Keeping Newcastle neat for over 100 years
One of Newcastle’s longest-running community organizations, the Newcastle Horticultural Society was created and joined the Ontario Horticultural Association in 1914. Adopting the smooth wild rose as their emblem and “Newcastle the Neat” as their slogan, horticultural society members have shared their love of gardening and made a significant contribution to various gardens across Newcastle for over 100 years.
The NHS operates as an all-volunteer, registered charity. The first president was Newcastle doctor Dr. John A. Butler, who also chaired the Building Committee for the new Community Hall (celebrating its 100th birthday this year and next) and served as village Reeve in the 1920s.
The society’s activities have long been intertwined with the Newcastle Community Hall, from early planting efforts to major capital projects. In 2011, the society partnered with the Newcastle Community Hall Board and Clarington to create a Heritage Garden at the hall.
Farncomb Le Gresley, 1926-2022
It’s always a shock when we lose someone like Farncomb “Farny” Le Gresley. He was someone who you thought would be there forever. My involvement with the Newcastle Village & District Historical Society started in 1999 and one of the first people I met was Farny. He could speak on any subject, especially history, politics, sailing, electronics and farming. He had a number of interesting jobs, working at the dairy, farming, Bell Canada technician and Science Teacher.
I once had Farny as a guest speaker for a group I co-ordinate, East Clarington Men’s Breakfast. His topic was “Ham Radios”. It was fascinating to say the least and he kept everyone enthralled with a topic that I really wondered about. This was classic Farny, infectious smile and laugh, and a born teacher. He would often phone me and suggest topics for speakers. For years, it was to get someone to speak on “hydrogen power,” which he believed was a much better alternative fuel for vehicles. He was a great proponent of “green” energy.
Over the years, Farny and his wife Nancy donated many items to our Historical Society, but the one that really intrigued me was the computer that he built back in the early 1980s. This was before most people even knew what a home computer really was. Rumour had it that he had actually phoned Bill Gates and asked him for advice when he was putting it all together.