Series GR-3293 - Engineering photographs

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Engineering photographs

General material designation

  • graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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Dates of creation area


  • [ca. 1913-1954] (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Public Works

Physical description area

Physical description

1.5 m of graphic material (ca. 5586 photographs)

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Biographical history

The Dept. of Public Works was established in 1908 with the enactment of the Department of Public Works Act (SBC 1908, c. 41). The Dept. of Public Works was a successor to the Lands and Works Dept. The mandate of the Dept. of Public Works included construction and maintenance of government offices and buildings, public highways, bridges, wharves, river-bank protection, and maintenance of ferry and steamboat services.

In 1947 the work of the department was divided into district offices, an Architect’s Branch, Accounting Branch, Engineering Branch, and Equipment Branch. The department was also responsible for boiler inspection and electrical energy inspection.

In 1955, the responsibility for highways was transferred to the newly formed Dept. of Highways. At this time, the Dept. of Public Works, under the revised Department of Public Works Act (SBC 1955, c. 65), consisted of the Architectural Branch, Boiler Inspection Division, Electrical Energy Inspection Division, and Gas Inspection Division.

In 1975 the Dept. of Public Works was dissolved and its functions were merged with the functions of the Dept. of Highways to form the Dept. of Highways and Public Works (OIC 3842/75).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of photographs of engineering projects managed by the Dept. of Public Works. The photographs were held in the Office of the Senior Bridge Design Engineer and consist of both prints and negatives. The projects photographed include bridges, roads, ferries, machinery, damage, buildings, topography, culverts, miscellaneous structures, portraits, signs, events and accidents. While almost all of the photographs were taken in British Columbia ca. 1913-1954, there are also photographs of engineering projects in the United States. The photographs, including negatives, were kept in envelopes, either large or small, and were filed by a three part number system. The first part of the number refers to a map square, the second part of the number refers to the classification and the third part is the project number. Details about the project were typed on the envelopes along with the file number. Each envelope contains photographs and negatives of that particular project and each photograph has an individual number, usually a sub-set of the file number.

A card index was used to manage the photographs, see the series Index to engineering photographs. As photographs were taken or acquired, they would be entered in the card index and added to the appropriate envelope. Occasionally photographs were removed by Public Works staff and never returned.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from the Department of Public Works ca. 1976.


Negatives and colour prints have been removed from envelopes with black and white prints, and placed in acid free folders.

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Restrictions on access

  • No access restrictions apply.
  • Conservation restriction: material in cool or cold storage is inaccessible.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright belongs to the Government of British Columbia.

Associated materials

Related series include: Index to engineering photographs GR-3292.

Related materials


No further accruals expected.

General note

Accession number(s): 198203-024


Graphic material may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

Physical description

Includes 4268 photographs : b&w, 3 photographs : col. and 1315 photographs : b&w negatives.

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Physical storage

  • Box: 000705-0001
  • Box: 000705-0010
  • Box: 000705-0011
  • Box: 000705-0012
  • Box: 000705-0013
  • Box: 000705-0014
  • Box: 000705-0016
  • Box: 000705-0018