Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Royal Engineers[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]



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  • Name Royal Engineers  
    Gender Unknown 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) BC; Esquimalt; Victoria  1858-1863 Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Association Bruce, Henry (Relationship: Member (non-photographer)) 
    Association Davis, Joseph (Relationship: Member (non-photographer)) 
    Association Vipond, Arthur (Relationship: Non-member) 
    Association Wilson, Charles William (Relationship: Member) 
    Association Lempriere, Arthur Reid (Relationship: Member) 
    Person ID I78  Camera Workers | R, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 7 Jan 2017 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Institutional (visit).
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: The first Sappers were taught photography in 1856 by Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-1868) at the Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). A survey team of Royal Engineers arrived at Esquimalt in Jul 1858 to mark the boundary between the Canada west of the Rocky Mountains to the Georgia Strait (the 49th parallel). Among their numbers was one photographer who deserted in the spring of 1859 to the U.S. Also with this group was a civilian photographer, Arthur Vipond, who had trained in 1857-1858 under Thurston Thompson.

      Two more Sappers trained in photography arrived as replacements in Oct 1859 and practiced with the equipment by photographing in and around Victoria. Charles Wilson, in the field near Chilliwack, mentions taking photographs in Oct 1859. Most of the photographs taken in 1860-1861 were made in the Fort Vancouver, Cascades and Dalles area of Washington and Oregon.

      In addition to the boundary survey team, the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers was stationed at New Westminster, Colony of British Columbia, from Dec 1858 to 1863. Lieutenant A.R. Lempriere was in charge of the photographic department of this detachment. His work included copy photography of maps along with documentation of survey and road building work. The photographic department also took general landscape views and portraits.

      Joseph Davis and Henry Bruce were two other Sappers who practiced photography; the former after he resigned and the latter before he arrived in BC. Both men sailed with the Royal Engineers as carpenters.

  • Sources 
    1. [S46] COLLECTION: BVIPA.

    2. [S152] COLLECTION: OOA.

    3. [S170] COLLECTION: VAM.

    4. [S173] COLLECTION: YUL.

    5. [S511] Woodward (1974-75), Frances M. Woodward, (BC Studies no. 24 (Winter 1974-75):3-51).

    6. [S203] Birrell (1975), Birrell, Andrew J., (Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1975).

    7. [S208] Birrell (1981-82), Birrell, Andrew, (BC Studies no. 52 (Winter 1981-82):39-60).

    8. [S592] Mattison (1989), David Mattison, (History of Photography 13, no. 3 (July-September 1989):223-233).

    9. [S692] Correspondence, David Mattison.
      Letter, Frances Woodward to Mattison, 1981 10 02.

    10. [S883] Royal Engineers and Associates Living History Group (Web site).