Catalogue


The reminiscences of Doctor John Sebastian Helmcken [electronic resource] /
edited by Dorothy Blakey Smith ; with an introd. by W. Kaye Lamb.
imprint
[Vancouver] : University of British Columbia Press, in co-operation with the Provincial Archives of British Columbia, c1975.
description
xlii, 373 p., [6] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0774800380
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
[Vancouver] : University of British Columbia Press, in co-operation with the Provincial Archives of British Columbia, c1975.
isbn
0774800380
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Reminiscences now held in the Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
catalogue key
10523663
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Summaries
Main Description
Born and brought up in Whitechapel, John Sebastian Helmcken worked his way through apprenticeships as a chemist and a medical pupil before gaining admission to Guy#146;s Hospital to complete his training. The accounts he gives of working class family life and of the great economic and social disadvantages he had to confront in order to become a doctor make this volume of memoirs not only a valuable historical document, but also an autobiography with considerable human interest.
Long Description
Born and brought up in Whitechapel, John Sebastian Helmcken workedhis way through apprenticeships as a chemist and a medical pupil beforegaining admission to Guy's Hospital to complete his training. Theaccounts he gives of working class family life and of the greateconomic and social disadvantages he had to confront in order to becomea doctor make this volume of memoirs not only a valuable historicaldocument, but also an autobiography with considerable humaninterest. In 1850 Helmcken arrived in Fort Victoria -- at that timestill a fortified trading post -- to take up the position ofHudson's Bay Company doctor. British Columbia was then in the midstof rapid change: the fur trade was in decline, the gold rush was soonto begin, and the first phase of genuine settlement was just gettingunder way. In 1856 Helmcken entered what was to be a political life lasting 15years and served as Speaker in the first Legislative Assembly. Thissection of the Reminiscences is filled with vivid and often humorousdescriptions of the personalities and everyday life of Victoria andBritish Columbia from the 1850's to the 1870's. In 1870 Helmcken secured his place in the history of Canada andBritish Columbia by accepting the task, together with Sir Joseph Trutchand R.W.W. Carrall, of negotiating British Columbia's entry intoCanada. The Reminiscences, now held in the Provincial Archives of BritishColumbia, have a special significance for students of provincial andfederal Canadian history. Helmcken's is a unique account of the waysocial and economic conditions were actually felt and experienced inB.C. at the time of Confederation. Together with his personal diary ofthe Ottawa negotiations, edited by Willard E. Ireland and includedhere, the memoirs are the most complete and intimate record availableof how Canada secured a foothold on the Pacific.

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