Skip to content

Creech Lithographs of New Westminster

February 29, 2012

City of New Westminster – Before the Fire of 1898 – WR Creech Lithograph

City of New Westminster - Before the Fire

William R Creech produced two lithographic  illustrations of the City of New Westminster.  The above, entitled City of New Westminster, before the Fire, is of interest because  the view is from opposite the city, just downriver from the South Westminster Ferry Landing, and the ferry steamer Surrey is visible in the picture at its berth on the city side, below the end of 4th Street. (Draw a straight line up from the shack  on this side.) Just above the ferry can be seen the Queen’s Hotel and the Burr Block, the two buildings which the ferry Surrey will be instrumental in saving from the flames on September 10, 1898.

The lithographer, William Robert Creech, worked at the British Colonist newspaper  in Victoria in the 1890’s, and after moving to Vancouver was a lithographer with the Daily Province and later a salesman with the Noble Advertising Agency.   WR Creech died in 1910.

Creech’s second lithograph, below, is entitled City of New Westminster, in Flames, Sept. 10, 1898. In the picture the limits of the fire are clearly delineated, with the Burr Block and Queen’s Hotel on the right side, escaping the flames.  It was not good fortune, but the result of hard work by the pump-equipped river ferry Surrey and members of the Vancouver Fire Department, who rushed to New Westminster to help out.  (The Surrey is not depicted in the picture, likely not drawn ‘live’, but after the fact.  For more about the Surrey as a fire-boat see previous posts “River-front fire engine” and “Finest Hour.”)

City of New Westminster in Flames – Sept 10, 1898 – WR Creech Lithograph
City of New Westminster, in Flames, Sept 10, 1898

One of the boats shown on the river would be the Robert Dunsmuir, Captain Rogers,  which, having just arrived at dock when the fire broke out, still had a head of steam and was able to escape out into the stream. Other vessels at the waterfront could not be started and were cut loose, only adding to the disaster as they caught fire and rather than drifting midstream, floated down along the waterfront, torching the wharves as they went.

As shown here, the second illustration  is of a higher resolution and will bear close scrutiny if selected by clicking on it. Both lithographs are from the collections of Archives Canada.

The two Creech lithographs were produced for sale at the newsstand of E  Galloway & Co, The Arcade, Hastings & Cambie, Vancouver.E Galloway & Co - Arcade Newsstand & Book Exchange - 1899 Arcade Building  -  Hastings & Cambie -  NW corner on right -  1898

Arcade Newsstand Vancouver

No comments yet


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s