Dating to the mid 1900s, Metcalfe Slaughterhouse and Barn, Upper Barn, Office and Shed are four, wooden-frame buildings situated on a hill overlooking Manuels, Conception Bay South, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the slaughterhouse and barn, the upper barn, the office and the storage shed.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Metcalfe Slaughterhouse and Barn, Upper Barn, Office and Shed have been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conception Bay South due to their aesthetic, historic and cultural value.
Metcalfe Slaughterhouse and Barn, Upper Barn, Office and Shed have aesthetic value as good representative examples of the type of buildings used by local butchers in the Conception Bay South area. There are very few examples of a commercial agricultural property such as this with its outbuildings still remaining. The largest building is the slaughterhouse and the office is the smallest. All have low pitch gable roofs and are painted in a red and white colour scheme – the traditional colours for outbuildings in the region. Enhancing the aesthetic value is the context in which the buildings are located. Situated on a hill overlooking the waters off Manuels, the buildings exist in a very traditional setting, with outbuildings in close proximity to each other and close to the family home. The outbuildings on the Metcalfe property were designed for practical use – employing rough materials, simple design elements and utilitarian construction techniques.
Metcalfe Slaughterhouse and Barn, Upper Barn, Office and Shed have historic value as they are a physical reminder of a way of life once common in the Conception Bay South area. Nicholas Metcalfe (1879-1937) was the first generation of this family to set up a butchering operation. He had a small slaughterhouse, locally referred to as a shamel. His son Thomas (1906-1983) built the bigger slaughterhouse that stands today and Thomas’ son David continued the business until the mid 1990s. The Metcalfes received hundreds of cattle from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – by boat in the early years, then by train and later by truck. Along with supplying their own meat market called “Metcalfe and Roberts” on New Gower Street in St. John’s, they also supplied supermarkets run by the Ayres company. They also dealt with independent farmers from Topsail to Bay Roberts who travelled around the Avalon Peninsula selling vegetables, eggs and meat products. Known individually as the “Meat Man,” these farmers would buy cattle from the Metcalfes at auctions held on the property. They would arrive at the office on Mondays to pay for their purchases, often settling their bill after they had sold their products. The Metcalfes would butcher the animals and often store the meat on their premises until it was picked up by the farmers. Three men worked full time at the slaughterhouse butchering the animals and preparing the hides for shipment to shoe makers in Montreal. Throughout the year, several young men were also hired to help herd the cattle from Talc Ville in Long Pond to the Metcalfe’s barn, where they were auctioned off.
Metcalfe Slaughterhouse and Barn, Upper Barn, Office and Shed have cultural value as they are physical reminders of an earlier time and place. Butchering and farming were once essential occupations in the Conception Bay South area. With the introduction of chain supermarkets and competition from mainland suppliers, local meat production lessened. Local butchering operations like the Metcalfe’s began to shut down. The collection of outbuildings at the Metcalfe property is a lasting testament to this important era in Conception Bay South’s history.
Source: Town of Conception Bay South Regular Council Meeting Motion 08-353 September 16, 2008.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which contribute to the aesthetic, historic and cultural value of the property, including:
– low pitch gable roofs;
– number of storeys;
– wooden clapboard;
– corner boards;
– red and white colour scheme on exterior walls;
– window size, style, trim and placement;
– size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
– dimensions, locations and orientations of buildings, and;
– association with the Metcalfe family.
Location and History
Conception Bay South (Manuels)
Town of Conception Bay South
Topsail Road, Manuels
1945 - 1960