The Hamber family fonds photographs have been digitized and are now available through the Archives’ online database. This particular fonds contains over 2,000 photographs spanning approximately 1850 to 1985. The photographs capture various aspects of the lives and activities of the Hamber and Hendry families but focus primarily on the lives of Eric Hamber, who was the 15th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and his wife Aldyen (Hendry) Hamber.
Aldyen Irene Hendry was born in New Westminster in 1885 to John and Adaline (McMillan) Hendry. She was an only child. Her father was president and general manager of the British Columbia Mills Timber and Trading Company, which until its purchase by John Hendry and Associates in 1890, was known as the Hastings Mill.
Eric Werge Hamber was born in Parkdale, Manitoba in 1879 to Frederick and Ada (Jefferson) Hamber. He earned his BA at the age of 19 from the University of Manitoba and began his career with the Dominion Bank. He moved to Vancouver in 1907 to open a new branch for the bank.
Eric and Aldyen married in London, England, in 1912, where Eric was establishing the London branch of the Dominion Bank. Shortly after their wedding, the couple returned to Canada, and Eric joined John Hendry’s company. Four years later, John Hendry died, and Hamber took over as the president and general manager of the BC Mills Timber and Trading Company. He remained in this role, overseeing the selling of the mill site in 1925 to the Vancouver Harbour Commission, and liquidating the remaining parts of the business by 1930. Hamber went onto serve on the boards of many influential companies, such as the Canadian Pacific Railway, Crown Zellerbach and the Toronto General Trust.
In 1936, Hamber officially was appointed Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, a position he held until 1941. Three years after his tenure at Government House, he was appointed Chancellor of UBC, where he served until 1951.
Eric Hamber died on January 10, 1960. Aldyen died twenty-eight years later, in 1988 at the age of 103.
The photographs, in addition to the more official or formal portraits of the Hambers, include photos of Eric’s athletic activities, the Hamber’s ranch Minnekhada (now Metro Vancouver’s Minnekhada Regional Park), yacht the Vencedor, racing sloop the Lady Van, as well as many shots of family and friends. Some of the more informal photographs in this fonds are stunning with their interesting framing and use of a shallow depth of field.
A side story of the Vencedor
The Vencedor was built in England in 1913 as an iron-hulled training ship for the British Navy, and at that time named the HMS Exmouth II. It was a three-masted schooner with an auxiliary steam engine. Naval ships were transitioning from wind-powered to engine-powered at the time, and as such, naval officers were trained to sail both.
After serving as a naval vessel, the Vencedor was bought by Captain J.W. Hobbs and brought to the West Coast in the late 1920s. Captain Hobbs removed the central mast and converted her into a diesel yacht. Eric Hamber purchased her in 1930. For the next decade, the Vencedor was the venue for many grand parties, as well as a retreat for the Hambers. During World War II, Hamber turned the Vencedor over to the Royal Canadian Navy, who commissioned her. She was based out of Esquimalt during this time. After the war, the Vencedor was de-commissioned and returned to the Hambers. In 1951, Eric Hamber sold the Vencedor to the Canadian Fishing Company. The company planned to convert her into a fish packer vessel, but in the end sold her to a private buyer. In 1996, the Vencedor’s registry was closed.
In addition to many shots of the Vencedor and of the parties hosted onboard, the Hamber family fonds also includes three cocktail recipes: Vencedor Gin, Vencedor Scotch, and Special Martini (sweet). Here are the details:
If anyone knows the ultimate fate of the Vencedor, please let us know!