I received a very interesting donation several weeks ago and I’m happy to be able to share it here! The digital donation is a combination of the work of a father and son both passionate about the history of Lambton County.
The father-son duo is George and Derek Smith. George L. Smith was responsible for much of the material that now makes up the Lambton Room’s collection. He was an avid collector and wrote many books and booklets on Lambton history including the popular “A History of Sarnia in Pictures” as well as lesser known pieces like “A History of A.B.C. Books of Lambton County.” Both his writing and his collection of newspaper clippings, photographs and history books form some of the cornerstones of our archival collection. For more on Smith’s contributions to the Lambton Room, see an earlier blog, Where Did Our Collection Come From?
In addition to collecting and writing, Smith did some work with film, including a video of a wartime parade in Sarnia in 1941 and a video from a home show in the Sarnia Arena in the 1950s. Both sets of film are degrading in composition and quality as the decades have gone by. Fortunately, George Smith’s son Derek has inherited his father’s appreciate for Lambton County history, and also has a knack for video editing. Derek has taken the time to digitize his father’s film, tinker with the film quality and produce two excellent digital copies of the old film.
The wartime parade marched down Confederation Street in 1941, and we believe that George Smith stood at the intersection of Confederation Street and Mitton Line while filming. The video features young soldiers as well as aged veterans. Most of the video is in black and white but it does feature an amazing colour sequence with a series of floats that have slogans like “K.O. Hitler,” “More Machine Guns,” “Make Your Savings Fight For You” and “Canada Needs More Planes.” The video was uploaded to YouTube and split into two sections, so make sure that you visit the links for both sections: Sarnia Wartime Parade 1941, Part 1 and Sarnia Wartime Parade 1941, Part 2.
The home show was filmed sometime in the 1950s. It reveals a huge crowd that turned out to the Sarnia Arena for a display of modern appliances and home accessories. Local companies can be seen touting their merchandise. Interesting, the video transitions into what looks like a talent competition sponsored by local radio station CHOK! I went through our Sarnia Observer indexes and our files for information about the home show but did not find anything to provide us with more details. If you know anything about this home show, please post and let us know! The home show has also been posted on YouTube and can be viewed at Sarnia Home Show, 1950s.
I hope that you enjoy these moving pictures from the past!