NWPL Heritage Photo Tour

NWPL Historic Photo Database

New Westminster Archives Database



The historical photograph collection of the New Westminster Public Library is a dynamic resource of over 3300 black and white photographs. Aspects of life in the Royal City are chronicled back to 1858 under a wide variety of topics including: buildings, houses, streets, portraits, social life and customs, views from the Fraser River, and the waterfront.


Our photograph collection has grown through donations from individuals and businesses including newspapers and photography studios. We have also acquired photographs from other institutions such as museums, archives and libraries. Other online photo collections can be found at: B.C. Archival Information Network, B.C. Archives, Langley Centennial Museum Historical Photographs, National Archives of Canada, City of Vancouver Archives, Vancouver Public Library's Historical Photographs


Bovill, Wheatley
Bovill, William
Bovill Brothers
Claudet, Francis George
Okamura, Paul
Thompson, Stephen Joseph
Thompson & Bovill
Timms, Philip T.

Wadds, David
Wadds, George Thomas
Wadds Brothers
Welsh, Howard Milton
Welsh & Co.
Wintemute, George (scroll down to locate name)
Withrow, David

For updated information on New Westminster and other British Columbian photographers, please consult David Mattison's excellent web site, Camera Workers: 1858-1950.

If you cannot locate what you are looking for use site:cameraworkers.davidmattison.com in a google search to run a general keyword search of the entire website.


The photograph collection serves a wide audience. It is a rich academic resource for students, writers, researchers, historians and educators. Our photographs have been used in motion pictures, television shows, print advertisements, commercial calendars, works of art and many other creative endeavours. Any use of our photographs whether in electronic or print format should always include a proper credit (e.g. Photograph courtesy of the New Westminster Public Library). The credit should also include the photographer’s name and the Library's accession number for the photo (e.g. NWPF photo no. 1865).


Heritage Web Site
The photographs, for which we own copyright, are on the Library’s Heritage Web Site. The search tool for the photo database allows you to search by subject. Click off the images box for thumbnail images. Click on thumbnails for larger images. Images are scanned at a high resolution and may be captured from the Web Site. All these digitized on-line photographs may be freely copied with the proviso that proper credit is given to the New Westminster Public Library. Photographs for which we do not own copyright are not online but may be looked at in the Library. For prints of these, the originating institutions should be contacted. This option respects copyright and ensures that the best possible copy is obtained.

Although the majority of our photographs are available online, to access the entire Historical Photograph Collection users must come into the Library. The in-house search tool is a card catalogue system that is searchable by accession number, subject, date (chronological), personal name, and photographer.

Copyright Issues

Copyrighted materials from such sources as the Vancouver City Archives, Vancouver Public Library, Notman Photographic Archives and the British Columbia Provincial Archives may be looked at in the Library but not copied. The original source must be contacted for reproduction or permission to use the image. The name and accession number of the original source is on the back of the photograph and should be noted for future reference.


The Library can arrange to have a photograph scanned where no copyright restrictions exist. Have the librarian check the photograph's source for verification of whether or not it can be scanned. Please check with the librarian regarding current cost for image scanning. Additional payment is required for services such as mailing and postage charges for out-of-town orders. Permission fees are waived. The prices are subject to change.

Scanning unavailable September 2017 until further notice due to renovations. We apologize for any inconvenience.

For further inquiries telephone 604-527-4665 or e-mail the Reference Department: askus@nwpl.ca