The Antiquities Shoppe SoHo Landmark Threatened With Demolition

SoHo’s distinctive bright red frame building, longtime home to The Antiquties Shoppe, is threatened with demolition. The store, on the northwest corner of Wellington and Hill Streets (129 Wellington), has been a SoHo landmark for over 130 years.

photo Mair Hughes

Antique dealers Bennett Grossman and Dan McLachlan rented the shop in 1978, painting the building its eye-catching bright red color three years later. The unique frame structure is considered a Priority 1 building (that’s the highest category for architectural or historic merit) on the city’s heritage inventory list. The antique dealers, who are retiring to their country home in Woodham, have been holding a going-out-of-business sale for some months.

Editor’s Note:  The Antiquities Building was successfully saved!  It has been meticulously and beautifully restored and is presently home to offices for a few organizations.  This article has been retained for archival purposes. Continue reading

John Law: Bell Maker and Inventor

This archival photo shows John Law’s cottage at 121 Clarence Street as it was during his lifetime. His brass foundry, smelter and chimney can be seen on the right hand side of the photograph. Photo: UWO Archives.

For $132,900, someone with a passion for history can purchase one of the treasures of SoHo’s past. That treasure is the aluminum-sided cottage at 121 Clarence Street, the long-time home of John Law.

Law, a pioneer plumber, gas fitter, brass and bell founder and inventor, operated one of SoHo’s more interesting businesses. His final foundry was located right behind his home, at the end of Hill Street beside the river. That factory eventually became the Canadian Smelting and Refining Works – operating at least into the 1950s. Continue reading

Young Fisherman Survives Fall from SoHo’s L&PS Bridge

photo Glen Curnoe

On a summer’s day in 1919, Tommy Wilson of 231 Horton Street miraculously survived one very great adventure. That adventure was falling 50 feet off the London & Port Stanley (L&PS) railway bridge at Philip Street, and into the waters of the Thames below. What was miraculous is that Tommy missed several huge stones that dotted the river – and that a daring soldier managed to locate the little boy on the river bottom. All in all, Tommy had a day that he, the soldier and the L&PS train crew, would never forget. Continue reading

Soho Celebrates Black History Month

There is no London neighbourhood more tied to the city’s black community than Soho. It’s fitting to recall that part of our community’s history in February, which is officially designated as Black History Month.

Editor’s Note:  This article is originally published in 2010 and has been retained for archival purposes. Continue reading

Aberdeen Public School

Soda water, soda water
Ginger ale and pop
Aberdeen, Aberdeen
Always on the top!

In February 1883, a new, four-room school opened on Grey Street – although the front door of the school actually faced Hamilton Road. This school replaced an earlier public school on Colborne Street. Continue reading

SoHo Fire Lights Up Downtown London

At 2 a.m. on May 25, 1905, one of London’s most spectacular fires lit up the skies of downtown London. That fire was at Dyment-Baker Lumber, on the northeast corner of Bathurst and Wellington Streets. Before the fire was contained, some 10 hours later, it also damaged much of the London Machine Tool Company; lumber at the nearby Tambling and Jones yard, and six Michigan Central Railroad freight cars. Three of those cars were filled with agricultural implements valued at several thousand dollars. Sadly, sparks from the fire also destroyed a frame house at 318 York Street. Neighbors did manage to rescue the contents before the home was completely gutted by the fire. Continue reading