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Peter Ledwith

We have been remembering folks that we have known that were such an influence on the Massey movement.  I would like to remember Canadian Peter Ledwith whom I first met in 1996 at the Ontario Agricultural Museum where he was the curator.  I was on a 10 day visit there researching for my two volume Massey Legacy books in their extensive library.  He along with archivist/librarians Lyn Campbell and Sue Bennett hosted me with great kindness and warmth and professionalism to research my way through their extensive collection of volumes on Massey history.  They were doubly kind in that I had a very bad back for the duration and they ferried me everywhere!   Peter went to great lengths to show me round the well kept museum collections of tractors and implements of many makes.  He had a great knowledge of them all and had been instrumental in bringing the collection together over many years.  One day he was kind enough to start the MH No 3 tractor for me and allow me to drive it round the yard.  Peter and his familily's passion was for *****shutts  and he had a major collection of petrolinia at his home. He arranged for the transfer of many old farm buildings to the site in which to house collections and the general management and layout of the site.  One of the major collections was the Massey-Harris collection but exceptionally this was and still is housed in a modern building.  The whole site was immaculately maintained under his supervision.  One of the major events of Peter's career at the museum must be his organising of the Massey 150th anniversary show  - this show was an inspiration to the many Massey collectors that exhibited and attended and has never since been surpassed at the site.

Sadly the museum aspect of the now Country Heritage Park is somewhat neglected as the Park has come to concentrate on hosting revenue generating events.  The library has been moved to the University of Guelph.  The Massey building is nominally maintained by the Massey Twin Power Association but their operations are apparently somewhat contained by the Park Management.  Peter would be so sadened by the way things have changed since his inspired days.

Malcolm Robinson and I last visited Peter when he was quite ill in Hamilton hospital.  This was the last time we were to see him alive but he was still his cheery and affable self.  I attach a photo of Peter (with cap) and Malcolm viewing a Massey-Harris green (yes green!!) Pacemaker the Massey building.

Peter - you did a great job for Massey history and of course other makes.  Thank you from us all - we are forever grateful.  And thank you for your preface to my Massey Leagcy vol 1 book. Malcolm and I are personally forever in your debt for introducing us to the major Massey collectors in Ontario from whom we have received tremendous hospitality and much knowledge over the years.


RE:Peter Ledwith

Sorry - I forgot that both younger Malcolm and Peter were both wearing caps - Peter is standing

RE:Peter Ledwith

Thank you John for detailing our "Massey Journey in Onatrio with Peter", it is hard to comprehend where those 26 years have gone since you took that photograph in 1996 in the storage building of what was known then as "The Ontario Agricultural Museum" followed by "The Farm Museum" which then became "Country Heritage Park".

Peter was a very genuine and true collector of Canadian Agricultural Heritage, his knowledge on local Canadian Companies was immense, which he shared with us and he ignited our enthusiasm to spend so much time over the years in Ontario with all the Massey-Harris collectors of that era, we owe so much to Peter which in later years has enabled us to add so much variety of both artifacts and knowledge of M-H and associated Companies to our collections back home in the UK.

Peter was the driving force behind the 1997 150th Anniversary of Massey Show in Milton which was called "The Great Canadian Antique Tractor Field Days", he brought like minded collectors together from all over the world that weekend, M-H enthusiasts travelled from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Great Britain, Scotland and Wales to name just a few. Peter also encouraged Hart Massey to join the celebrations, it was a pleasure to meet him in person. 
Had it no t been for Peter Ledwith and his foresight, knowledge and contacts I do not think the celebration event would have been such a memorable event in 1997.

Peter certainly put "Massey- Harris Collecting on the world map in Onatrio", some of us will never forget his passion and enthusiasm for all things Massey-Harris.

RIP Peter,