Vintage landscape: Grimsby, Ontario

Maj. Buller's tent, Grimsby camp, Hamilton Public LibraryMajor E. M. Bullers’s tent in the Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade encampment at Grimsby, Ontario, between 1862 and 1864. Photo taken by a member of the Ridley* family and used here courtesy of Local History & Archives, Hamilton Public Library (both photos).

Prince Consort’s Own” was a previous name of the British Army infantry regiment that is currently called “The Rifles.”  Their history during the Napoleonic Wars was popularized in Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe” novels.

A battalion of the Brigade was sent to the Grimsby/Hamilton† area during a British military buildup in Canada in response to the Trent Affair of 1861.  They arrived there in February 1862, just after the crisis had been resolved diplomatically — evidently clearing time for landscaping.

Grimsby camp, Hamilton Public LibraryAbove is another photo of the encampment, showing the tent of its Lieutenant, Lord Edward Cavendish.

The Library’s notes say that Hamilton had landed the most socially desirable regiment in Canada — after the Grenadier Guards, a prize won by Montreal.


*The photos are from the Mills Family Album.

†Grimsby is about 18 miles from Hamilton.

4 thoughts on “Vintage landscape: Grimsby, Ontario

  1. Too wonderful! Don’t know which I like more: tents or fencing. I’ve read a few Sharpe novels and watched the whole series but life in The Rifles was a lot rougher in those years. Cavendish is the family name of the Dukes of Devonshire/Chatsworth etc. so I wonder if he’s one of them.

    1. The style is rustic, but the work and the upkeep is meticulous. However, a few other Hamilton photos show that while the enlisted men got nice tents, but they had no pretty little fences and lawns.

      I started reading the Sharpe novels in Morocco in the mid ’90s, before Amazon, so I had to write off (on paper) to order them. It was very exciting when we made a trip to Gibraltar, and I could go in British bookstores and get a couple of installments.

      Cavendish was the 3rd. son of the 7th. Duke of Devonshire. His son became the 9th. Duke.

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