Tag Archives: Victoria Hall

Happy Birthday, James! A special interview with a Father of Confederation, first speaker of the House of Commons

The Hon. James Cockburn, Northumberland County’s Father of Confederation and the First Speaker of the House of Commons.

This is going to be a very special interview with Consider This Northumberland. It is meant for a different audience. I am hoping there are lots of young listeners today. I have an extraordinary guest just for them. Now, you may be a kid in a classroom or a youth studying at home, or a young person at heart. This interview is for you.

My guest is the Hon. James Cockburn, our local Father of Confederation and the first speaker of the House of Commons. He is here because it is his birthday on Feb. 13. He would be 202-years old. Usually, Mr. Cockburn would be involved in a special local history day for school children at Victoria Hall in conjunction with the Cobourg Public Library. But, he is not able to participate this year due to the pandemic. So, he generously agreed to come on the show. Here is that interview.

A special thanks to Rob Franklin, a member of the James Cockburn Society, for arranging this interview.

Originally aired: Feb. 12, 2021


Original speaker’s chair coming to Cobourg in February

This is the original speaker’s chair for the Canadian Parliament in 1867, used by the Honourable James Cockburn. It was bought for the Province of Canada in 1863 and moved to Ottawa after Confederation. It was used until 1873 when it was replaced. It is made of Walnut with velvet seat covers. The design is Gothic, meant to match the architecture of the building. Cockburn kept the chair when he retired and remained within the family until it was donated by his great-granddaughter, Helen Sprott in 1983. This chair will be displayed in the James Cockburn Room of Victoria Hall. For more information, check out these two news stories from Northumberland Today and Northumberland News.

James Cockburn honoured with birthday celebration at Victoria Hall


The Honourable James Cockburn celebrated his birthday February 13 at Victoria Hall in the company of 90 children from C.R. Gummow, Burnham and Montessori schools. Cockburn provided helped the children learn a bit about Confederation era Cobourg and his role in the James Cockburn Room at Victoria Hall. The event is supported by a partnership with the Cobourg Public Library. ChildrenJamesCockburn.2016The Northumberland Art Gallery also joined us this year as a new partner.

Even with James having laryngitis, the kids had a great time and we received very positive comments from the teachers afterwards.  Cake was served in the lobby of Victoria Hall.

James Cockburn is the Father of Confederation for Northumberland and was the first speaker of the House of Commons.