Letter from George Hayhurst
Please note that this gallery is closed from 22 October 2014. The Empress of Ireland display will move to the Life at Sea gallery in 2015.
Shortly after the Empress of Ireland disaster Canadian Pacific hired a salvage company, who recovered more bodies from the wreck, as well as bags of mail and other valuables. One of the many letters recovered was from George Hayhurst. This letter is now in the Maritime Archives and Library's collection. Please note that it is not on display.
George was writing to his wife Ellen in Bolton, England. He had come to Canada to work, leaving behind his wife and three children in England. He was obviously having a tough time – he was out of work and refers to lots of other emigrants in a similar situation who had given up and returned to England;
"...you would be surprised at the numbers of young people coming to England , proper tradesman, such as carpenters, bricklayers and painters, there are thousands out of work here."
He was obviously missing his family a great deal;
"...dear Nell I am sure it is hard work three children and my heart fairly aches for you with a husband’s honest love and devotion..."
Two Canadian dollars were included with the letter, they are in remarkable condition.
One of the Canadian dollars
Accession number DX 2511