Lord Nelson and his Immortal Memory

Emma Hamilton by George Romney, circa 1785

Horatio Nelson

Nelson Street was one of the early Canada Company streets in Stratford, and the name first appeared on the 1848 map. Many of the founders of Stratford who had come from Britain, still had a living memory of the life and death of Viscount Lord Nelson whose Immortal Memory was long toasted on the anniversary of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. By Stanford Dingmam

Horatio Nelson (in full, Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe, or Sir Horatio Nelson, or Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe) was a British naval commander in the wars with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. He won crucial battles, among them the Nile (1798) and Trafalgar (1805), where he was killed by enemy fire on the HMS Victory. In private life he was known for his extended love affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton, while both were married.

Nelson was born Sept. 29, 1758, in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, England, and died at sea Oct. 21, 1805, off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. See full biography: Britannica

Stratford's second railway station, December 1856

The second Stratford station had no connection to the Grand Trunk Railway. It received its first locomotive late in 1856 after the Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway (B and LH) line reached Stratford in December of that year. The depot for that line was built the corner of St. David and Nelson streets.

The first train of the B and LH Railway rolled into Stratford on Dec. 8, 1856, about three months after the first train arrived at the GTR station in early September. (see Regent Street).

And who was on that December train, the first to the second station? The Hon. Edward B. Chandler of New Brunswick was among the special guests. About a decade later he became one of Canada's Fathers of Confederation.

For a while, it looked as if the predecessor to the B and LH, the Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich Railway (BB and G), would beat the GTR in getting a train to Stratford. In 1853, three years earlier, the BB and G had turned the sod at the corner of Erie and St. David streets, to serve or its rail line into the city. The present-day overpass on Erie Street is close to where that station was to be built.

Three years later, BB and G lost the race by about three months, when the GTR brought a train to its Regent Street station on Sept. 3, 1856 (see Regent Street).

Despite shaky finances, the B and LH pressed on to Mitchell, and in 1858 it reached Goderich. Its success, however, was short lived. In a few years, that line was absorbed by the Grand Trunk Railway. The GTR then dominated rail transport for more than 40 years. Sources: Dean Robinson's book Railway Stratford Revisited; Edward Barron Chandler | The Canadian Encyclopedia

* Stratford has had six train stations during its history. See Stationstimeline

Edward Barron Chandler, a future Father of Confederation, was aboard the first train (B and LH Railway) to arrive at Stratford's second railway station, in December 1856.