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About the Diaries

The Slade and Kelson diaries contain a day to day account of the business firms daily activities at Trinity as well as general information on the state of the fishery, shipping, weather and the comings and goings of the various vessels and people. The diaries were kept by William Kelson, the manger for the company at Trinity from 1809-1851. The diaries that make up this virtual exhibit cover the time period 1809-1852, the earlier years will be forthcoming, however were not included as part of this current exhibit due to their current fragile condition.

This virtual exhibit tells a compelling story that is centred on the theme of the mercantile history of the business firm of Slade and Kelson. It will take on the form of an interpretive virtual product whereby it will explore the companies business history and the role it played in establishing and maintaining settlement and the socio-economic classes in Trinity and elsewhere.

The digitization and transcription of the diaries is the main highlight of the virtual exhibit as through these diary entries you, the visitor, will be told and will be able to interpret for yourself, the distinctive class system that was set up in Trinity, like in most rural areas of Newfoundland, whereby the merchant set up the business, brought the required artisans and tradesmen and then fishermen/labourers came and settled to be close to services that were being provided.

You will learn how they along with the other large mercantile firm, operated by Benjamin Lester, controlled the fishery on the northeast coast of Newfoundland and how they were able to regulate everything from fish prices to the structure of society.

We hope that you enjoy your interpretive journey through the diaries of this one time prominent Poole-Newfoundland based fishing merchant and encourage you to contact us with any concerns or questions regarding the site.