Down to Bowring’s: A Memoir
Arriving in St. John’s in the middle of the Great Depression, Derrick Bowring discovered an island whose vistas and people would capture his heart.
Sent to Newfoundland to join Bowring Brothers Ltd. and learn the retail end of the family business, his work with the company would take him into logging communities, outports and up to the ice fields. His memoir offers a mercantile history of St. John’s in the mid-twentieth century providing stories of life on Water Street during economic depression, a world war, Confederation and the business management shifts of the 1960s. His memoir is punctuated with colourful stories of the people he encountered such as Sealing Captain Al Blackwood, Premier Joey Smallwood and King George VI. He even reveals a little-known fact about Confederation and the Princes of Water Street.
”This book is much about the history of Newfoundland as it is about one store, focusing on the social life as much as the business practices of a time now gone. It paints a vivid picture of life among the more fortunate inhabitants of the colony cum province. Bowring comes across as the opposite of a stereotypical Water Street merchant, instead showing himself as a man who did his best to be fair to everyone under frequently trying circumstances. Illustrations are well-reproduced and add to a very readable and historically interesting memoir.”
Denise Flint, Atlantic Books Today