The Labour Exhibit Centre was opened in 2007 with the purpose of displaying workers memorabilia and preserving, promoting and honoring the rich and long history of workers in Saint John. The Centre is more than a museum; its mission is to educate the public on the important role unions have played in the building of our city and the contribution that unions continue to make to the quality of the life we enjoy.
The Labour Exhibit Centre was made possible by a generous endowment from Frank and Ella Hatheway. In 1918, the couple granted a parcel of land in the Milldgeville area to the trade unions in the city. The land was later sold and the money placed in the “Hatheway Trust.”
In 2005, the Hatheway Board of Trustees invested a considerable sum of money into the restoration of the Lily Lake Pavilion. This was done on the understanding that the name of the pavilion would become the W. Franklin Hatheway Pavilion and that part of the pavilion would contain a labour exhibit centre, operated and maintained by the Hatheway Trust.
Frank and Ella Hatheway were a visionary couple who worked together on several reform projects during the latter part of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century. They supported such causes as women’s suffrage, old age pensions, free kindergartens, factory reform, health and safety reform, child labour reform and the public ownership of utilities.
Franklin Hatheway was a successful businessman. He served as president of the Saint John Board of Trade and as a member of the New Brunswick Legislature. He promoted his ideas through numerous essays, books and speeches. In 1906, he wrote, “You forget your strongest weapon—the ballot, you men of labour belong to the first order from which all wealth and art evolve, see to it that you advance with the time, that you get the share of life and liberty due to every decent man, and do not allow yourselves to be thrust back into tireless rounds of unending work by the ruthless hand of the millionaire.” Frank Hatheway was particularly vigorous in fighting for the implementation of the Factory Act and the Workers Compensation Act.
Ella Hatheway worked persistently for twenty-five years to gain the vote for women in New Brunswick. She was the secretary of the local Women’s Enfranchisement Association and was instrumental in organizing letter writing campaigns and gathering petitions in support of women suffrage. In 1912, she was belittled by some members of the legislature when she made a presentation in support of women suffrage. Far from being intimidated by these male politicians, she pointed out that they had “just provided an item for the history of woman suffrage in New Brunswick.” In addition to working with her husband on many causes, Ella Hatheway also worked to improve the sanitation of public spaces, to ensure that water was safe to drink and for the enactment of a Public Health Act.
The Frank & Ella Hatheway Labour Exhibit Centre display vintage tools, old labour photos, historic labour documents and various pieces of labour memorabilia dating back to the 1800s. It is, also, a fitting tribute to the contributions this middle class, socially progressive couple made to the city and the province.
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF
THE HATHEWAY TRUST
Jean-Marc Ringuette — Chairman
Chuck Hickey — Vice-Chairman
Pat Riley — Secretary
Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald — Treasurer
Ronald Dow — Sgt-at-Arms
Louis Duguay — Member
Rob Edgecombe — Member
Robert Frawley — Member
Dawn Robichaud — Member
James Stanley — Member
George Vair — Member
Brenda Dunn — Member