Book launch - An English Island
PHOTO COURTESY DAVID LANGLOIS
‘An English Island’ is an in-depth look into the rich history of the Town of Hudson and builds upon the 1955 book titled ‘A History of the Parish of Vaudreuil’ by Canon E.C. Royle.
Hudson resident David Langlois has written An English Island, which he calls, “a social history of Hudson.” It has facts and dates, and other items, but it is more a tale of people’s lives – who they were, why they did what they did, who they married, and why; what children they had, where they worked, which church they attended, or not.
The book grew over time. His original intent in 2018 was to re-issue a book originally issued in 1955 by Canon E.C. Royle titled ‘A History of the Parish of Vaudreuil’ and at the same time take advantage of the opportunity to edit and update the notes Canon Royle had made over the subsequent 20 years, prior to his retirement as Rector of the Anglican Parish of Vaudreuil. As the project progressed, however, it seemed that this was also an ideal time to add to Canon Royle’s writings and issue a book which had a wider audience. In consequence there is the addition of several stories and details which flesh out the bones of the book in several areas, and a substantial amount of new material which has occurred since 1954.
Hudson is uniquely different from most Quebec towns in several ways. It is a largely English-speaking community in a sea of French-speaking inhabitants, and has survived for almost 200 years due to its residents and their belief in ‘their’ town. At its beginning it was one village, which over time became three villages, which then became one town. It had the first glass factory in the province and then a second. It had two of the largest ice factories in Canada, which supplied almost all the ice for the CPR and CNR railways for many years. It had a large knitting factory which at its height employed more than 70 persons. It has a ‘village’ centre which is a beacon for visitors. It is also home to three parishes: the Anglican Parish of Vaudreuil, with St. James’ and St. Mary’s churches; the Roman Catholic Parish of Saint Thomas Aquinas; and the United Church of Canada’s Wyman Church.
Canon Royle’s book ends in 1954, so David added a substantial recounting of events since then. His story ends with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.
Music has been an integral part of the life of Hudson, beginning when Methodist and Anglican services were held in Mullan’s store in the 1830s, and continuing right through to the present day. David felt this history was also appropriate so there is an overview of the music programs in both St. James’ and St. Mary’s churches.
Canon Royle, in his introduction, apologized for not being able to include pictures as illustrations, also for not including an index. Since David had the opportunity, he has added about 150 photographs, maps and illustrations to the 450 pages of text, as well as a bibliography and an index.
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