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Hantsport Memorial Community Centre
Catalogue info: The house was built in 1860 by Senator Ezra Churchill for his son John Wylie Churchill, thus explaining the JWC inscription on the ceiling in the three left-hand adjoining rooms, also known as the reception room. The building is now the Hantsport Memorial Community Centre. The centre features a stencilled ceiling and mural, a free-hand mock fireboard, painted stuccowork wall frieze and ceiling frieze and stencilled and free-hand walls (c.1890). This extensive decoration was done by George Lyons of Hantsport. The 1881 Census reveals George and his brother Lemont as painter, however, only George's work has been identified. His style can often be identified by his use of dark green walls, light stuccowork scrolls at the top of thewall, and the application of morning glories and roses, and painted stuccowork imitation framework, as seen in the reception room. The mural under the staircase depicts Elaine's death, and is an excellent copy of the Gustave Dore engraving use as frontpiece for the 1867 edition of Tennyson's Elaine. The interior decoration was not completed until the 1890s. The basement features a free-hand mural (oil on plaster c. 1880) by Francis Silver (1841-1920). Francis Silver (Anglicised form of Francis Da Silva) was born in Portugal. Oral history reveals that he arrived in Hantsport, NS around 1860 as cabin boy employed on one of Senator Ezra Churchill's ships. He was employed by Senator Churchill as a sailor and later as a cooper, gardener, handyman, and coachman. During the winter months he painted 11 murals and 50 roundels on the plaster walls of John Wylie Churchill's basement. The subjects varied from landscapes and ships to birds and tigers.