Why did the Scottish vessel Corsair bring Irish canal workers?

One of the most interesting features of Shubie Park is the "Deep Cut". Which is the waterway between the bridge near the Camp Ground and Lake Charles. Below is the Engineer’s report which refers to the work going on in the area on May 1827.

 “…..one hundred and fifty men have been employed upon the deep cutting….The present deficiency of granite workers will be made up as soon as a vessel chartered for the express purpose can return from Scotland,  in the meantime such hands as can be procured are employed and liberally rewarded for their labor.”

The vessel referred to in this quote is the Corsair which brought workers from Scotland to Dartmouth to work on the Shubenacadie Canal.  One of the puzzling features of this report is that while the vessel came from Scotland most of the workers on board were Irish and not Scottish.  For a long time this inconsistency was a bit of a puzzle – until several people connected with the Shubenacadie Canal attended a Conference in Scotland and discovered that just prior to the 1827 crossing of the Corsair there had been a canal workers strike in Scotland.  In order to complete one or two key projects the striking workers were replaced by a crew from Ireland.  Work on these projects terminated at just about the time the Corsair left for Nova Scotia.  “Bingo” mystery solved – and now it is clear why the folks on the Corsair were mainly Irish.   As we have indicated before there are still a number of descendants of these workers living in this area. 

-Bernie Hart

What's inside of the Flume House?

Now that we have the Flume House, we are focusing on building the components found inside. The cable drum, seen below, is nearing completion and will be installed on site soon. 

Seen above is one side of the cable drum that is being constructed by Martin Developments.

Seen above is one side of the cable drum that is being constructed by Martin Developments.

Engineering Features of the Flume House Machinery

When the Marine Railway was in operation it was water powered. The water was brought into the Flume House and then it was discharged through the reaction turbine (first image), rotating a vertical shaft that drove the crown and bevel gears and, through a third gear, drove the 12 foot diameter cable drum (second image). The drum hauled a 2 inch diameter cable attached to the boat cradle. The boat cradle and its load were lifted from Halifax Harbour to Sullivan’s Pond along the Marine Railway.

Model of a reaction turbine

Model of a reaction turbine

Model of the gears and cable drum

Model of the gears and cable drum

In this photo from the Morris Canal you can see the cable that pulls the boat cradle. 

In this photo from the Morris Canal you can see the cable that pulls the boat cradle.