Derrick Bowring came to Newfoundland from England in 1935 to take his place in the family business and spent the rest of his working life turning an old-fashioned St. John’s mercantile into a national retail powerhouse. Now his granddaughter, Amy Bowring, has edited his dictated reminiscences into a memoir, Down to Bowring’s.
This book is as much about the history of Newfoundland as it is about one store, focusing on the social life as much as the business practices of a time now gone. It paints a vivid picture of life among the more fortunate inhabitants of the colony-cum-province. Bowring comes across as the opposite of a stereotypical Water Street merchant, instead showing himself as a man who did his best to be fair to everyone under frequently trying circumstances. Illustrations are well-reproduced and add to a very readable and historically interesting memoir.