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History of London - 1895 to 1945


Transportation infrastructure projects are prominent in these years – for example, the King Street, Chelsea Green and Vauxhall bridges and the subways constructed at Wortley and Wharncliffe Roads. Indication of recreational interests exists in the creation of the London Historical Society and London Horticultural Society as well as the organization of the YMCS and YWCA. Sir Adam Beck began to campaign for hydro-electric power development; several years later, London passed its first hydro by-law. Residents also welcomed Prince George (George V) whose father, the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) had previously been one of the City’s royal visitors.

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  • 1895
    • ​Public Library built, Queen's and Wellington. 
    • Cedar blocks and asphalt pavements. 
    • London Street Railway Co. electric franchise.
  • 1896
    • ​St. John's Ambulance Brigade organized. 
    • Thomas Beattie elected to Canada Parliament. 
    • London and Western Trusts founded.
  • 1897
    • ​King Street Bridge erected. 
    • Suburb of London West annexed.
  • 1898
    • ​Victoria Hospital enlarged.
    • London West annexed.
    • City Hall disaster. The floor of the City Hall collapsed while speeches were being given following receipt of municipal election results. 23 died and scores were injured.

  • 1899
    • ​The Provincial Normal School established with Dr. Merchant as principal.
    • Boer War - Londoners took part.
    • London Horticultural Society formed.
    • Rollings Mills opened.
    • Y.M.C.A. organized.
    • The Canada Trust Company founded.

  • 1900
    • ​Sir Adam Beck began campaign for Hydro-Electric power development. 
    • Helena Costume Co. organized.
  • 1901
    • ​General vote - three aldermen for four wards.
    • Visit of Prince George (George V).
    • London Historical Society formed.

  • 1902
    • ​Sherlock-Manning Co. opened.
    • Armouries opened by Hon. C. S. Hyman, Minister of Public Works.
    • Alderman J. H. A. Beattie resigns June 21.
    • John H. Pritchard appointed Alderman June 21 to complete remainder of Alderman Beattie's term.
    • C.B. Edwards appointed City Clerk.

  • 1903
    • ​Empire Brass Works opened.
    • South Western Traction Ry. Co. commenced operation.
    • London Armouries built by Dominion Government at cost of $183,000; under control of Department of Public Works.

  • 1904
    • ​First Hydro By-Law passed.
    • Nurses' Home building erected.
    • Chelsea Green Bridge erected.
    • Vauxhall Bridge erected.
    • S. Baker appointed City Clerk.

  • 1905
    • ​Board of Education elected by general vote. 
    • Scott-McHale Shoe Co. established. 
    • Y.W.C.A. organized. 
    • Murray Shoe Co. established. 
    • Victorian Order of Nurses organized.
  • 1906
    • ​McGugan track elevation (G.T.R.). 
    • Subways constructed at Wortley and Wharncliffe Roads.
      10,000 horsepower estimate subscribed for Hydro.
    • Pere Marquette operate the London & Port Stanley Railway. 
    • City Gas Company Act provided for 90-cent gas. 
    • Canadian Club organized. 
    • Alderman William Wyatt resigns October 30.
      William Scarlett appointed Alderman November 5 to complete remainder of Alderman Wyatt's term.
  • 1907
    • ​West End Track elevation (G.T.R.).
    • United States Consulate closed.
    • Reid Crystal Hall disaster, July 16.

  • 1908
    • ​$235,000 Hydro debentures passed.
    • Western University reorganized under Provincial, Municipal, and Public control.
    • Helena Costume Co. franchise for electric light.
    • August 13 - Westman Fire; Fire Chief Clark killed.
    • Building Inspection instituted.
    • James S. Bell appointed City Treasurer.

  • 1909
    • ​Manual training introduced in schools.
      Isolation Hospital erected.
      Wright Lithographing Co. opened.
  • 1910
    • ​Byron Sanatorium opened.
    • Niagara Power lighted street, December 1.
    • George Wright appointed City Engineer.

  • 1911
    • ​City Hall sold.
    • Advent of Hydro.
    • The Beck artesian well system completed.
    • Household Science and Nursing Services introduced into schools.
    • London created headquarters of First Divisional Area.
    • First Street Bridge erected.
    • Pottersburg Bridge erected.
    • Holeproof Hosiery Co. established.

  • 1912
    • ​Parks placed under the Public Utilities Commission.
    • Alexandra School built.
    • Technical High School opened.
    • Ealing, Pottersburg, Knollwood and Chelsea Green annexed.
    • Beatty Bros. open foundry.
    • Nitschke Building became City Hall.
    • Masonic Hall built on Queens Avenue.

  • 1913
    • ​W. N. Ashplant appointed City Engineer.

  • 1914
    • ​Board of Control established.
    • Garbage Collection taken over by the City.
    • Waterworks Commission becomes Public Utilities Commission.
    • City of London operates the London & Port Stanley Railway, and London Railway Commission established.
    • Aberdeen School opened.
    • Greene-Swift franchise for heating.
    • Sunday Street Cars began operation.
    • Great War.
    • Second Street Bridge erected.

