The two structures at 163/165 Brunswick Street in Fredericton initially served as an inn. They were later linked by a porte-cochère, transforming into the early 20th-century domicile of Lord and Lady Ashburnham.
Thomas Ashburnham, a retired military man and “remittance man,” was dispatched to Canada by his aristocratic British family. Residing in a Fredericton hotel, he often phoned the local stable from bars to fetch him a carriage home. During these calls, he developed a liking for Maria Anderson, the nocturnal switchboard operator at the New Brunswick Telephone Company. Enchanted by her warm manner and engaging voice, he requested to meet her, and by the beginning of 1903, they were betrothed. The couple tied the knot on June 10, 1903, at St. Anne’s Parish Church in Fredericton.
Thomas Ashburnham procured two grand houses on Brunswick Street, one being his wife’s ancestral home and the other a former inn. He connected them via a second-story conservatory atop a porte-cochere, which opened up to a garden. This home, christened Ashburnham House, boasted picturesque gardens, a greenhouse, and became the epicenter of Fredericton’s high society. The Ashburnhams, who relished a bountiful allowance from the Ashburnham lineage, didn’t have any offspring.
Lady Ashburnham’s memory is still cherished today for her much-loved mustard preserve, fondly known as “Lady Ashburnham Pickles.”
Lady Ashburnham Pickles – A timeless Maritime delicacy!
6 large cucumbers (peeled, seeds discarded, and diced to ¼ to ½ inch)
- ¼ cup salt
- 4 cups finely chopped onions
- 2½ cups vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 Tbsps. flour
- 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
- 1 Tbsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. mustard seed
- 1 tsp. celery seed
- Dice cucumbers and onions into bite-sized chunks and blend in a large pot. It’s recommended to use a food processor for the onions while hand-cutting the cucumber to avoid turning it to mush.
- Sprinkle salt over the cucumber-onion mix and let it rest overnight.
- The following day, wash off the salt and drain the mix. Incorporate the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, ensuring to stir the pickles frequently. Pack carefully into sterilized jars while hot. Await the “pop” sound, then store and relish!
- Ensure to refrigerate any opened jars.
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