The origin and purpose of this farm was to receive boys from England and train them in modern methods of farm work, with a view to becoming farmers in Canada. This program was known as the British Home Children.
This institution was located about three miles from the town of Windsor, on the outskirts of the Annapolis Valley, and embraced in all about five hundred and six acres of extremely fertile and productive land.
The main farm (there are three separate lots) slopes toward the bank of the Avon River. The Farm was equipped with good buildings, house, barn, piggery, work shop etc., well modelled and such as one would see on a first class farm.
Read some of our historic farm stories on our blog.
The Dakeyne Street Lads Club
or The 2nd Nottingham Company of the Boys Brigade
In 1901 The 2nd Nottingham Company of the Boys Brigade was created. The Boys Brigade is an Interdenominational Christian Youth Organisation concieved by Sir William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian Values.
By 1907 the company had grown large enough to need a new home, so Oliver Hind with the help of some friends bought the old asylum building and moved the company to a new & bigger home on Dakeyne Street .
The Dakeyne Street Lads Club for boys between the ages of 12 -17. Rooms were equipped for games gymnastics, drill, study, a bible class, reading room, sweet shop, baths, an NCO’s room. a library filled with books, and separate club rooms for old boys and juniors. An Athletic ground was taken near Trent Lane of eight acres, with frontage to the river where the boys could bathe, row and fish. Football, cricket, a savings bank, and camp were some of the regular activities.
The club was also a recognized evening continuation school, under the control of the local education committee and under government inspection. The school had a higher average attendance than any evening school in the city.
Under Oliver Hind’s inspiration and helped by his practical hand and generous purse, the company went from a handful of members to 350… The largest, at the time, in the world.
Born in 1873, second son of Jesse Hind, the first clerk of Nottinghamshire County Council. Educated at Clifton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he took his BA and LLM degrees, he subsequently joined the law firm of Messrs. Wells and Hind.
Following in his father’s footsteps, who was one of the original members, Oliver Hind joined the Robin Hood Rifles, the city’s territorial battalion. In 1901, he created the 2nd Nottingham Company of the Boy’s Brigade. (The Boys’ Brigade (BB) is an interdenominational Christian youth organization, conceived by Sir William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian values. Following its inception in Glasgow in 1883, the BB quickly spread across the United Kingdom and became a worldwide organisation by the early 1890s. As of 2003, there were 500,000 Boys’ Brigade members in 60 countries)
Under Oliver Hind’s Inspiration, and helped by his practical hand and generous purse, the company went rapidly ahead until it became the largest in the world, with 350 members.
in 1906, due to inadequate space, he took over the old asylum buildings, that overlooked Carlton road, with an entrance on Dakeyne Street and turned them into the Lad’s Club. In 1907, he opened the Dakeyne Street Lad’s Club, for boys between the ages of 12 and 17. Rooms were equipped for games, gymnastics, drill, study, a bible class, reading room, sweet shop, baths, an NCO’s room, a library filled with thousands of books, and separate club rooms for old boys and juniors. An athletic ground was taken near Trent Lane of eight acres, with frontage to the river, where boys could bathe, row and fish. Football, cricket, a savings bank and camp were some of the regular activities of the club. The Club was also a recognized evening continuation school, under the control of the local education committee, and under government inspection. The school had a higher average attendance than any evening school in the city.
Oliver and the Farm…
There is an erroneous idea that the work at Dakeyne Street was mainly for boys from the slums. This is quite wrong. Many of them, though poor, came from respectable homes, but, as in all cities, there are some whose environment was not conductive to progress in life.
In 1908, two of these boys, who belonged to the club, asked Oliver Hind to send them to Canada in hopes of eventually starting their own farms. After looking into it, he agreed and sent them to the West of Canada They did so well, that the notion of establishing a training farm in Canada occurred to Oliver Hind. He was fortunate to get Mr. John Player (of Player’s Tobacco) to agree to buy half of the farm, while he paid the remainder. The Government of Canada gave him all the assistance in their power, and it wasn’t long before a farm of 270 acres (30 acres being apple trees) 3 minutes (by boat) from Windsor, Nova Scotia, became the Dakeyne Farm. By 1931, the farm had grown to encompass 570 acres.
In 1924, Oliver married Mary Davidson, daughter of probation officer, and friend Alfred Davidson (1913 & 1923), and sister of Eric Davidson. (1923) they had three daughters.
In 1927 Mr. Hind made an arrangement with the Nova Scotia Government to take over the farm for five years, with an option to purchase it at the end of the term. The government liked his method so much they successfully appealed to him to continue his personal association with the work.
By 1929, and suffering from ill health, Oliver Hind not wanting to see what he created fail, handed the Dakeyne Farm over absolutely free to the National Association of Boy’s Clubs (now known as Ambition).
Terrence Wooley has finished an in depth Biography of Oliver Hind, which is available through Amazon.ca.