Alfred Parker’s Steam Dyeing Works
A photo published in a local Peterborough paper around the turn of the twentieth century shows a business flourishing in a prime location on a busy town street. The name at the top of the building appears to say “Parker’s Steam…” and on the side of the building is a large sign advertising, “Gent’s Clothes Cleaned, Dyed and Repaired”.
The image sparked a flash of curiosity to see if the city location and company could be identified. Beginning a search of cleaning companies in the late 1890s and early 1900s was the obvious starting point. It did not take long to associate the name of Alfred Parker with a business located in Peterborough during this period. More searching finally turned up a wealth of detail about Alfred and his family.
Between 1859 and 1864, the family of Robert and Sarah Anne Parker, immigrated from England to Montreal, Quebec, Canada East. Robert was a dyer by occupation. He and Anne established a home in Montreal with their children, Emma, born 1855 and Alfred born 1859. After arriving in Montreal, another three children were born, James in 1865; William in 1867 and Mary in 1870. The family all moved to Ottawa, Canada West by 1881.
Alfred Parker’s First Wife
About 1883, Alfred who was now grown to a young man, married Mary Ann Powers. She had been born in St. Andrews, Quebec about 1861. They had a son, Robert Percival, born 29 January 1884, in Ottawa before the family moved to Peterborough around 1885 or 1886.