Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Tradition

Now it was time to send the lumbermen's prize to England but how were they going to do it? They refused in October of 1914, to place the 'stick' on the Royal Mail Steam Packet Radnorshire because a five-foot bend had to be put in it so it would fit. It took two years to find this piece then the master broadaxe men put so much work into shaping it. Why would they take the chance of it being damaged while travelling halfway around the world in a bent shape?

Almost a year later, in September of 1915, the stick was hauled through the city in a triumphal procession. (Except when the tree got to the corner of Hastings and Granville. There it was a bit difficult to get it around the corner.) They then loaded it on the RMSP Marionethshire, perfectly straight and secure.

The Marionethshire reached Gibraltar, via the Suez Canal, on Christmas Day. The Spaniards flocked to see the giant stick before it continued on the journey to England. New Year's Day, the ship arrived in London. Thames watermen were going to move the pole to Kew on two large barges but they vetoed that plan. The fear was that the 'stick' might have swung in the tide and be broken.

Instead, the large pole was dropped in the river to float. For four days, it was towed to Kew by tugs and passed under the 12 great bridges of London, where more crowds gathered to see it. It was moored at Sion Vista and landed on the Thames tow-path by the Clerk of the Woods of Kew and his staff then safely erected during 1916. 

The stick from Vancouver was the greatest flagstaff the world had ever seen made from one piece of lumber and probably the greatest the world will ever see.

The tradition set by Captain Stamp had been carried on by the men of Vancouver's timber trade. But that wasn't the first of Vancouver's 'giant toothpicks' as they were often called, were featured in other areas of the world.

Even when the first great staff flew the flag of Empire in the Empire's capital, there were already these great logs in the Imperial Palace at Peking. Those were Douglas fir 64 feet long and five feet square of almost perfect quality. No other lumber in the world could brag of such triumphs.

In 1959, one hundred years after Edward Stamp's first gift to Kew Garden, a second replacement was shipped to London to renew the giant flagpole at Kew. It stood erect at the garden until 2007 when it was dismantled due to woodpecker action and decay. It was not replaced.

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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