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Photograph Collections

The Maritime History Archive actively collects photographs which document the maritime industries of Newfoundland and Labrador. Photographs of vessels, trading or fishing in and around Newfoundland, and activities relating to the fishery make up the majority of the archive's photograph holdings. These are complemented by images of communities, buildings, events and most importantly, people. There are currently over 300 photograph collections, consisting of more than 17,500 images, the majority of which are dated within the 20th century.

Search the Public Photo Catalog

The Captain Harry Stone Collection, donated to the MHA from 1994 onwards, is the largest photograph collection in the archive. It consists of over 4,100 identified images of ships and shipping in and around the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the 20th century. Captain Stone was appointed Harbour Master at St. John's in the early 1960s, and kept a photographic record of all the vessels entering the harbour. His collection also includes copies of historic photographs of aspects of the fishing industry, shipwrecks, sealing vessels, lighthouses, wharfs and stages, seafarers, fishermen and women and other topics relating to the maritime culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Below are samples of the archive's photographic holdings.

Captain Harry Stone Collection. Lighthouse at Lobster Cove Head. PF-055.2-H07

The lighthouse at Lobster Cove Head was built in 1897. The light was exhibited at an elevation of 115 feet, from a steel tower, which was connected to the white wooden keepers' dwelling. Lobster Cove lies at the entrance of Bonne Bay within the boundaries of Gros Morne National Park. The lighthouse now houses a display about the area's history.

Up until the closure of the groundfish fishery in 1992/93, every coastal community in Newfoundland and Labrador was involved in the production of fish. Until the development of modern methods of bulk freezing, the traditional fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador was the salt cod industry. The fish was split, salted and dried in the sun on "flakes", before being shipped to markets in South America, the West Indies and Europe. Women were an integral part of the labour force of the industry. Of particular interest in the photograph below are the bonnets worn by the two women shown "making the fish" . Although unique to the south coast of Newfoundland, they bear a strong resemblance to those worn in fishing communities in parts of France and the Channel Islands.




Captain Harry Stone Collection. [Gaultois], c. 1920. PF-55.2-I35. Photographer G.A. England. Original photograph, G.A. England Collection. Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador, A43-159




Wayne McPhail Collection. Fishermen washing fish, Grand Bank, Newfoundland PF-046.002

The town of Grand Bank on the Burin Peninsula was a major centre for the Bank fishery, prosecuted on the Grand Banks - the Continental Shelf which extends almost 200 miles from Newfoundland's southeast coast. The photograph above shows fishermen washing fish in pounds and hoisting it up onto the wharf of Grand Bank merchants Forward and Tibbo.

The French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon lie to the South of Newfoundland. During the prohibition era quantities of liquor was brought illegally from the Islands into the United States on the now-famous rum runners. In the photograph below men are putting the liquor into storage before loading it onto vessels for shipment.




Captain Harry Stone Collection. St. Pierre - storing liquor before loading on runners. c. 1930. PF-001-1.H005b



Captain Harry Stone Collection. Natalie [Nathaly] J. Nelson, Schooner wrecked at St. Pierre, October 5, 1923. PF-001-H76

The Natalie J. Nelson was a rum runner, owned and captained by Steven Fudge. She was built in 1903 in Essex, Maine and registered at St. John's, Newfoundland. She went aground on Black Rocks, Point Blanche, just south of St. Pierre, carrying 4,000 cases of whisky which were destined for delivery off the east coast of the USA.

Coal was brought to Newfoundland from the mines at North Sydney, Cape Breton, on board schooners. The vessel pictured below was owned by A. Wareham Ltd. of Spencer's Cove. Spencer's Cove was one of many thriving communities in Placentia Bay which was resettled under the Government program in the 1960s.




A. Wareham Ltd., Spencer's Cove Photographs. PF-013.015




Captain Harry Stone Collection. Duckworth Street, St. John's, Nfld. c. 1910 PF-055.2-H034

This photograph of a parade on Duckworth Street shows the Crosbie Hotel, built in 1894 and the LSPU (Longshoremens' Protective Union) Hall, built in 1906. St. John's was totally devastated by fire in 1892, which left most of the business section in ruins and over 12,000 people homeless. The business sector suffered severe financial loss, leading to the closing of the two major banks, two years later. The open area in the foreground is evidence of some of the remaining damage caused by the fire.




George M. Barr, photograph. Photographer, S.H. Parsons & Sons, St. John's. "A Slack day on the Premises of George M. Barr", PF-010

To the south of Duckworth Street, on the Water Front, the harbour is a forest of masts of trading vessels and fishing schooners. "A Slack Day on the Premises of George M. Barr" provides a brilliant image of St. John's harbour in the early part of this century.



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