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Peter Hughes: Scottish boilermaker to Galt policeman

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Local History

  • Peter Hughes as a new recruit.  Photograph courtesy of the Region of Waterloo Archives.
    Peter Hughes as a new recruit. Photograph courtesy of the Region of Waterloo Archives.
  • Police station on 12 Ainslie Street South, previously the Bell Telephone building (1917), later demolished. Photograph courtesy of the Region of Waterloo Archives.
    Police station on 12 Ainslie Street South, previously the Bell Telephone building (1917), later demolished. Photograph courtesy of the Region of Waterloo Archives.
  • The last photograph taken of the Galt Police force, Dec. 1973.  Peter Hughes is in the front row, 4th from the left. Photograph courtesy of Peter Hughes.
    The last photograph taken of the Galt Police force, Dec. 1973. Peter Hughes is in the front row, 4th from the left. Photograph courtesy of Peter Hughes.
  • Jack Shuttleworth guarding Patterson's drug store on Ainslie St. Peter Hughes was posted at the intersection of Main and Ainslie.
    Jack Shuttleworth guarding Patterson's drug store on Ainslie St. Peter Hughes was posted at the intersection of Main and Ainslie.
  • People helping a resident on Water St.
    People helping a resident on Water St.
  • Residents helping a boy with his bicycle.
    Residents helping a boy with his bicycle.
  • Clean up on Ainslie St. shows inches of mud left by the flood, but not the tons of damaged goods on sidewalks from basement and upper floors.
    Clean up on Ainslie St. shows inches of mud left by the flood, but not the tons of damaged goods on sidewalks from basement and upper floors.

Linda, Queen's Square | December 1, 2016

When Peter Hughes applied for a job as a policeman in Toronto, he was advised that he was five pounds underweight, but there was a drinking fountain around the corner if he wanted to put a little weight on fast.  He refused, and became a member of the Galt police force instead.  In another encounter with water, the Flood of 1974 proved dangerous to Hughes’ health when, while heading down Water Street in hip waders, he accidentally stepped into a man hole.  He went down and luckily popped right up again, the cigarettes in his pocket barely getting wet.

Delve into his fascinating life story with his audio files as Peter Hughes recounts his early years in Scotland and tells how he arrived in Canada by ship in the 1950s.  History buffs will love this first-hand account of how Peter began work at Babcock and Wilcox, but ultimately became a policeman when he urgently needed money to pay the medical bills for his sick child.

These interviews are divided into two sections.  The first one tells of his early life, his immigration to Ontario, and how he settled into his job as a policeman.  In the second section, he describes the flood of May 17, 1974. 

Part 1

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Part 2

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Images courtesy of Cambridge Archives unless otherwise noted.