Cyril Littlebury in Today's Tri-City News

Read about Dudley Booth and his collection of Cyril Littlebury’s photographs in today’s Tri-City News:

For about 10 years, a dapper gentleman with a large-format camera, neat penmanship and an interest in news, shipping and industry roamed the streets and harbours of Vancouver. Between 1922 and 1932, Cyril R. Littlebury took thousands of photos that recorded how the wheels of industry turned in the city…..

The photos were ….. of Vancouver city life in the 1920s and during the Depression years, including beach scenes, pictures of boats and buildings, such as Hotel Vancouver, that were under construction at the time, news events and Stanley Park view points.

The collection includes pictures of the dedication of Pier B.C. and the Harding Memorial in Stanley Park, photos of the Vancouver cenotaph being built, as well as of many remarkable ships and airplanes. There are even photos of hobos living in shanty towns south of what is known as Yaletown, near False Creek, during the Depression.

Heck, just read the whole article.

Police Ledger 1913-1923

For a school tour next week on Port Moody history, I wanted to include a scan of the police ledger.

Taking a lesson from the New York’s Lower Eastside Tenement Museum, which I visited in July this year, I decided to scan a page and put it in a plastic sheet (we can’t afford to laminate too many things). The scan will be something kids can handle, that looks like the real thing. Then I will type up the information so that kids can answer questions about policing of the era.

So I asked the Collections Assistant to unlock the display with the police ledger and search for something without anything too incriminating. Car accidents and errant cattle. That sort of thing.

However, when we started at the beginning of the ledger, in 1913, when the city was incorporated, we found mostly “drunk and disorderly” or “assault”! Now that’s a little too racy for elementary school kids.

But it was an incredible revelation to see what skeletons our city has in its closet. A murder in 1923, vicious dogs that had to be put down, runaway chickens, charges of lunacy, threats of murder and at least two groups of boys running away from their schools. One Port Moody pioneer mentioned in the history books was there too (we won’t name him here), for the ubiquitous “drunk and disorderly.” His punishment was to leave the city and “sober up.”

Another interesting observation is that about half of the people charged with crimes were white and the other half were Chinese, Japanese or Sikh. We can’t say if there were aborigine people among those charged until we do a thorough study.

This is fascinating because history seems to wipe out its non-white players. At the Port Moody Station Museum we have a display about the Chinese and a photograph of mill workers that include Sikh men. But we are still striving to augment this and to include the Japanese presence. In our bible, The Early History of Port Moody, we have post-it notes at all mentions of the Chinese, Japanese, Sikh and black pioneers which we somehow have to translate into meaningful displays.

So to find that half of Port Moody’s early criminals were not white means two things. First, we wondered if more charges were brought against minorities and hence made their way into this police ledger. Second, the appearance of so many non-English names means that there was much more of a “minority” presence in Port Moody than we previously believed.

We’ve been working on some blog posts about the black and the Chinese presence in Port Moody for some time. We’ll have to start digging those up and publish them.

Thank you for reading.

By Oana Capota

Volunteering at the Port Moody Station Museum

We’ve noticed people googling “Volunteering at Port Moody Museum” and “Port Moody Historical Society Volunteer.” We noticed that those google searches didn’t really lead anywhere useful.

But we’re here to tell you otherwise.

Yes, we have many volunteer opportunities!

Read below about three volunteer jobs for which we always need help. Call us at (604) 939-1648 to inquire about any of these positions.

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HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS RESEARCH INTERNSHIPS

We are looking for 2-4 interns who are interested in Port Moody’s history and would like to assist in making an inventory of the area’s history.

The Port Moody Station Museum is a source of archival material and interns will help organize this information to make it more accessible.

VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED: 2-4

DESCRIPTION: Working with the Port Moody Station Museum’s newspaper collections, interns will compile dates, article contents and related photos of all Port Moody-related subject matter in newspapers from the Twentieth Century and work backwards to Nineteenth Century newspapers. Interns will also work on a Port Moody timeline together with the Museum Assistant.

In the second stage of the project, interns will create and/or provide input in creating a historical newspaper database, and enter all data relating to print material on Port Moody to the database. Depending on time restrictions and condition of the newspapers, interns may also be required to scan newspaper articles for digital preservation.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Interested in history and museum procedures
  • Reliable
  • Some computer experience (for the second part of the project): Microsoft Access & Scanning

TIME: Any day from 12 noon to 4 pm (some morning hours are also available depending on Museum staff availability)

DURATION: Internships available year-round; we ask that interns commit to four months.

