitiable is the position of the poor gentleman, more especially if he be a married man. That he should be obliged to live in a very humble way, and to look twice at every sixpence before spending it, is nothing. It is the indignity to which his poverty subjects him, the constant dread of being thought mean, that makes his life a burden to him. Genteel poverty is very thin-skinned; those little impertinences which Dives would pass over with a quiet chuckle, make Impecuniosus wince and redden with shame and anger. The polite indifference of the tradesmen with whom he deals, the contemptuous smile of the waiter, as he pockets the proffered fourpence or sixpence, the vacant stare of understrappers and hirelings, whose civility is dependent on the amount of the “tip,” all wound him to the very quick.
There are many vulnerable points in the Englishman’s harness, but what he most dreads is to be thought poor. Poverty is a misfortune in every land; in England it is worse than a misfortune, it is a disgrace. By emigrating, Benedict has escaped all the horrors of genteel poverty. In England his was, at the best, a from hand to mouth existence. If he could make both ends meet, it was all—nothing was laid by for the children. Quarter-day came round, and the little accounts came with it. Hardly was the money drawn ere it was expended. Butcher, baker, grocer, all presented their bills with a punctuality truly aggravating. Every ring at the bell was the death knell of another crisp banknote or bright sovereign. It was the tax-collector, or the man about the gas, or the gentleman for the church-rate.
Now all is changed. Quarter-day has no terrors. Everything being purchased for cash, there are no little bills coming in. The taxes are so insignificant, that they are unworthy a thought; and Benedict, instead of bringing home his quarterly dividends in his pocket, and storing them away in his desk until wanted, as in the olden time, now keeps his banker’s account, and fills up his cheques like a nabob.
Above all, his life is no longer an aimless one ; he is providing for his children. Let him work never so hard, his labours are light to what they were in England; for the hardest of all hard work is that performed by the poor gentleman when killing time. Idleness may be delightful to the enervated Italian, and to the dreamy Moslem; it is not suited to the temperament of the Anglo-Saxon. To him labour that is voluntary labour is not a curse, but a blessing. Wonder if Benedict views matters in the same light that we do; if he and Mrs. B. are glad they emigrated; if they are happy and contented with their lot! Well, we shall know more about it to-morrow.
In the early days, china, porcelain and glassware being very expensive, as all articles of that character had to be imported from the Old Country, pewter and crockeryware were quite common among the people. Occasionally there might be seen a few pieces of china, as, for instance, a sugar bowl, cream pitcher, or teapot, ornamenting the mantel, which were kept as cherished heirlooms in the family, and perhaps were owned by some great-grandmother who lived in the colonial times of New England, or belonged to some remote ancestor in the Old Country, who lived 150 or 200 years before.
A woman’s hand, and that a cunning one, is everywhere visible—in the graceful folds of the window-curtains, in the simple, yet artistic arrangement of the furniture, in the laying out of the table and sideboard. We are in a Canadian farmhouse; but for any difference we can see in the dining-room and its appointments, we might be in an English villa. Snowy damask table-linen, well-cleaned plate, glass, china, everything, to the moderateur lamp and the Christmas holly and ivy, or their Canadian substitutes, are there before us.
The fare is excellent, and mostly home raised. Mrs. B. it was who spiced the round, and, what is more, cooked it. The ham before us is of her own curing, and every other edible on the table of her own preparing, except the pickles. Crosse and Blackwell’s pickles are so cheap, she confidentially tells us, that home-made pickles are hardly an economy, unless indeed it be red cabbage. The spiced round, and the ham, and the pickles, and .the well-flavoured cheese, and the home-made bread, are washed down with very fair table-beer, and, supper over, our hostess retires, having first put us on our parole not to smoke more than two pipes, nor drink more than one glass of toddy.
We repair to Benedict’s den, a cosy little room at the back of the house, where guns, fishing-rods, gaffs, and landing-nets are suspended against the walls, where there is a table strewed with churchwardens, cutties, and venerable meerschaums, and where there are two very comfortable arm-chairs and a roaring fire. We drink the stipulated tumbler of punch, smoke our calumets of good fellowship, and then to bed.
We now come to the second point for consideration—the long, dreary Canadian winter. Long it is, no doubt, and towards the commencement, and close more especially, there are weeks of raw, cutting, disagreeable weather. But is it so very terrible after all ? Is it, may we ask, half as detestable as an English one with its eternal round of damp and fog and drizzle ? Has it not attractions which almost counterbalance its defects? Does not one fine Canadian winter’s day go far to make one forget a week’s bad weather? Does the snow make the landscape look cold and cheerless? It puts the roads in such capital condition that it is a pleasure to drive along them. Is it the ice that troubles you? Only think what the Australian squatter would give for a lump to cool the tepid water that he is forced to drink. Is the cold severe? It heightens the attractions of the blazing wood fire, engenders a ravenous appetite, makes one appreciate home in a way that one would never do were one the denizen of a more genial clime. That the climate of Upper Canada is very far from being perfection, we admit; we have yet to find the one that is paradisiacal.[sic]