  • 1915
    • ​East End Library opened.
    • Cadets organized.
    • Hydro-Electric control electrical inspection department.
    • Rotary Club organized.
    • Return to Ward System.
    • H. A. Brazier appointed City Engineer.
    • Alderman Neil Cooper died in office April 22.
    • H. C. Simpson appointed Alderman May 3 to complete remainder of Alderman Cooper's term.

  • 1916
    • ​East End Sewage Disposal Plant built.
    • Election of Aldermen by Wards.
    • 16,000 troops at Carling Heights.
    • Storm Sewer System (Chipman).
    • Boyle, Riverview, Lord Roberts and Ryerson Schools erected.
    • Tuberculosis nurses employed under the Board of Health.
    • At the election of January 1, H. A. Stevenson, M.D., received 3,873 votes for Mayor and W. M. Gartshore received 3,887. On a recount being held, 3,887 votes were received by each candidate. City Clerk S. Baker cast a ballot in favour of H. A. Stevenson and he was declared elected Mayor for the year 1916.
    • Alderman A. M. Hunt resigned April 8.
    • S. P. Reynolds elected Alderman by vote of Ward 1 electorate on April 24 to complete balance of Alderman Hunt's term.

  • 1917
    • ​Foster property water supply.
    • London Electric Co. ceased to operate.
    • Dental Clinics established in schools.
    • Public Utilities building erected on west part of Spencer site.
    • Communicable diseases nurse employed under the Board of Health.
    • London South Branch Library opened.
    • City acquired paving plant and commenced doing its own paving and sewer work.

  • 1918
    • ​South Western Traction Co. Ry. ceased operation.
    • Board of Control abolished based on a vote of the electorate.

  • 1919
    • ​Collegiate Institute destroyed by fire.
    • Visit of the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII).
    • Municipal Housing programme undertaken.
    • Plumbing Inspection instituted.

  • 1920
    • ​Venereal disease nurse employed under the Board of Health.
    • Playgrounds Department organized under the Public Utilities Commission.

  • 1921
    • ​South-east branch of the Public Library opened.
    • City took over issue of marriage licences.
    • Alderman C. G. Moorhead died in office February 21.
    • H. J. Childs appointed Alderman on March 21 to complete remainder of Alderman Moorhead's term.

  • 1922
    • ​Victoria School opened.
    • Adolescent Act enforced.
    • Town Planning Commission established.
    • Central Collegiate (present building) opened February, 1922.

  • 1923
    • ​Juvenile Court opened. (Judge Warner in charge).
    • Three-unit High School System adopted.
    • War Memorial Children's Hospital erected.
    • W. P. Near appointed City Engineer.
    • Alderman T. Patterson died in office in April, 1923.
    • E. A. Shaw appointed May 21 to complete remainder of Alderman Patterson's term.

  • 1924
    • ​Municipal Golf Links established.
    • Registry Office on County Grounds opened.
    • University of Western Ontario established at its present site on the Thames River in North London.
    • Abolished Ward System.


  • 1925
    • ​Eight Aldermen, two year term, four to be elected each year.
    • Traffic Tower installed.
    • Garbage collection extended to whole City.

  • 1926
    • ​Quebec Street Library opened, replacing East End Library. 
    • Sir Adam Beck Collegiate erected. 
    • St. Peter's Seminary transferred to Sunshine Park. 
    • New Nurses' Home erected. 
    • New Ridout Street Bridge erected. 
    • London Old Boys' Reunion and City Centennial. 
    • Mother's Allowance instituted.
  • 1927
    • ​Confederation Building at Western Fair replaced Crystal Palace, burned. 
    • Hotel London erected. 
    • Air Field established.
  • 1928
    • ​Board of Education reduced to six members. 
    • London South Collegiate Institute completed. 
    • New Arena constructed at Western Fair. 
    • Municipal Offices opened - Dundas and Wellington Streets.
  • 1929
    • ​Springbank Dam re-erected. 
    • Electors approve agreement with C.N.R. re grade separation. 
    • New Poultry Building at Western Fair.
    • Old Age Pensions established.
    • Drain Inspection instituted.
    • Stadium for sports and convocations completed at The University of Western Ontario and named the J.W. Little Memorial Stadium in honour of Colonel John William Little whose generosity helped make the building possible. Colonel Little was a prominent businessman and the City's Mayor from 1895 to 1897.
    • Springbank Dam re-erected.
    • Electors approve agreement with C.N.R. re grade separation.
    • New Poultry Building at Western Fair.
    • Old Age Pensions established.
    • Drain Inspection instituted.
    • Stadium for sports and convocations completed at The University of Western Ontario and named the J.W. Little Memorial Stadium in honour of Colonel John William Little whose generosity helped make the building possible. Colonel Little was a prominent businessman and the City's Mayor from 1895 to 1897.

