“Industrial Britannia” (ca. 1926)

This film footage, showing aspects of the Britannia Mine operations in and around Britannia Beach, B.C., was shot ca. 1926 by mine manager Carleton P. Browning.  It is one of the 43 film reels (about 7,100 feet) which comprise the Browning family fonds at the BC Archives.

Mr. Browning’s amateur footage, shot between 1926 and 1941, mainly documents community life at Britannia Beach, including May Day and Dominion Day celebrations, picnics, skating parties, and other recreational activities. There is also considerable footage devoted to the Browning family and their friends. One reel, “PGE Quesnel Cariboo Mines” (1933) shows various mining operations and communities in the Cariboo Region. The fonds as a whole provides an interesting glimpse into the life of a self-contained mining community during the Depression.

This reel, which Browning entitled “Industrial Britannia”, focuses on the mine and mining operations.  The description on the original film container read as follows:

Lady Alexandra [Union Steamship vessel]. Freight wharf – scrap scow – shipping sound. Beach camp office – store – mill. Ore train. Tunnel camp. Mr. Whitaker (Mining Cons[ultant]) and Moore (Mine Supt.). Outise mining in Glory Hole. Whitaker and Moore at Barber Camp. Top of Britannia Mine. Smoke from blast and outside work. Miners coming off shift. Joggling down the track aboard a train. Ore train and big 40-ton loco[motive]. Ore train entering mill. Inside the mill – conveyors, rollers, tube mills, filters. Munto (Mill Supt.).  In the yard – whistle time, steno[graphers].

The Browning family film collection was transferred to the archives in 1985-1987 by the B.C. Museum of Mining.

Miners coming off shift at the Britannia Mine, ca. 1926. (Digital frame grab from V1989:48/001.01 item #3.)

Miners coming off shift at the Britannia Mine, ca. 1926. (Digital frame grab from V1989:48/001.01 item #3.)

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