Tag Archives: Indian Head

Sunbeam Farm

My journey with Annie sadly left the ‘Sunbeam’ in Australia, with Annie’s ‘Last Voyage’. However, it is not the end of my story with the Brasseys, or with Annie. I pick up again with Annie in Toronto in a couple of weeks time and join her on ‘A Cruise on the Eothen’ through to Nova Scotia before venturing into America.

The ‘Sunbeam’ alas is also in Canada, having lent it’s name to the farm built for Annie’s husband, Lord Thomas Brassey, a few years after Annie’s death. Lord Brassey was involved in various philanthropic ventures, not least in helping to colonise the prairies at the end of the nineteenth century. Settlers had arrived in Saskatchewan and an advert was placed encouraging people to join them. Brassey set up the ‘Canadian Co-operative Colonisation Company’ inviting families to Indian Head where they would have a home and a piece of land, training in farming techniques and support to make a go of it in the new country.

“An advertisement appeared in England early in 1887 encouraging potential emigrants to settle in Qu’Appelle. One of the large farms included in the advertisement was the Brassey Estate. Readers were told ‘Professor H. Tanner, Government Examiner in AGriculture in the Dept. of Science, South Kensington, London, is now engaged in establishing a settlement…Special care will be taken to secure immigrants of exceptionable character and with a practical knowledge of farm life and its requirements…'” (from Qu’Appelle: Footprints to Progress)

“The sudden decision of the authorities in 1881 to run the CPR [Canadian Pacific Railway] along the Qu’Appelle Valley directed the first movement of immigrants to the southern prairies. During 1882 this particular district was one of the great lodestones of that movement. Literally all trails led to the Qu’Appelle” (p27 Echoes of the Qu’Appelle Lakes District, T. Petty)

This should have been a successful venture. Unfortunately with harsh climate and poor management the farm did not succeed. The colonisation did, however, and remains a community today, albeit different from the one envisaged by Lord Brassey 127 years ago.

Sunbeam Farm, Indian Head (Louise Kenward, 2014)

Sunbeam Farm, Indian Head (Louise Kenward, 2014)

Hastings Museum and Art Gallery

After an unpromising start to summer, the British obsession with the weather is coming into its own with a beautiful couple of weeks passing.  Despite this, the sunshine was shunned yesterday for a productive afternoon at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.  Time was spent instead pouring over volumes of press cuttings and box files of letters, so carefully held, despite the incomplete and out of sequence clippings.  The history of these are almost as interesting as what they hold, acquired by the Museum in 1985 they have lived a mysterious life of their own throughout much of the twentieth century.

Rich finds included photographs of the farm at Indian Head, Canada, and a paper by Lou Taylor placing Annie’s daughter Constance very much at the forefront of the naming of the ‘Sunbeam’ yacht.  Both of these I shall return to another time, but of particular interest are the newspaper clippings pertaining to the sad loss of Lady Annie Brassey during the Last Voyage.

Letter of condolence to Lord Brassey:

“…To her noble generosity and kindly, ready influence and sympathy for religion, philanthropy, and social life we owe a vast debt of gratitude.  May you all receive strength and consolation from the Infinite Treasury of Divine Love.”

“Visitors from places so remote as Honolulu and New Guinea signed this document.  The sheets when collected were handsomely bound in mauve morocco and gold…recently presented to Lord Brassey”

[Lord Brassey wrote as follows] “I am deeply touched by the expression of sympathy which you have so kindly sent me in the form of an address illuminated with much taste.  I thank from my heart the sixteen hundred friends and sympathisers who have signed the address.”                                                (printed in Hastings News June 8th 1888)


In The Sussex Daily News dated May 7th 1888, it details a letter received from Lord Brassey sent to the Hastings Town Council:

“I desire to express to the corporation of the Borough of Hastings my heartfelt thanks for the assurance of sympathy I received from them on the painful occasion of the death of my dear wife.  she loved Hastings and it was a great aim of her life to do what she could to promote the welfare and happiness of its inhabitants.”