Life on First Narrows Lighthouse and Fog Station c. 1915+

Capilano Lighthouse behind the Empress of Japan - photo Dudley Booth

 

– a letter written by Dorothy Mawdsley (Harris) Harrop (daughter of first light keeper, George Alfred Harris, at Capilano 1915 – 1925),  with special thanks to Alfred Harrop, grandson of George Alfred Harrop, for letting me post the text of the letter.

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This letter is a bit long, as people were prone to write a lot before the advent of computers. If you have the time, this is a fascinating story of life way back then. – JAC

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Perhaps my grandchildren will take time to read this when I am long gone. We came to Vancouver  in 1909. I had just turned my 13th birthday. My father could not get work of any description. He had a Chief Engineer Ticket from Liverpool [UK]  but owing to the B.C. laws he was not allowed to work as an engineer even on a small tug in the inlet. It must have been very hard on both my father and my mother.  Continue reading

Life at First Narrows (aka Capilano) c. 1913

– Dorothy Mawdsley (Harris) Harrop (daughter of first light keeper, George Alfred Harris, at Capilano 1913 – 1925) (with special thanks to Alfred Harrop, grandson of George Alfred Harris, for letting me post the text of the letter.) 

First Narrows c. 1920 - photo Dudley Booth

[Father (George Alfred Harris)]. . . was given the First Narrows Light and Fog Station. I cannot remember but have a notion it was end of april 1915 when he took over. The light was first used May 17,1915 the day after my 17th birthday. The fog horn was started June 1, 1915. 

It must have been rather hard him living there by himself. I do not know the dimensions of the lighthouse but it was full of engines. Two engines were the same and were there in case one broke down, then an air compressor which was linked with belts to pulleys from the engine to the wall and then up to a higher pulley and across to the compressor, hence by pipes to the fog horns.  Continue reading

In Memorium – George Alfred Harris (1858 – 1925)

Leaving England in 1909, George Harris ( – March 16, 1925) moved to British Columbia for a new life. He had a Chief Engineer’s ticket from Liverpool but he had to sit for his 3rd and 2nd class Engineering tickets again because his Liverpool papers were not valid in B.C. He worked a few years as an officer on the steam tug S.S. “Proctor” on Trout Lake south of Revelstoke, B.C. He started working as an Engineer at the Anvil Island Brick Company in June 1913 but a week or two later he was given the First Narrows Light and Fog Station. He replaced Alex M. Rood who had left the station May 13, 1913. He worked alone on station as there was only room for a cot in the engine room. Later a house was erected for the keeper and his family which adjoined the lighthouse building. He became ill in Fall 1924 and died on station March 16, 1925. His wife, Dorothy, took over the running of the station until relieved by Alfred Dickenson in December 1925. – Dorothy Mawdsley (Harris) Harrop (daughter of first light keeper, George Alfred Harris of First Narrows Light) – Thanks to Alf and Maxine Harrop for permission to print. Alf is the grandson of George Harris.

To include your memories in George’s memorial please click this link.