Press coverage of the Society and its activities

Finding House 71

Written by
Jim Ungrin
the North Renfrew Times
2023 Nov 15

The Nuclear Heritage website ( recently fielded an enquiry from Paul Cornish. Paul, who lives in the U.K. was planning an extended trip to North America, a trip that would include Deep River, where he had lived as a very young child for two years during the mid-1950’s.

Paul’s father, Dr. Frank W. Cornish, had worked at Chalk River at that time but Paul had little knowledge about what his father might have done and why his work brought him here. He also very much wanted to know where the family had lived.

The topic of Frank’s research was investigated first. Morgan Brown and Sourena Golesorkhi, Board members of the Nuclear Heritage group, searched the available open literature and found two publications authored by F.W. Cornish. One of them was AECL-510, a paper co-authored with Mac Lounsbury on the neutron cross-sections of plutonium isotopes. The second paper was published in Canada but was on work performed in the U.K. This latter document and a listing of the Chemistry Division personnel both contained the information that Frank was attached to Chalk River from Harwell.

As I was the person most familiar with existing photographs in the Canadian Nuclear Heritage Museum collection, I then began a search for possible photographs of Frank. I was able to find one, listed as taken in September 1954. It had been donated by the family of the late Iian Crocker and showed the personnel in the Chemistry Division. The donation also included a key identifying all 50 of the people in the photograph. The person at the very right hand of the photograph was F.W. Cornish.

Having established that Frank had worked at Chalk River, his research field and his status as an Attached Staff member from Harwell, the next major question was where had the family lived? Paul sent a photograph of his mother together with him and his slightly-older sister, Lynne, in front of a house numbered 71. Where was house 71? Armed with a 1955 map, my wife, Rosemary, and I drove around Deep River looking for streets that existed in 1955 that might have had house numbers that high. We found very few and concluded that 71 Algonquin, a detached single-story house, was the likeliest candidate.

I sent a photograph of 71 Algonquin to Paul but after searching further through an old family album he suggested our choice was incorrect. He had found a second photograph showing the family playing in front of a duplex, not a detached, single-story house. Back to driving around town and finding, to our surprise, that the house numbering on Forest Avenue is unusual. Numbering appears to begin at 60 and ends at 71. Not only that, but there are two, and only two, duplexes on Forest in agreement with additional details in Frank’s photograph. I sent a photograph of 71 Forest, as it now looks, along with the comment that just behind me on Huron was a small playground. Did that information trigger any additional memories? The comment indeed did. Another search of the family album by Paul revealed a photograph of him and his sister enjoying the swings on the “Huron Street playground”. House 71 was finally found.

Paul and his wife, Penny, spent the night of September 20 in Deep River and, after visiting 71 Forest and the swings, left Deep River next day very happy to have a few more parts of their family history established.