Ashore again, discovered the building with the steeple, built in 1902 and modified in 1994, was the store and warehouse of George A. Cox, a prominent merchant who built his own ships and traded extensively worldwide. The Dory Shop, built by John Williams in 1880, was one of seven booming businesses in Shelburne that produced thousands of dories for both Canadian and American fishing schooners during the years of the famous Grand Banks fishery (1880 - 1971).
In the middle of the last century, the way people fished changed. Initially, crews would fish the Banks from the decks of schooners, using baited hooks and hand-lines. Realising they could improve upon this method, crews started hanging lots of hooks off one long line along the seabed, where hungry cod and haddock loved to feed. This worked and trawl fishing was born.
Dory fishing came from the realisation that crews could haul in even more fish, if the men could spread out to cover a larger area. By stacking a number of flat bottomed dories onto the schooner and then carrying them out to the banks, crews were able to split up and maximise their efforts.
Master dory builder, Milford Buchanan showed us his work in progress. Mightily impressive. The mini dory is going to be a rocking one.
The restored Ross-Thomson House and Store is the only original remaining store in the town. Had a delightful tour by a young lady acquainting us with life of Shelburne merchants in the early days. She told us the origin of a number of sayings: to the bitter end, keeping you on your toes, sleep tight and one lump or two. Both beeswax candles and sugar were valuable items and kept locked up in a cashbox-like tubular safe. Everyone smoked clay pipes; men, women & children as the latest medical advice was: “it gave a protective coating to the lungs and prevented TB”.
Rain threatened, the wind got up and F is fighting a nasty cold, so retired to the boat. May well be here at the weekend!