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Historically Important Original Photograph Group Portrait of the Members of the First BC Legislative Assembly at the Legislature, or "Birdcages"].
Victoria 1874 - Victoria, ca. 1874. Albumen print ca. 14,5x19,5 cm (5 ¾ x 7 ¾ in), mounted on original card; matted in a recent mat. Ink photographer's stamp "N. Shakespeare" on verso. Photo slightly faded, with minor foxing, but overall a very good strong image of this important photo. Historically important early group portrait of the members of the first Legislative Assembly of British Columbia - after BC's unification with the Dominion of Canada in 1871. The first Legislative Assembly acted from 20 November 1871 to 30 August 1875 and included 25 members. This photo shows 20 members of the Assembly (from left to right): Robert Beaven (1836-1920), John Ash (ca. 1821-1886), A. Rocke Robertson (1841-1881), John Paton Booth (ca. 1838-1902), James Robinson; Josiah Charles Hudges (1843-1886); Robert Smith; Charles Todd; John Robson (1824-1892); William Fraser Tolmie (1812-1886); William M. Brown (1838-1882); John Foster McCreight (1827-1913); George Anthony Walkem (1834-1908); William Smithe (1842-1887); John George Barnston (ca. 1838-1883); Charles Augustus Semlin (1836-1927); William Archibald Robertson (1832-1926); William James Armstrong (1826-1915); Simeon Duck (1834-1905), and James Trimble (ca. 1817-1885). The person in the background standing on the veranda is Legislature janitor George Williams (from the attribution on the base of an identical photo from UBC Special Collections). The photo includes six Premiers of BC: John Foster McCreight (1st), John Anthony Walkem (3rd and 5th), Robert Beaven (6th), William Smithe (7th), John Robson (9th), Charles A. Semlin (12th); the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly - James Trimble, the Mayor of Victoria - A. Rocke Robertson (1870) and others. The photo is dated 1874, as some of the initially elected Legislature members had already been replaced by new ones: A. Bunster and A. De Cosmos (Victoria District) had been replaced with W.A. Robertson and W.F. Tolmie (Feb. 1874); T.B. Humphreys (Lillooet District) had been replaced with W.M. Brown, et al. The BC politicians are shown in front of the Legislature, the so called "Birdcages". Built in 1859 on the south side of James Bay, across downtown Victoria, it was replaced with the current Legislature in 1894. The answer to the question about the origin of the name of the first Legislature buildings can be found in the Victoria Gazette, which in the issue from 23 October 1859 wrote: "The first of the series of these structures, which resembles in its mixed style of architecture, the latest fashion of Chinese pagoda, Swiss-cottage and Italian Villa fancy birdcages" (see: Heritage BC Stops on-line). The photographer, Noah Shakespeare arrived to Victoria in 1863, until the late 1870s he ran his own photo gallery and worked for Amor de Cosmos at the Victoria Daily Standard. In 1875 he entered politics and in 1882 he became Mayor of Victoria and also a conservative member of the Canadian Parliament the same year (see: Canadian Dictionary of Biography in-line).
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Last Found On: 2013-10-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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