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TEA ON THE TRAIN VOLUNTEERS

DATES: Sundays in 2005:

  • November 27
  • December 4
  • December 11
  • December 18

TIME: 12:30 – 4:30 pm

Tea and cookies provided

DESCRIPTION: Started in 1998 by Kathy and Mado, two enthusiastic volunteers, the Museum’s tea car Sundays still take place when help is available. To allow these events to continue, the Museum needs more volunteers to serve tea and treats to guests on the train, set-up prior to the event, and clean up after the event.

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ORAL HISTORY TRANSCRIPTIONS

The Port Moody Station Museum’s ongoing oral history project started in 1975. The Museum has hundreds of interviews on tape, CD and digital format. The interviews contain a wealth of information about the City and the Museum hopes to eventually make this information available to researchers, visitors to the Museum and possibly online.

VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED: No limit

DESCRIPTION: Volunteers transcribe the interviews according to oral history standards to create a Word document as well as a paper copy of each interview. Each volunteer will be trained and supplied with guidelines.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Interested in history and oral history procedures
  • Reliable
  • Microsoft Word

TIME: Volunteers are assigned oral history CDs and transcribe them from home. During weekdays volunteers may be able to work from the Museum, depending on staff availability.

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SPECIAL EVENTS VOLUNTEERS 2006

  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Canada Day
  • Halloweeen Haunted Train
  • Murder Mystery Dinner

Call the Museum at (604) 939-1648 for more information.

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BENEFITS & REIMBURSEMENTS FOR ALL VOLUNTEER POSITIONS:

  • CAPP hours
  • Learn local history
  • Invitation to volunteer-only party in January
  • Coffee/tea

Diamonds and White Cotton Gloves

London’s Natural History Museum closed its exhibition, Diamonds which opened on July 8, after police got hold of information that the diamonds were in danger of theft. The exhibition’s scheduled closing was originally set for next February.

The exhibition had a number of famous diamonds and jewellry on display:

  • The De Beers Millennium Star, a 230-carat diamond – white, pear-shaped, priceless and flawless, as well as the centrepiece of the exhibition: was mined in the Congo by De Beers in the early 1990s. “It took more than three years for the company’s cutting experts to shape the original 777-carat stone with lasers.”
  • The Steinmetz Pink, the world’s largest fancy vivid pink flawless diamond.
  • The Ocean Dream, the world’s largest naturally occurring deep blue-green diamond.
  • The Incomparable, a yellow stone cut from an 890-carat rough diamond and weighing in at 407.48 carats, the third largest cut diamond in existence.
  • R&B star Usher’s watch, which features his face in coloured diamonds.
  • A bejewelled dress worn by Samantha Mumba at the premiere of the film Spider-Man 2.

The De Beers Millennium Star had already been the target of theft in 2000 – the armed thieves were foiled by crystal replicas.

The most important thing that we want to point out is, if you look at the picture of the Millennium Star at the top of the first article, you will note that the diamond handler is wearing white cotton gloves. Just like ours.

Museums & The Web

We were mentioned on Museums & The Web!

The Museums & The Web blog (“Taking a professional look at online web initiatives launched by museums and galleries worldwide”) has been online since August and (we’re guessing) is written out of the UK. It’s a pretty good read for anyone interested in reading more about museums.

Edward Cole

This morning we received a copy of the Edward Cole DVD.

Those readers who have been with us since the beginning of this blog may recall some filming that took place at the Museum over the nights of May 15 and 16 this year.

Writer-director Thom Stitt and Producer Sam Kim, both students at the Vancouver Film School, sent us the DVD along with a thank you note.

The students transformed the Venosta into The Vestige, “The last train to the end of the world,” during the long nights of filming.

The students made good use of the Venosta‘s sleeping compartments and mock-dining car: the whole car looks very mysterious. They also managed to get the rocking of a real train: our railar rests on tracks that don’t go anywhere.

Their website doesn’t have much yet, but check it out in upcoming weeks.

More Filming at the Museum

From the October-November and December-January editions of the Station Telegram:

Below are all known appearances of the Museum and its contents in film and television. If anything is missing, let us know and we’ll update this timeline.

1989: Narrow Margin, starring Gene Hackman, used artifacts from the Museum as props.

Fall 1990: MacGyver used the Station and the Venosta for an episode.

