Fonds PR-0260 - Star Shipyard (Mercers) Ltd. fonds

Fish boat builders, Columbia River type Nitinat Arauco II, built by Star Shipyard Big Mac Black Bird II, formerly General Lake, built By Star Shipyard Company Blue Pacific No. 1, built by Star Shipyard Company Bobbie, built by Star Shipyard Company Caamano Sound, built by Star Shipyard Company Eastward Ho, built by Star Shipyard Company E.D. Stone, built by Star Shipyard Company Evco Wave, built by Star Shipyard Company Fraser Pilot No. 1, built by Star Shipyard Company Gavia, built by Star Shipyard Company General Lake, built by Star Shipyard Company Gillspray, built by Star Shipyard Company Hilunga, built by Star Shipyard Company John Antle, built by Star Shipyard Company Lorne Yorke, built by Star Shipyard Company R.C.M.P. Port Alice, built by Star Shipyard Company M.P. 95, built by Star Shipyard Company M.P. 97, built by Star Shipyard Company Nitinat, built by Star Shipyard Company Pacific Prince, built by Star Shipyard Company Pender Isle, built by Star Shipyard Company P.F. Stone, built by Star Shipyard Company Prospect Point, built by Star Shipyard Company Qualicum Bay, built by Star Shipyard Company Q 126, built by Star Shipyard Company Royal City, built by Star Shipyard Company Sea Cap II, built by Star Shipyard Company
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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Star Shipyard (Mercers) Ltd. fonds

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  • textual record
  • architectural drawing
  • graphic material
  • sound recording
  • multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds

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  • 1910-1970; predominant 1940-1965 (Creation)
    Star Shipyard (Mercers) Ltd.

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Physical description

ca. 10 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

Star Shipyard (Mercers) Ltd. was founded in 1908 by two Newfoundlanders, Edward Mercer and William Mercer, who had relocated to New Westminster. Incorporated in BC (#10387), the operation was located at 61 Duncan Street, New Westminster (Queensborough), at the east end of Lulu Island. The business continued as a partnership between the two brothers until 1927 when it was reorganized on a limited liability basis after Edward Mercer's sons, W. E. Arthur Mercer and Gordon Archibald Mercer, purchased their uncle's share.

Star Shipyard constructed wooden and steel vessels up to approximately 170 feet (52 meters) in length. They specialized in fishing boats, sternwheelers, tugs and scows for the coastal trade. During the Second World War, warships and other naval craft were constructed for the British, Russian and Canadian navies. The shipyard continued as a family business until 1970 when it was sold to Grant Asplin of Fort Brie, Ontario. As of Oct. 20, 1970 it became Plimsoll Holdings Ltd. The company was dissolved on February 6, 1976.

Edward Mercer died in New Westminster on March 4, 1954. W. E. Arthur Mercer died in White Rock, B.C. on September 7, 1978. Gordon A. Mercer died in New Westminster on May 17, 1985.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the records of Star Shipyard (Mercers) Ltd. and includes textual records, photographs, architectural plans and drawings, and audio recordings. The records date from just after the founding of the company in 1908 until it was sold in 1970, however most of the records date from after the late 1930s.

Textual records include general correspondence, financial and employment records, and records concerning contracts for the construction, repair and refit of ships. These include bound office record books (journals and ledger books), which record information such as employee time worked on projects, specific construction projects or “jobs,” salary and payroll records, cheques paid out, ledgers organized by account holders, bank books, monthly time books, and annual statistics reports.

Photographs, almost all black and white, include images of ship exteriors and interiors, ship construction and repair, views of the shipyard, workers, owners, launching/christening ceremonies, dignitaries, and the New Westminster and Vancouver waterfronts. A large number of photos were produced by the Stride Studios of New Westminster.

The fonds consists of many records relating to ship launchings, including photographs, audio tapes, a radio script, invitations and event programs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were acquired in numerous accessions through donations from Gordon Mercer and W.E. Arthur Mercer


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Restrictions on access

No access restrictions apply

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Consult B.C. Archives for use, reproduction, and publication rights

Finding aids

Files lists for some of the series are available

Associated materials

Associated materials are held at the New Westminster Museum and Archives (Star Shipyard (Mercer's) Ltd. fonds).
Related materials: PR-0997 - W.E. Arthur Mercer fonds.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected

General note

Accession number(s): 197912-038; 198105-006; 198105-006; 74A-311; 74A-322; 76-007; 82-098; 82-222; 82-223; M13846; M13954; MS-0448; T4042


Sound recording originals may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

Physical description

Includes: ca. 1350 photographs, 130 architectural drawings and plans, and two sound recordings (audio reels).

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