Murray Lundberg Photography

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W. S. (Bill) Lythgoe - Photographs of British Columbia



    This page is the entry point to William Scott ("Bill") Lythgoe's very large collection of photographs of British Columbia in the 1950s and '60s. Bill was born in Hexham, England, on May 28, 1905, and died in Vancouver on March 17, 1979. He was listed as a salesman when he got married in March 1933, and was a Provincial Liquor Inspector for many years. On August 1, 1957, a certificate recognizing 25 years of continuous service to the Government of British Columbia was issued to him, and he seems to have worked until at least 1963. As a Liquor Inspector he travelled to every corner of the province, by car, rail, ship and airplane.

W. S. Lythgoe slide signatures     To the right are the backs of a couple of Bill's slides, showing the two signature styles he used - a stamp on the left, and hand-written with his address on the right.

    The collection was passed on to me by a nephew who inherited it after the death of Bill's wife in 1983, in the hope that I could bring some light to the historic importance of the images. The BC Archives has 220 of Bill's images in their collection. They haven't posted any information about him, or the collection as a whole, but it appears to be photos taken of premises he was inspecting in the late 1940s and very early 1950s - the decade before the ones I have - so may have been passed on by the Liquor Control Board. Those images can be seen here (opens in a new window). From some of the slide numbering and index cards, it appears that there are some photos missing from the series in my possession - it's not known what happened to them.

    Some main points from BC liquor laws that may help in understanding Bill's job, and the images:
        - in 1933, the government started allowing parlours to advertise their presence with the phrase "licensed premises."
        - in 1942 the Liquor Control Board ordered beer parlours to segregate men and women. Although separate doors were part of that order, they usually led into a common room.
        - in 1953, a $300 fine was enacted for beer parlour workers who served a person who was "apparently" under 21 years of age.
        - in 1954, cocktail lounges started to be allowed.

    The major part of the collection is in the form of 35mm transparencies (slides), the vast majority of which were shot on E-6 films, Anscochrome and Ektachrome. There are also hundreds of larger-format black-and-white negatives that I don't currently have a scanner capable of processing.

W. S. Lythgoe slide identification     Relatively few of the photos are of scenery - buildings were his main interest. Listed below are the communities, regions, and other subject headings that I've put the images in - this is not a complete list yet. Bill did a very good job of putting location information on the slides, using typed labels, as seen to the right (an excellent but very time-consuming way of doing it), but most have no date. As I get the slides and negatives scanned, the most important will be posted, and linked from the titles below. This won't be a quick process, but the collection excites me, and there are many images that I'd like to get into the public view sooner rather than later. I've been posting the odd one to various Web sites over the past few years, but the collection deserves to have its own home now.


  • Aerial photos
  • Aircraft
  • Alaska
  • Alaska Highway
  • Alert Bay
  • Alta Lake
  • Atlin
    Lakeview Lodge, Alaska Highway
    Lakeview Lodge, Mile 462, Alaska Highway, ca. 1963
  • Atnarko
  • Barkerville
  • Bennett
  • Bowen Island
  • Bralorne
  • Brandywine
  • Bridge River, inc. Gold Bridge, Brexton
  • Campbell River
  • Cassiar
  • Cheekye
  • Chetwynd
  • Clinton
  • Coastal scenics - aerial
  • Coastal scenics - cruising
  • Cortez Island / Squirrel Cove
  • Dawson Creek
  • Earl's Cove
  • Egmont
  • Endako
  • Firvale
  • Fort Rupert
  • Fort St. James
  • Fort St. John
  • Fort Nelson
  • Fraser Canyon
    Supermarine Stranraer at Sullivan Bay, BC, 1955
    A Supermarine Stranraer at Sullivan Bay, November 1955
  • Garibaldi
  • Gibsons
  • Halfmoon Bay
  • Hart Highway
  • Hazeltons - New, Old & South
  • Highway 16
  • Howe Sound, inc. Gambier Island
  • Hudson's Hope
  • Interior - aerial
  • Kitimat
  • Kitsault
  • Kootenay, inc. Granby, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Rossland, Trail
  • Lac La Hache
  • Lakelse
  • Likely
  • Lilloet
  • Logging - coastal
  • Lower Post
  • Lund, inc. Savary Island
  • Malcolm Island / Sointula
  • Massett
  • Minstrel Island
  • Ocean Falls
  • Pacific (Nichol Hotel)
  • PGE Railway
  • Pemberton
  • Pender Harbour, inc. Garden Bay, Irvine's Landing, Madeira Park
  • Port Alice / Rumble Beach
  • Port Essington
  • Port Hardy
  • Portland Canal
  • Port McNeill
  • Port Mellon, inc. Seaside Park
  • Pouce Coupe
  • Powell River
  • Prince George
  • Prince Rupert
  • Queen Charlotte City
  • Queen Charlotte Islands, inc Port Clements
  • Quesnel and West Quesnel
  • Red Rock / Stone Creek
    Lythgoe photo collection
    Working on the Lythgoe collection, January 2014
  • Roberts Creek
  • Rolla
  • Sandspit
  • Sechelt
  • Secret Cove
  • Selma Park
  • Seton Portage / Seton Lake
  • Shoal Bay Lodge
  • Smithers
  • Spetch
  • Squamish
  • Stewart
  • Stuart Island Lodge
  • Tahsis
  • Tasu
  • Taylor
  • Terrace
  • Texada Island inc. Vananda (Van Anda), Gillies Bay
  • Tweedsmuir Lodge
  • Vancouver
  • Vanderhoof
  • Van Winkle
  • Wells
  • Westview
  • Whistler / Mount Whistler
  • Williams Lake
  • Woodfibre
  • White Pass & Yukon Route Railway
  • Yukon