The Luck of the Irish in Canada:
A History of the Irish Benevolent Society of London and Middlesex
by Gordon J. Sanderson
This 222 page book was researched and written by Gordon Sanderson, a well respected London writer and former reporter for the London Free Press. The book was commissioned by the Irish Benevolent Society of London and Middlesex County to celebrate the Millennium, 123 years of continuous activity, and in preparation for the 125th anniversary of the Society.
Gordon spent a year researching many books about early London and Middlesex County,
as well as the archives and meeting minutes of Irish Benevolent Society, local libraries, including the Weldon Library at UWO, and of course the records of the London Free Press.
The book emphasizes the unique good relations between the Catholic and Protestant
members from the first meeting in 1877, as featured by the Motto of the Society, "Quis Separabit " (Who Would Separate Us ), the alternating of Catholic and Protestant officers
each year and the prayer for peace in Ireland at each annual luncheon ( the social highlight
of the year).
The book also points out the large number of Irish in Middlesex County mainly Lucan and Biddulph) and London (about 1/3 of the population) in the early life of the area and their strong contribution to the commerce, professions and politics of the area. There are biographies and pictures (where available) of all the Presidents of the Society from the beginning.
As is obvious from the name of the Society, it was originally founded to help the less fortunate Irish immigrants arriving in the area, but in later years focussed on promoting local Irish culture. This includes supporting the Annual Forest City Feis, a North American competition for Irish dancers (local dancers are featured at the annual luncheon), scholarships for students at Huron College and St. Peter's Seminary, and other local charities.
Of the 2,000 copies printed, most have been sold or donated to individuals, local public libraries, the Weldon Library, King's College Library and Huron College at UWO, and 40 Catholic and Public high schools in the area. Copies were also sent to the Irish Studies Departments of Concordia University, Montreal and St Michael's University in Toronto.
Although the book is sold out, from time to time used copies are returned for resale by the Society. Email enquiries are welcome.