Henry Burton Sterling. PARO Accession 3218.
One of the treasures of the P.E.I. Public Archives and Records office is a collection of photographs attributed to Henry Burton Sterling. These images, most of which appear to have been taken by Sterling give us a glimpse of life in Charlottetown in the mid-1890s.
H.B. Sterling was the son of David Stirling, a well-established architect who worked both in Halifax and Charlottetown. Henry was born in 1871 and was brought up in Charlottetown. The family home was on Water Street, in a high Victorian house between Pownal and Union Streets in the west-end of the city. Henry was an electrician and worked for the P.E.I. Electric Light Company which had a generating plant at the north-east corner of Pownal and Water.
Although the collection includes photos of a number of areas, it is of the area along Water Street and the wharves of the city that are of the most interest because they show a part of the city not often pictured. This part of the city, unlike the area around Queen’s Square, with its public buildings, was rarely the subject of photos, and Sterling’s pictures provide a window on Charlottetown life on and around Water Street in the 1890s. In addition, Sterling was one of the few photographers, amateur or professional, that took outside photos in winter.
Click on any image for larger view.
Water Street in winter. The house on the left with the elaborate veranda was the home of H.B. Sterling and his mother. Although the building still stands its architectural features have been completely destroyed through a particularly un-sympathetic conversion to an apartment building
View of the deck of H.M.S. Canada showing the complexity of the rigging.
H.M.S. Canada was a steam corvette and was part of a large British fleet which visited Charlottetown in 1894.
Looking south-west along Water Street. All of the structures in this photo are still standing.
Military parade at the corner of Pownal and Water. The three story building to the right was Rankin House an hotel at the head of the Pownal Wharf. The third building from the right is Peake House, still standing as is the Peake Warehouse and Store at the corner with Queen. The parade may have been connected with the opening of the legislature as it is a winter scene.
Water Street at the corner with Pownal. This area features in a number of Sterling’s photos. He lived just west of the corner and worked at the PEI Electric Company plant, also located at this corner
Water Street from Connolly’s Wharf showing three of the area’s most prestigious buildings. L-R John Ings house, later the Navy League headquarters, Farringford, now the Haviland Club, and Dundas Terrace which was a three unit apartment building, now with almost four times that number of units.
H.M.S. Partridge was a gunboat which visited Charlottetown in 1894.
Steam Navigation Company Wharf at foot of Great George Street in winter. Steamer Jacques Cartier in foreground
John Ings House. This house had a commanding view of the harbour. It was situated on Dundas Esplanade, a street now gone which ran along the waterfront from Haviland Street to Sydney.
Douse’s Wharf property at the west end on Sydney Street looking towards Victoria Park. The building on the right still stands.