I-44330.1 | Convent of the Sacred Heart, Halifax, NS, 1870

Convent of the Sacred Heart, Halifax, NS, 1870
William Notman (1826-1891)
1870, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , educational (709) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Most middle-class Maritime girls started school when they were 7 or 8 years old. The Convent of the Sacred Heart, located on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, was established by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in the 1850s. Here, Catholic girls were trained in academic subjects, but also in what were known as the "ornamental branches"-sewing, drawing and music. The school was highly regarded by education officials in Halifax because of its "respectable character," and the Sisters were admired for their excellent teaching methods. Public school officials believed that boys and girls should attend different schools or, if that was not possible, segregated classes.

Janet Guildford, "Public School Reform and the Halifax Middle Class, 1850-1870" (PhD thesis, Dalhousie University, 1990).

  • What

    For students who lived in Halifax, the Convent of the Sacred Heart was simply a school, but for the members of the Sacred Heart Order and the out-of-town students, it was also their home.

  • Where

    The convent was built on Spring Garden Road across the street from the Public Gardens. In the mid-19th century, this area was becoming a fashionable middle-class residential neighbourhood.

  • When

    In 1849, Mother Mary Peacock came from New York with a small group of religious sisters to found the school of the Sacred Heart.

  • Who

    A large group of formally dressed people-mostly women-posed for a rare outdoor photograph.