January 1991: Six Port Moody Secondary students use the Museum office as a backdrop for a mystery; film entered in the 1991 BC Film Festival.

July 1991: Paradigm Films’ Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, starring Charles Bronson and Ed Asner, uses our baggage cart, suitcases, chests, wooden barrels, and lamps as props.

October 1994: Paramount Pictures’ The Marshall used some of our “railway” props.

February 29, 2000: Red’s Classic Theatre presented Sex, Lies and Videotape from the Museum.

December 2001: The Museum appeared in a Toyota commercial.

Fall 2003: Morse Telegraphy: How It Changed the World was filmed at the Port Moody Station Museum. Morse Telegraph Club President Lavina Shaw wrote: “It has been distributed to all the Morse Telegraph Club Chapters across North America and is shown to a large number of student groups attending the Samuel B. Morse Museum in Poughkeepsie, NY and the Alfred Vail Museum (Speedwell) at Morristown, NJ, as well as other railway museums in the USA and Canada.”

September 8, 2004: Electric Playground films Reviews on the Run at the Museum.

September 20, 2004: Shaw TV’s The Express filmed at the Museum.

October 23, 2004: CityTV also filmed the first of their five-part Halloween special at the Museum for their news hour (aired October 25) featuring Curator/Manager Jim Millar recounting the manifestations of our resident ghost.

May 15-17, 2005: Edward Cole, written and directed by Vancouver Film School student Thom Stitt, is filmed in the Venosta, which becames The Vestige.

June 20, 2005: Shaw TV’s ICTV filmed interview with Museum staff and volunteer.

June 29, 2005: Shaw TV’s The Express filmed at the Museum.

October 8, 2005: Shaw TV’s ICTV filmed the launch of the Heritage Tour of Inlet Trail.

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The Station Telegram is the newsletter of the Port Moody Heritage Society. We send it out bimonthly to all our members.

Film Pictures

When we were researching hauntings for the Dark Side of Port Moody Bus Tours, the Honourary President of the Port Moody Heritage Society, Al Sholund, passed on some photos to me.

The photos, as you will see below, were taken of the exterior of the Port Moody Station Museum during the filming of a movie. The station fronted as the outside of a bar, with interior shots in what is currently Charlie’s Mexican Restaurant on St Johns Street. (It was in the latter location that film crews had problems with a ghost.)

This is our altered front entrance:

Film Pic 1

We had a good laugh over this shot of the “Night Owl” pub – you can still see the CPR Telegraphs sign:

Film Pic 2

Here’s the Night Owl pub sign:

Film Pic 3

And a final picture of the altered station:

Film Pic 4

Al can’t remember what movie this was from. We’ve had quite a few shot here. If anyone knows from what movie these pictures came, please let us know!

Trains and Honey

Port Moody is sunny after a month of non-stop rain. This is bringing people in to the Museum.

This morning, for example, we had a father come in with two children. The father looked at the blue washing machine in the Freight Shed and said that he used to get his fingers caught in the wringer.

The son asked us if the telegraph was difficult to use. We told him that, like anything else, it takes practice to master the skill.

“Like Lego!” he said.

Then his little sister asked, “Do trains make honey?”

Huh?

She pointed out to some of the pipes from the Ioco Refinery that we have on dislay: the tar on them glistened with a honey-sort-of-look.

Antique Roadshow

On November 13, we had our third antique roadshow of the year. Like the ones people are most familiar with on TV, we hire local appraiser Al Bowen to come in for an afternoon. Our appraisal shows, started in 2003, are rather popular here in the Tri-Cities, with almost all of them sold out.

Al Bowen, with a great sense of humour, doesn’t just tell you the monetary value of a work. He goes over its history, puts it in perspective to larger historical events and gives advice on how to care for the antique.

At this last show, Al really nailed in that everyone should be diligent about using acid-free paper. The danger otherwise is discolouration and fading.

Then there is the fact that an item’s value goes up if it is kept with its pair or in its set. One lady brought in a statuette, whose companion piece went to her sister. Families tend to lose things, is the lesson we inferred.

Al also applauded a lady who kept her great-great-grandfather’s sword together with his photo (again it adds to the value of the sword), but added that she should write down the stories passed to her as well.

We saw some very interesting antiques: a sketchbook from 1920s Shanghai, a Russian enamel cigar case, jasperware, a travelling medical kit, a coronation album, and other beautiful heirlooms. A personal favourite was the series of dogs playing poker. We’ll write more about that later.