  • 1930
    • ​Lady Beck Public School opened. 
    • Returned to Ward system
  • 1931
    • ​Wellington Street Subway opened, November 1.
    • Richmond Street Subway opened, December 4.
    • Alderman G. F. W. McKay resigned June 1.
    • G. B. Drake appointed Alderman June 1 to complete balance of term of Alderman McKay.

  • 1932
    • ​Earl of Bessborough opened new Willingdon Pavilion at Queen Alexandra Sanatorium, Byron, May 26.
    • W. M. Veitch appointed City Engineer.

  • 1933
    • ​Royal Canadian Regiment Golden Jubilee. 
    • East London Market opened. 
    • K. Grant Crawford appointed City Clerk. 
    • Alderman H. H. Bottrill dies in office, November 20. 
    • Alderman S. E. Weir resigned December 5.
  • 1934
    • ​Mill Creek fill commenced.
    • Springbank Dam maintenance assumed by Public Utilities Commission.
    • Cenotaph erected.
    • Hunt Mill Fire. (District Chief Scruby and Lieut. Hartop of the Fire Dept. killed).
    • East London Market closed.
    • Richmond Street Bridge erected.
    • Alderman E. C. Killingsworth resigned November.

  • 1935
    • ​British Directors of Education visit.
    • Natural Gas installed by City Gas Company.
    • London East Reservoir constructed.
    • Alderman A. M. Towe resigned November 25.

  • 1936
    • ​Municipal Income Tax (except Corporation income) taken over by Provincial Government. 
    • Garbage Department motorized. 
    • Public Utilities Commission assumed the operation of the London & Port Stanley Railway. 
    • His Majesty King George V died in January. His son Edward, Prince of Wales, ascended the Throne, but upon his abdication, his younger brother was crowned King George VI, December 11. 
    • His Excellency, Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor-General of Canada, visits. 
    • Dominion Public Building opened, September 26. 
    • Springbank Street Railway line abandoned. 
    • Canadian National Railway Depot opened by Sir Percy Vincent, Lord Mayor of London, England, September 1. 
    • York Street Bridge opened.
  • 1937
    • ​April Flood - London, West Chelsea Green, etc. (1,050 houses flooded), April 26. 
    • Old Age Pensions and Mothers' Allowances payments assumed by Provincial and Dominion Governments. 
    • Pensions for blind persons instituted. 
    • Provincial Government grants municipalities a subsidy of one mill on their tax rate. 
    • Pensions, Works Dept. employees, instituted.
  • 1938
    • ​Municipality relieved of cost of Sanatorium indigents.
    • Old Boys' Reunion, July 30 to August 6.
    • Alderman A. M. Towe resigned November 28.

  • 1939
    • ​Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, June 7. 
    • Building of new wing at Victoria Hospital commenced. 
    • Canada declared war against Germany, September 10. 
    • Building at Western Fair Grounds remodelled for use by soldiers. 
    • Public Library Building construction commenced. 
    • Land purchased for London City Airport.
  • 1940
    • ​Council reduced to nine members.
    • Housing Commission abolished.
    • The Elsie Perrin Williams Memorial Library officially opened - October 4.
    • London City Airport officially opened on July 27 by the Hon. C. D. Howe.
    • Western Fair not held, as Queen's Park was used for military purposes. A Junior Farmers' Exhibition was held.
    • Street cars abolished and an all-bus system established.
    • R. W. Garrett appointed Acting City Engineer.
    • Alderman W. J. Heaman appointed Presiding Officer on September 8 while Mayor J. Allan Johnston on active service.

  • 1941
    • ​Police Radio system inaugurated.
    • Alderman O. W. Durdin resigned April 21.
    • E. C. Killingsworth appointed Alderman May 5 to complete balance of term of Alderman Durdin.
    • Victoria Hospital, new addition, opened by Col. Leonard G. Rowntree, May 26.
    • H.R.H. The Duke of Kent visits, August 28.
    • London Street Railway tracks removed from Dundas St., Richmond St., and Oxford St.

  • 1942
    • ​Rt. Hon. Malcolm McDonald, High Commissioner to Canada, visits.
    • His Excellency the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Athlone, Governor-General of Canada, and Princess Alice, visit June 15.
    • City Weight Scales moved from Market Square to City Storage Yard.
    • City of London Regiment mobilized for Active Service, February 2.
    • Scarlet Fever inoculation of school children instituted.
    • April 27, vote on National Plebiscite releasing Government from past commitments relative to method of raising men for military service. Majority for, 24,050.

  • 1943
    • ​First Test Blackout, May 31.

  • 1944
    • ​Dedication H.M.C.S. "Middlesex" at Port Stanley. This ship was adopted by the County of Middlesex and the City of London.
    • Civilian Defense Organization disbanded.
    • Bishop Seager enthroned as Archbishop, Metropolitan of Ontario, February.
    • Nora Toll appointed City Clerk.

  • 1945
    • ​London City Airport property taken over by Government as a military hospital. (Discontinued 1947). 
    • $100,000 addition to Victoria Hospital Nurses' residence authorized. (Work completed 1947). 
    • Victory in Europe - London troops returned. 
    • Victory in Japan.