Series forms part of Treasury Papers and consists of records outlining the interests and responsibilities of the Public Works and Services Board of the Provincial Government. It has been further broken up into several subject categories, as follows:
• Public Buildings principally concerns Province House, House of Assembly and Government House, but also Market House, Parsonage House, the Governor’s farm and the Lord Bishop’s Estate. Records regard repairs to the buildings, lists of supplies, rents and assorted bills. These records also include accounts and lists regarding carpenters, masons and other labourers, as well as suppliers from the community.
• Records regarding Education primarily consist of Provincial government warrants for services, such as teaching, repairs, and supplies, as well as records of funds for the establishment of public schools and various educational institutions across the province. Institutions documented include, but are not limited to, the Academy at Windsor, Grammar School in Halifax, College at Windsor, Kings College, Acadian School, Dalhousie College, Academy at Pictou, School for Orphans and Poor Children, National School, Halifax Catholic School and Horton Academy.
• The Provincial Government, through the Board of Works and The Commissioners for the Settling of Isle Sable, took great interest in Sable Island and in safeguarding its potential trade and investment. These records include accounts of voyages to and from the Island, shipwrecks on its shore, the lighthouses, settlement and settlers, and descriptions of the Island and its ecology. Records demonstrate several ways the Government generated revenue from the Island, including the salvage of shipwrecks (appeals from shipwrecked crews are also included), and the sale of such products as oil, skins, cranberries and horses. Records include accounts of settlers and officials on Sable Island (Edward and William Hodgson), agreements between the Commissioners and ships’ captains or Masters (Joseph Darby, William Cook), receipts and lists of supplies and services, wages for labourers, and funds set aside for the support of the settlement.
• The expenses of the Halifax Poor House and Poor Relief in general fell under the banner of Public Works for a period between the 1760s and 1860s. These records focus on government expenditures in support on the Poor House in Halifax, but also contain some records (mostly warrants) for the support of the transient poor and the Orphan House. Communications from the Master of the Poor House at Halifax (John Woodin) and the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor for things such as burials, coffins, and clothing are also included. Many of these records include lists of residents maintained and supported in the Poor House, often mentioning any ailments and other details. The Master and Keeper of the Poor House (Jeremiah Marshman) provided monthly memorials and accounts, which are included, as well as his financial transactions with the Treasury and the Overseers of the Poor.
• Workhouse and Jail records mostly regard construction and repairs to the buildings, as well as payments to the Sheriff and to the Keeper of the Workhouse and the Halifax Bridewell.
• Board of Works general expenditures and accounts include receipts from the Receiver-General and Quarterly Accounts Current.
• Records of Revenue Boats mostly consist of expenses for supplies and maintenance, principally of the schooner ‘Hunter’ (Charles L. Leonard, Commander), which was ‘employed to prevent illicit trade in the Bay of Fundy and elsewhere.’ These revenue boats were used in the service of the Superintendent of Trade and Fisheries (George Leonard) for the prevention of smuggling, though occasionally these ships were sent on missions to supply the Navy. Records also regard the payment of employees, the suitability, qualities and maintenance of the ‘Hunter’, the schooners ‘Union’ and ‘Vaughn,’ embargos and trade with the United States, and the Halifax Steam Boat Company.
• Electric Telegraph Company records detail posts and lines, with tenders and applications for their supply. Also included are some communications between the Commissioners of the Nova Scotia Electric Telegraph and the Associated Press.
Also included with the Public Works records are accounts for the Hospital for the Insane, including lists of patients being maintained by the Province and as accounts of supplies and services provided, as well as information on labourers employed in the construction of New Market House and accounts and receipts of the Commissioners of Public Markets