Mrs P. Pewsey: ‘Lockport, New York: A portrait of innovation and industry in 19th-century America’

Mrs Pewsey gave the Williams Project a really interesting account of how her home town, Lockport in New York State, was the scene of an engineering project which opened up vast tracts of the country’s interior to trade and development. By building an amazing staircase of five locks up the steep side of the Niagara escarpment, barges could now take goods and people from the Atlantic coast to the Great Lakes. She illustrated her words with original postcards taken from the book on the subject which she wrote herself.
She also spoke about some of the town’s characters, including a Mr Sutherland, who ‘monetised’ the ground-length hair of his seven daughters by marketing a hair tonic.
A Williams-Project first was her leading the audience in a rendition of a folk song about the Erie Canal (we were treated to the Bruce Springsteen verse beforehand so knew how to sing it).
A great afternoon: Mrs Pewsey managed to convey in her inimitably warm and human way a real flavour of the place, its history and its people.

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