Thursday, January 05, 2012

150 years ago all of Colwood was for rent

I was reading the British Colonist for January 6th 1862 and saw an ad on the front page offering the Colwood farm for rent.

The Colwood farm was a 600 to 620 acre property running from Esquimalt Harbour to Langford Lake.  It was created in 1851 by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the HBC.   The farm was managed by Captain Edward Langford who named if after his home in England, Colwood near Slaugham Sussex.

His appointment seems to have been a patronage appointment as he was a relative of Richard Blanshard.  His management skills were not good, even though he got a salary of 60 pounds a year and 1/3 of the farm profits, he could not make the farm pay.

He ended up out of money and in the courts in his last years in BC.  He came to Vancouver Island as a "Gentleman Farmer" but there is nothing to indicate he had any real means in England.   Other than managing the farm, he was also a magistrate, but a very poor one.  

The reason the farm was available is because Langford returned to England, leaving January 12th 1861.  The newspaper report was very flattering, but then Langford withdrew from the previous election and endorsed the editor, Amor de Cosmos.  It is worth the read, here is just one sentence from this over the top tribute:

 Although in the service of the Puget Sound Compnay, which is but another self of the Hudson Bay Company, he has never bowed to the feudal usages of the local lordlings.   

If you were interested in renting the farm, you needed to contact Dr Tolmie.


The names Colwood and Langford are examples of the dumb naming policy we live with from the colonial era.  Neither name has any organic attachment to the place and the individual the names come from is not some one that should be honoured in this region.

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