On the Unlikely Association of a B&B, Morse Code,
Heart’s Content, and Neuropathology

Written by: Wayne & Susie Moore
Mallamoore House, Summer of 2019, with Heart’s Content harbour, the lighthouse and the north shore of Trinity Bay in the background.

Heart’s Content, while signifying a very pleasant state of mind, is also the name of a small community located in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, being located just north of the villages of Heart’s Delight and Heart’s Desire and about an hour-and-twenty minutes’ drive from the capital city of St. John’s.

This little fishing village suddenly found itself at the centre of world telecommunications when in 1866 the transatlantic cable was laid from Valentia, Ireland to Heart’s Content by the Great Eastern, which at the time was the largest ship in the world. Now there was instant communication between the old and new world. Prior to this it would take up to ten days for messages or news to go between North America and Europe. This technological breakthrough had an impact equivalent to the that of the internet in our time.

The “Anglo-American Telegraph Company” established the cable station in Heart’s Content and it remained in operation for almost 100 years. Now the cable station has been designated a historic site and operates as a museum. Together with its sister in Valentia, it is currently on the short-list for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its significance in the history of telecommunications. The station employed over two hundred people at its peak and the little town was transformed into one of the most affluent communities in the British colonies.

Morse code operators were highly valued and the company provided them with may perks, not the least of which was their own house lavishly outfitted with the finest of furnishings and amenities available. One such Morse code operator was William Mallam, a Newfoundlander with Welsh roots, who was Wayne’s maternal grandfather. William and his wife Miriam had five off-spring, who were raised in a house built in the Queen Anne style in the early 1900s. The house remained in the Mallam family after William and Miriam‘s passing; the house was taken over by the middle daughter, Sylvia and her husband, Kitchener Moore, Wayne’s parents. The immediate family and extended family continued to enjoy the house for many years, and “Syv” and “Kitch” would spend every summer at the home.

When Wayne’s father passed away, it was impossible his mother to get to the house on her own. So we would spend our two-week summer holidays at the home she adored. Every time we had to leave it would be very sad not only because of the separation of the family members but also because the house had to be closed until the next summer. Susie came up with the idea of renovating the home to a bread-and-breakfast and hiring someone to stay there so that Syv could spend her whole summer at the house. However, this never materialized before she passed away. After she died the house was sold it to a family from Ontario. We thought that would be the end to the old family home and our visits there, as they had plans to make it a summer home and started renovating it.

It was sad to see our old family home falling apart, but we didn’t own it and could do nothing about it. We left believing it would either fall down or be torn down.

The house was gutted in preparation for the renovations. Then unfortunately, their circumstances changed and they were unable to complete the renovation. The neighbours contacted us and informed us that the house had been left and work had stopped. We were on holidays in Newfoundland and decided to take a trip to Heart’s Content to visit friends. We just had to stop by the old home; it stood there vacant, gutted and rotting. Windows were broken, boards were cracked, grass overgrown. It was sad to see our old family home falling apart, but we didn’t own it and could do nothing about it. We left believing it would either fall down or be torn down.

So we were on our way to another adventure - restoring a gutted over-100 year-old house on the Atlantic from Vancouver!

Several months later, we were back in Vancouver, when we received an e-mail from the family who owned the house. They had been trying unsuccessfully to sell the house. The neighbours told them they should contact us because they knew we loved the house. We were shocked when we received the message asking if we wanted to buy the house for a substantially reduced price. We discussed the matter and we decided to buy the old family home. After we had purchased the house, we now had to decide what we were going to do with it! Susie suggested, “Let’s make it into that bed-and-breakfast we talked about”. So we were on our way to another adventure - restoring a gutted over-100 year-old house on the Atlantic from Vancouver!

We took a trip to Heart’s Content to see the house and started contemplating how to restore the Grand Ole Lady. After visiting the house, shock set in. We went to a McDonald’s in the nearest large town; we sat down and used their placemats and color pencils to design the initial floor plans for the house. We had no idea what a monumental project restoring and renovating the old house would be. In addition to being gutted, there were no electrical wiring, plumbing, appliances or anything but support beams, the floors and the stairs in the house, and the electrical supply had even been disconnected from the grid. It was a shell, and the shell wasn’t in great shape! We started and persevered, and after two years we had the house restored and renovated into a four-bedroom bed-and-breakfast with an additional bedroom for ourselves.

Mallamoore House, Summer of 2019, with Heart’s Content harbour, the lighthouse and the north shore of Trinity Bay in the background.

Then we had to find a name for the old house, and voila, the name Mallamoore House was created. This name honors our grandparents and parents who were the home’s original owners. Our hope is the home will stand for many more years, will host family and guests and be the place of love it always has been.

In our first summer (2019) we had a fair number of quests, had six murder mystery dinners, and even had a traditional Newfoundland “Screech-In” (ceremony whereby “come-from-aways” are made honorary Newfoundlanders).

Mallamoore House has four bedrooms for guests, each with its own private bathroom. Two of the rooms overlook the ocean and have decks to enjoy the view. The other two rooms on the front of the house have bay windows with peekaboo views of the ocean and the historic cemetery.

The Sylvia and Kitchener Room at Mallamoore House, with a view of Heart’s Content harbour and Trinity Bay

The house also has a lovely fenced garden, complete with apple trees that are over 100 years old. If you are at the house in the fall you’ll be able to pick fresh apples from the trees. You can also stroll through the back yard to the edge of the property which will bring you to the ocean’s edge. All of rooms are named after William Mallam’s family. Of course, all stays include a delicious breakfast. We designed a full dining room at Mallamoore House, but true to Newfoundland tradition, everyone always ends up in the kitchen. Thankfully, we have a large deck off the kitchen where guests love to sit and enjoy their breakfast and the views of the harbour, Heart’s Content lighthouse and the north shore of Trinity Bay.

Wayne & Susie on the deck of Mallamoore House, Summer 2019

Susie, a North Vancouver native, wonders how her career as a social worker transformed into a manager of B&B in the North Atlantic, but enjoys it thoroughly. We both spend our summers there. Wayne who will soon retire from clinical neuropathology, intends to continue his research in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury at his lab at ICORD (International Collaboration on Recovery Discoveries) at UBC and in the summers at Memorial University of Newfoundland, to which he will frequently commute from Mallamoore House.

So if you are ever in Newfoundland and Labrador, drop in to say hello or even stay for a while to enjoy the tranquility and history of Heart’s Content. Here is our contact information:

Wayne and Susie Moore: Tel (BC): 604-812-8885.
Mallamoore House, Tel (NL): 1-709-583- 2730
E-mail: info@mallamoore.ca
P.O. Box 138, 237 Main Road
Heart’s Content, NL A0B 1Z0
Website: www.mallamoore.ca
A relaxing end of the day at Mallamoore House. Trinity Bay is noted for its spectacular sunsets, where your Heart truly will be Content.