Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

In Other News

Thought I’d share some of the tidbits I found recently as I searched for the Lady Prospector. These have nothing to do with Caroline Maben Flower, but they do add background detail to the story of her time in Northern Ontario.

The Royals

Cobalt Daily Nugget April 28, 1911

Cobalt Daily Nugget April 28, 1911

During the spring of 1911, almost every page of the Cobalt Daily Nugget carried something related to the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. I skipped most of these. Not really interested [GASP!]

One article, however did catch my eye. Ryrie Brothers of Toronto made a birdseye maple casket as a gift for the royal couple. It was trimmed with silver from Cobalt and gold from the Porcupine.

Did I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for a picture of the box?

You betcha!

Did I toy with the idea of delving into everything “Royals” on the off chance someone, somewhere has a catalog of every gift ever gifted to Buckingham Palace?

Only briefly. Still not interested. [DOUBLE GASP]

I may be dedicated to the search, but I’m not THAT dedicated.

The Dirt on the Skirt

harem pants

Mr. Stevens, theatre owner, on the right and his wife, actress Daisy Primrose parade along Silver Street at Prospect Ave. She – or rather her harem skirt – is the main attraction. Cobalt Daily Nugget March 29, 1911

Early in 1911, the harem skirt created a stir in the European fashion world. A rather large stir, if we are to judge by the Pope’s condemnation of the designer. Reaction ranged from shock to rioting to murder. Even the Cobalt papers reported on the folly.

Ever the showman, theatre owner Charles Stevens decided to exploit the fascination. He notified the papers, and then, at the appointed time,  he and the missus strode through the town, she wearing a pair of harem pants.

The sidewalks about the Square were lined with women and men anxious to see this garment that has caused so much discussion since its appearance a short time ago in Paris.

Later, Daisy modeled the outfit at hubby’s theatre. The buzz lasted three whole days, according another local historian, Charlie Angus. And then the next big deal took over.

By way of postscript, here’s a poem published July 12, 1911, by the ever-sardonic newspaper editor:

Mary had a harem skirt

Into it she did wiggle

But when she essayed hard to flirt

The boys would only giggle

A Word from Our Sponsor: Keatings Insect Powder [and another poem.]

By July 1911, the streetcar between Cobalt and Haileybury had been running for 18 months. Prior to the inaugural run, all of the news was about the construction of the road and the numerous delays.

After the fact, most of the news was related to rowdiness among the passengers – drunk and disorderly types who were fined or jailed for their transgressions. A friend of one of the arrested chaps decided to seek revenge by laying a log across the tracks. Thankfully, the trolley operator was able to stop the streetcar in time.

I cannot imagine that women or children would have felt comfortable travelling unescorted on the trolley line. The advertising team at Keating’s Insect Powder took advantage of the situation. Not only were people exposed to rude and potentially dangerous behaviour from other passengers, they had to worry about cooties!

ad Keating's Insect Powder

Ottawa Citizen, June 24, 1911. The Cobalt Daily Nugget ran the same ad in July 1911, but the digitized record is very poor.

*** *** ***

Update December 4, 2020. Thanks to Dan Antion for his tech support. I’ve managed to resize the Keating ad in the new block editor.

Categories: Mining Heritage

Tags: , , ,

29 replies

  1. I’m enjoying watching The Crown but, like you, most things royal make me want to yawn. Now, that harem skirt is of interest. It could disguise lots of the Covid weight I’ve managed to put on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve enjoyed watching The Crown, too. As with other “based on true events and characters” productions, the casting choices and the success (or not) of the portrayal is what draws me in.

      Regarding the need for pandemic-sized wardrobe – I’m with you. I’d be lost if not for stretchy leggings and tunics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Quite a number of years ago, my employer decided we needed a dress code committee. I was appointed to said committee. So was a manager. She decided ‘no funky feet.’ Everyone agreed. I questioned what exactly were ‘funky feet.’ Discussion ensued. Issue was dropped. Next up–Gaucho pants. One gal wore them and wore them well. They were better than the short skirts our younger employees wore. Gauchos were banned. Soon after, we were told we were not the ‘Fashion Police.’ I questioned the purpose of our committee. I didn’t stick around. Dumbest Committee Ever. It was soon disbanded. Can you imagine us with harem pants??!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh mate ! – the block editor .. No words.
    As for Pius X – or any of ’em, really – imagine how petty !
    Couldn’t see the ad at all. Great pity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hadn’t seen a muff in a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love reading about the way people lived in earlier times. Imagine a whole town in an uproar over one woman in a skirt.

