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Series S352 - City Electrician's files

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

City Electrician's files

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents.

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Series

Reference code

COV-S352

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Edition statement

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1904-1960 (Creation)
    Creator
    Vancouver (B.C.). Electrical Department

Physical description area

Physical description

0.19 m of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1892-1966)

Administrative history

With the incorporation of the city, numerous services and utilities quickly developed. The introduction of electrical street lighting was one of the first steps to be taken by City Council. The Standing Committee on Fire, Water and Light was in charge of this area and oversaw the installation of twenty electric lights approved by Council on November 22nd, 1886. Initially, this committee maintained control over the city’s electrical system.

As the city grew, it became apparent that an official was needed to regulate and oversee the developing electrical systems, both public and private. On May 30th, 1892, the City Council passed Bylaw #143 to regulate the wiring and equipment used in all buildings in the city. The bylaw also called for the appointment of an electrical wiring inspector to enforce the regulations. The first inspector (C. F. Hutchings) was hired on April 28, 1893.

In June 1904, the position title was changed from Electric Wiring Inspector to City Electrician. It was also around this time that the increasing workload necessitated the expansion of the department: assistant electricians were hired, as well as an Assistant City Electrician.

The functions of the department included maintaining the fire and police alarm systems so it was appropriate that the department reported to the Fire and Police Committee from 1902 to 1928. As well as looking after the alarm systems, the department continued to inspect all wiring installations in the city and oversaw the development and maintenance of street lighting. The governing bylaw was repealed in August 1912 and replaced by Bylaw #924. The new regulations officially declared the existence of the Electrical Department as well as updating the technical information.

During the years from 1912 to 1934, when Charles H. Fletcher was City Electrician, the department was divided into three sections: Electric Inspection, Ornamental Street Lighting, and Fire Alarm and Police Patrol Systems. These sections remained the basis for administering the department for the rest of its existence.

In 1937, a new standing committee was formed to oversee the work of the Electrical Department. The Harbours, Utilities and Airport Committee, renamed the Utilities and Airport Committee in 1949, served as the controlling committee for the department until 1956. At that time, the committee structure was drastically altered and the Board of Administration took over regulation of many departments.

The final administrative change for the Electrical Department occurred in 1966. The former City Electrician, Lorne Ryan, had been promoted to the position of Administrator on the Board of Administration in February 1965. At that time, it was decided that the Electrical Department should become a division of the Engineering Department. One of the major catalysts for this change was accommodating for the institution of a Permits and Licenses Department; this department (which was officially established in 1967) was to be given responsibility for all inspection services. As a result, inspection functionality being so transferred, the remainder of work in the Electrician’s Department would be essentially engineering in nature, and the City Engineer therefore recommended that the Electrical Department be set up as a division of the Engineering Department. This occurred officially in November of 1966.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Series consists of subject files which include correspondence, reports, tables and technical drawings; financial and inspection record books; one set of drawings; and photocopied minutes of the Technical Planning Board's Zoning and Real Estate Sub-committee (1951-1960). Filing units are arranged by starting year.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the department in 1974.

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list available.

Associated materials

For additional subject files of electrical offices (in a more complete set) see series 348.

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