By Bruce Livingston & Mary Lou Schootman
For Richmond Heritage News
When the London brothers, Charles and William, chose the site for their Lulu Island farm in 1890, they could never have imagined their legacy would continue into the 21st Century. Located in a spectacular setting on the bank of the Fraser River, London Heritage Farm (LHF) is one of Steveston’s most attractive heritage sites, anchored by a fully restored farmhouse, and surrounded by beautiful gardens. This City of Richmond park and heritage house is operated by the LHF Society as a free site with historical buildings and heritage gardens.
Truly one of the amazing features of LHF is its ongoing connection with members of the original London family. Lucy London, the eldest daughter of Charles, grew up on London Farm. She and her husband, Herbert Howse, bought the farm in 1921, a few years after Charles and his family moved to Vancouver. Lucy and Herbert raised five children on the Farm. Two of them, Joan and Frances, recently returned with family to have tea and scones.
Joan and Frances related how they were “the hardest working farm girls in Richmond”. Bring in the cows, collecting eggs, working the garden, and other chores filled their days. They also collected spawning Eulachans, “candlefish”, in the mud pools along the river. Not a taste to the girls liking, though, even after their mother breaded and panfried them for breakfast – “too oily”.
The girls walked the dyke to Lord Byng Elementary School in Steveston, and rode their bikes to Cambie High School. Sunday School and church were held at Steveston United Church at No. 3 and Steveston – still there today. Fran remembers riding her bicycle from London Farm to Branscombe, and taking the Interurban to work in Vancouver’s Marpole area. The Steveston Interban and Branscombe House are two noted local heritage sites.
Joan, now 87 years old, lives in Ladner; Fran, now 88, in Cloverdale. It was a treat to host them at LHF. We know Joan and Fran enjoyed their visit, so will you. Join us for High Tea in our Historic Tea Room, 12-5 pm, W – Su in Jul-Aug, weekends from Sep-Dec. Savour our London Lady Tea with scones and other baked goodies made in the kitchen.
Reservations for tea are recommended. At 604- 271-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your visit!
Source: Richmond Heritage News