In 1853 George Hutchinson left England to become an Anglican minister at Battle Harbour, Labrador. He was stationed there for 14 years, and came to love the place and people so much, it took his St. John’s fiancé, Selina Hayward, four years to convince him to leave “his people.”
In England, Hutchinson had come to expect certain privileges as the nephew of William Wordsworth, one of the country’s most famous poets. Coastal Labradorians would not have been impressed, however, since most of them were illiterate. He had to earn their respect the hard way.
We have the Wordsworths to thank, however, for documenting so much of Hutchinson’s early life. Marie Wadden has been able to piece together remarkable detail about his childhood, and education, from the diaries, letters, and poems of his aunts Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary and Sara Hutchinson. More valuable still are the 5 volumes of letters preserved at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere that George Hutchinson wrote home from Battle Harbour. Marie has recently finished typing up all 100,000 words of those letters, and will tell us what she’s learned about Hutchinson, and his times.