    When you insert an Image block in the editor, if you hover the mouse around the edges, little colored handles will appear on the sides (perhaps the bottom and top as well). If you click on any one of those and drag it toward the center, the image will scale proportionately. You can also click on the justification menu on the toolbar and set the image to be centered (just as if it were text).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Daisy Primrose wore the Harem Skirt well. The garment itself isn’t particularly attractive, but certainly suitable for walking through all that slushy, filthy snow!

    I love the look on the guy’s face behind her as he’s staring at that Harem
    Skirt! Is it a look of admiration for having the courage to wear it in public? Or is he grinning from ear to ear because he thinks she looks like a fool?

    Whatever. We gals have taken over the pants world…..even if you want to call it a skirt! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right about taking over the pants world – I don’t even own a skirt or dress any more!

      I wondered about that guy’s look, too – or is it a leer? When I read their facial expressions, though, I get the sense that everyone is having a grand giggle-fest, if not enjoying the opportunity to see a woman’s ankles.


  7. Tsk tsk. Harem pants?! What will those uppity gals think of next? Yoga pants? No wonder there was murder involved. Sort of like a Black Friday sale – all the women wanting them and not enough to go around.🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are terrific at bringing northern, small town, and olden-times life to life, Maggie. Daisy Primrose could walk down any North American or European city street in that outfit today and no one would bat an eye, she looks that fashionable. As to The Crown, I abandoned this season after the 2nd or 3rd episode. Something about this season feels terribly gloomy to me and I just couldn’t keep calm and carry on. And Covid pounds. Damn them every one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Susanne – I do welcome your compliments!

      I know what you mean about the gloom in Season 4 – especially the Thatcher episodes. But even within the Royal household I am hard pressed to find anyone likeable.

      If I’m not careful, I’ll be talking about Covid tonnage before long. Man, it’s going to be a long winter!

      take care your way.


  9. It seems so odd that a harem skirt would cause such a stir!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, those gasps! 🙂 So is there an actual catalog or listing of gifts that have been gifted (love that phrase, btw). I really like the old newspaper clippings, btw. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marty –

      I did find a page that listed gifts gifted (I’m pleased with that turn of phrase myself) to Queen Elizabeth II but resisted clicking on the link. That is one cavernous rabbit hole I need to avoid. I’m having a hard enough time staying “on task” as it is these days!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, geez but I understand. In a related area, we watch practically nothing but British TV programming via Acorn and BritBox streaming. Whenever we start a new show, as we did last night, I end up reading about it the following day. One link leads me to another, which leads me to another, and yet another and so forth. You get the idea. Rabbit holes!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the ads from the early t900s! So sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. How on earth did you keep yourself from “going down the rabbit hole” to see what other fab gifts the royals received? I’m sure I would have wasted (too much) time doing that! IDK, maybe in the midst of the pandemic we’ve all decided that we really don’t have that much time to waste on trivial even if potentially fascinating pursuits.

    I mean, who knows if/when we might catch it and if/when it might keep us down but not out or even all the way to out? Really, though, I guess we do have the time since we really cannot pursue a lot of those supposedly non-trivial things we used to do like spending time with other people.


    • Greetings, and thanks for commenting –

      How did I avoid the rabbit hole? Good question – it could be that this blog post was a divergence from searching the newspaper archives which made me pause the Lady Prospector story which was a giant detour from the one massive project I am supposed to be doing about Albert Norton Morgan.

      And I know myself. Been there, done the marathon online search until I need chiropractor care at the end of it all.

      But trivial? I’m all about the trivial and certainly all about not having to think about the greater goings-on in the world these days.

      You take care, and hope to hear from you again!



  1. More WP Lessons Learned – No Facilities

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s