The Reverend T. Melville Bailey Heritage Award is a joint project between the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Historical Board.
The award is given annually (as warranted under the criteria) in recognition of lifetime achievements and significant contributions in the promotion and preservation of Hamilton’s history and heritage.
A wide range of achievements are eligible. Volunteers and professionals will be considered on an equal basis. Contributions to the promotion and preservation of Hamilton’s history and heritage can include any or all of the following:
The Hamilton Historical Board, at least one member of Hamilton City Council, and a member from the heritage community will adjudicate the award. The winner will receive an art piece that is appropriate to the spirit of Reverend Bailey and his contributions to the City of Hamilton. All applications and support material will be kept on file for three years from the date of submission.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: DECEMBER 31, 2014.
LATE OR INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
SITTING MEMBERS OF THE HAMILTON HISTORICAL BOARD AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY OF HAMILTON ARE INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE THIS AWARD.
NOMINATIONS ARE VALID FOR ONE YEAR ONLY
Thomas Melville Bailey was born on 17 November 1912 at 31 Davenport Street, adjacent to Dundurn Castle. He attended Westdale Collegiate and Hamilton Central Collegiate Secondary Schools. He was active in track and field, training under Captain John Cornelius at Central Collegiate and the Hamilton Olympic Club. In his working life, he began as a driver and clerk for the Canadian Pacific Express Company. He was very active in Erskine Presbyterian Church and by 1945, was Superintendent of the Sunday School and a church elder. In 1949 he was admitted to Knox College at the University of Toronto. In that same year he was appointed student minister of the Presbyterian congregation that met in the old Barton Township Hall (later the Buchanan Lodge Hall) on Upper James Street. He was ordained in 1952 and appointed to minister to the group that built South Gate Presbyterian Church in 1954.
Mel Bailey’s contributions to Hamilton heritage began with his first book The History of Dundurn Castle and Sir Allan MacNab, published in 1943. In 1949, he wrote a brochure entitled “Erskine Presbyterian Church Sunday School 75tAnniversary”. From 1958 to 1988, he served as the editor of Wentworth Bygones, published by the Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society, which he helped found in 1944. Between 1968, when his book The Laird of Dundurn was published, and 2002, he wrote, edited and/or contributed to numerous books and articles dealing with Hamil- ton’s heritage. In addition he served on several heritage boards and committees. Arguably, his most important contribution was the Dictionary of Hamilton Biography. Beginning with Volume I, which was published in 1980, and culminating with Volume IV, published in 1999, the Dictionary of Hamilton Biography remains the only local biographical dictionary of its kind to be published in Canada. He published several historical accounts for the Presbyterian Church in Canada including: the four volumes of Called to Witness; the two volumes of Gifts and Graces and Wee Kirks and Stately Steeples. For many years, he and his wife Janet were the editors of the Knox College magazine.
Over the years, Mel Bailey received many awards and citations. Among them:
Thomas Melville Bailey passed away on 29 January 2005 at the age of ninety-two. His friend and colleague, The Reverend Dr. John Johnston ended the funeral address with the following summation of Mel Bailey’s life:
Dr. Bailey’s thirty-one year ministry at South Gate Church, his forty-five books and articles, the plaques that adorn the historic sites of this city, the sermons delivered, addresses presented to the Canadian Society of Presbyterian History, historical societies and organizations, the example he set for all of us – his personal piety, a listener, a gentle soul, a quick wit, a master of the one liner, always self-effacing, ready to step back and give others the credit, a friend to all, we honour his memory. How he lives on in each of us – a family – all touched by this great and good man, God’s man forever and ever. Amen.
2008 – Stewart Leslie
2009 – Jim Green
2010 – Bob Williamson
2011 – Murray Aikman
2012 – Anne Jarvis
2013 – J. Katherine Greenfield
2014 – Bill Manson
2015 – Dr. Mary Anderson
To submit a nomination via mail or fax, download and print out the form below:
To submit a nomination online, fill out the following information: