Moody's photos now with museum

Col. Moody with an unidentified First Nations man, more than 150 years ago, in B.C. - ROYAL BC MUSEUM
Col. Moody with an unidentified First Nations man, more than 150 years ago, in B.C.
— image credit: ROYAL BC MUSEUM

A 150-year-old photo album owned by the military commander for whom Port Moody is named is now on display at the Royal B.C. Museum (RBCM) in Victoria.

This week, the museum unveiled the 52-page book belonging to Col. Richard Clement Moody, which it bought last December in an online auction for about $26,000.

A museum spokesperson said it was put on the block by an elderly man who had been with the Royal Navy in the U.K. and had discovered it in a flea market in the 1970s.

The 90-plus images show Moody's wife, Mary, his children, his English home and tourist pictures from France as well as some of the earliest portraits of First Nations in B.C. — although no photos of Port Moody.

During the gold rush around 1858, Moody and his Royal Engineers were tasked to clear a trail — later called North Road — from the new colony capital of New Westminster to the Burrard Inlet.

"It is wonderful that the Col. Moody album has survived and that the RBCM has acquired it," said Jim Millar of the Port Moody Station Museum. "I look forward to the opportunity to see it."

Still, Millar said the lack of photo descriptions affects its historical relevance. "I would encourage everyone to label their photos. It does make me wonder what it will be like — a 100 odd years from now — for someone trying to sort through a pile of cell phone pictures, if they exist."

The museum will digitize the Moody photographs for online viewing. Once conserved, the photos will be available for show (by appointment) at the B.C. Archives.


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