Phil Winkelaar
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Most members of Knox don’t get a chance to see the minister’s vestry and will therefore not know about the desk that has recently been installed.

The desk has languished in the boiler room for as long as anyone currently attending the church can recall. It is apparently called a “partners desk”, with kneeholes and drawers on both sides. Common in offices in the mid to late 1800s, it would allow documents to be shared between individuals, the way we now use Google Docs or Microsoft Word. The original leather top has been carefully replaced by Bob Hawkins and the whole desk has been beautifully restored, making it a historic element in the vestry.

It is believed that a former member donated it to Knox; there is speculation that the donor was Norman Fee MC, author of the centennial history of Knox and a senior officer in the Public Archives of Canada. He may have received it on retirement from that post. There is further speculation that the desk may even be connected to Thomas d’Arcy McGee, the Irish-born Canadian parliamentarian who was assassinated in Ottawa in 1868. The History and Archives Committee is grateful to Alison Hare, Greg Fyffe, Malcolm Hamilton and Bob Hawkins for the information provided and will gratefully receive any further evidence regarding the provenance of this piece of furniture.