Fonds AM1 - Bell-Irving family collection

Train load of canned salmon on dockside track American Can Company businessmen in front of Sanbom-Cutting Co. shed Interior of cannery with women and children working at machines Cannery with an fish processing machine in the foreground Houses on waterfront site by cannery Men unloading salmon from scow at dockside 3327 cases of salmon stacked for shipment by P.E. Harris & Co. via S.S. Victoria from False Pass Cases of salmon stacked at train depot Cases of salmon stacked at Philadelphia train depot Three parked cars bearing advertisements for canned salmon, T.A. James Specialty Corp. Interior of cannery Interior of cannery Corridor of office building Interior of cannery Cannery at waterside location Cannery at waterside location Cannery at waterside location Cannery at waterside location Cannery at waterside location Fishing scow "Fir Leaf" at wharf of cannery Workers unloading fish from fishing scow Arrandale cannery and buildings along wharf with floating dock and boats 10th Convention : Northwest Canners Association at American Can Co. : Portland, Oregon : Jan. 2-4... Henry Ogle Bell-Irving [Group of school girls, possible Crofton House] Interior of the Strands Cadet Corps at University School Duncan, No. 7 Squadron observer No. 1 Squadron pilot and observer ready to take off Captain Bell-Irving engaging three of the enemy's aeroplanes Mick on sick leave, with an aunt Actress Rose Lewis with a dog Duncan and Isabel at Lady Ridley's F.F. "Ferdie" Waldron and R. Smith-Barry The Morane Saulnier Biplane No. 5167 Mick and his observer Hastings Boles of No. 1 Squadron Duncan's Morane Bullet 186 Captain Bell-Irving, although seriously wounded lands his aeroplane safely Captain Summers, Duncan, Frank Goodrich and dog A modern view of the site of the airfield at Savy Berlette Captain Albert Ball and spinner Close view of Le Prieur rockets on Nieuport 16 N959, after capture by the Germans Roderick and his best man, Duncan Isabel Bell-Irving's wedding to Ben Sweeney Captain Moore, Major Smith-Barry, Captain Parker, and Mrs. Kitty Smith-Barry Duncan about to take up one of the four Tiger Moths given to II Squadron at the Vancouver Airport Duncan and Pye, with Elizabeth, Peter, Patricia and Gordon Patricia, Duncan, Gordon, and Pye Pilot trainees at Number 4 Service Flying Training School Arrandale cannery and buildings along wharf with floating dock and boats

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Bell-Irving family collection

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  • Photograph

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  • 2.6 m of textual records
  • 145 photographs

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Biographical history

The Bell-Irving family were descendants of Henry Bell Irving, a Glasgow, Scotland merchant. Bell Irving resided in Millbank, Dumfries County, and in 1851 he married Williamina McBean Irving. The couple had seven children, two of whom established the family in Vancouver. The eldest son, Henry Ogle Bell-Irving (1856-1931) and his brother, Dr. Duncan Bell-Irving, moved to Granville in 1885. The family retained properties in Scotland, which were administered by a trust after the death of Henry Bell Irving in or before 1863.

In Vancouver, Henry Ogle Bell-Irving went on to found and operate a number of prominent Vancouver businesses, including Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company and Bell-Irving Insurance. Dr. Duncan Bell-Irving practiced medicine in Vancouver for many years; in 1900 he joined his brother's firm, H. Bell-Irving Co. Ltd.

Custodial history

Transferred, in part, from the Centennial Museum.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of primarily of the records of Henry Ogle Bell-Irving, including his diaries (1889-1930), a deed book (1887-1894), address books, scrapbooks (1903-1931), a file of loose clippings which includes a copy of schedule of sundry personal assets and property of H. Bell-Irving (1930), letter-books (1861-1930), and business records of various Bell-Irving firms, including audited accounts and annual reports, A.B.C. Packing Co. Ltd. Vancouver and London (1891-1911), minute books and annual financial reports of the Bell-Irving Insurance Agencies Ltd., (1920-1973), clippings (1920-1931), and the Pacific Fisherman Yearbook (1935).

Also included are three scrapbooks of salmon can labels, summary statistics on company canneries and on the B.C. salmon canning industry, and an H. Bell-Irving and Co. Private Cipher Code (1912) and annual financial reports. There is also material relating to the management of the estate of Henry Bell Irving in Scotland. This includes document copy books, financial reports, a journal, a ledger and a cash book. Also included is a family tree compiled in ca. 1980 and a logbook dated 1907-1909 from the "Beatrice". Photographs depict workers and a group portrait of industry businessmen. Other photographs pertain primarily to Duncan Bell-Irving's aviation career during World War 1 and to the wartime experiences of his brothers Malcolm (Mick), Roderick and Richard who were also officers, and sister Isabel, a volunteer nurse in a London military hospital.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Records donated by Mrs. Elizabeth O'Keily and Mr. Gordon Bell-Irving.


Photographs in this fonds have been assigned item numbers with the prefix "CVA 355" or "CVA 1158".

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Related records include the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company fonds (AM870) and the Duncan Bell-Irving fonds (AM1158).

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General note

The fonds includes records from separate accruals formerly identified and described as AM1, AM485 and AM592; citations for these records should use only AM1.

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