Wortley and London.
Right now I’m just having a warm drink, whiling away the time at home alone in my new apartment in Wortley. Nicole and her mother had come to help with the move, but left hours ago to get back home to Bond Head and to their day-to-day lives.
Though I have a pile of furniture I should be putting together, or fixtures to install in the bathroom, I’ve just trying to take it easy after a long week of preparing for and executing the move (which went very smoothly, thanks in large part to Nicole, her mother, and my friend Greg). I decided not to work myself tired tonight, but rather to just relax and take it all in.
So I got to thinking about Wortley, wondering what exactly about it makes it a historical community, and decided to try to look it up online. Sadly, there isn’t a terrible amount of information available on it, and to really learn anything at all about it, one must actually come to learn a fair bit about London herself.
Though initially rejected, the current location of London (keeping in mind it was a lot smaller at the time) was selected as the site of the future capital of Upper Canada in 1793 by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, who named it for London, England. He chose its location based on its natural resources and its position at the intersection of three main rivers… the Thames River, and um… the other two…
It was officially founded as a village in 1826, as part of the Talbot Settlement, named for Colonel Thomas Talbot, the chief colonizer of the area. Together with the rest of Southwestern Ontario, the village benefited from Talbot’s provisions, building roads and assigning access in an ever-expanding network of rapidly growing communities.
Wortley was one village among many that surrounded London, a short distance south of the municipality. Evidently originally surveyed as early as 1810, the area along the river was perfect for agriculture, but by the 1870’s had became instead something extravagant, boasting many expansive estates and mansions (many of which are still here today, as inns and the like).
Attaining the status of town in 1881, London continued as a separate municipality until faced with fiscal issues, resulting in its expansion outward and amalgamation of many small villages around it in the coming years. Wortley was one such village, annexed in 1890. London continued on in such away (particularly growing in 1961), annexing communities as recently as 1993.
And I thought this was actually pretty cool – “Contrary to popular belief, London did not take on the name ‘Forest City’ due to the number of trees in the city,” reads the wikipedia entry on London, Ontario. “In its early days, London was an isolated destination and one would have to walk through a forest to get there. So it can be said that London was a ‘city within a forest’ and as such earned the nickname ‘The Forest City.'”
Anyway, I guess to learn anything about Wortley, I’m going to have to do some exploring. I’m only a couple of blocks from Wortley Village, the touristy shops district, and I’ll see what I can find out about the history of the olde village itself. Hopefully some cool stuff, cos right now all I know about it is that it’s really pretty and people who live here are said to be snobs.