THIRKELL, Fred




Author Tags: Photography

Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion have made numerous books in the historical postcard genre.

Fred Thirkell was born and educated in Vancouver, graduating from King Edward High School and UBC. His long-time enthusiasm for collecting early postcards, especially those relating to Vancouver and the Fraser Valley before the First World War, reflected his keen interest in local history. Born in 1930, he died in July of 2009, two months after the release of his eighth book, Greetings from British Columbia, A Journey in Vintage Postcards, co-authored with Bob Scullion.

Bob Scullion was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was one of the first group of shipbuilding apprentices selected to attend Outward Bound’s Moray Sea School at Burghead, Scotland. Having grown up in Glasgow, Britain’s best-preserved Victorian city, Bob shared Fred’s appreciation of cities and their history. Three of their titles won City of Vancouver Heritage Awards and their work celebrated some of the city's fine photographers like Frank Gowan, Philip Timms and G.A. Barrowclough.

Also by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion:

Breaking News: The Postcard Images of George Alfred Barrowclough (Heritage House 2004), ISBN 13: 9781894384674 ISBN 10: 1894384679.

British Columbia 100 Years Ago: Portraits of a Province, (Heritage House 2002), ISBN: 1-894384-49-0.

Vancouver and Beyond: During the Golden Age of Postcards, 1900-1914 (Heritage House 2000), ISBN 13: 9781894384155 ISBN 10: 1894384156.

Places Remembered: Greater Vancouver, New Westminster, and the Fraser Valley (Heritage House 1997), ISBN 10: 1895811295.

Postcards from the Past: Edwardian Images of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley (Heritage House 1996), ISBN 13: 9781895811230
ISBN 10: 1895811236.

Frank Gowen's Vancouver (Heritage)

Philip Timms' Vancouver

[BCBW 2009] "Photography"


Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Philip Timm's Vancouver: 1900-1910

Breaking News
Press Release (2004)



In the years before the First World War, the daily papers used very few news photographs, as the technology had not been developed to the point where photos could be used on short notice in any significant number. By contrast, the postcard photographer could have his news photographs on the street the day after an event took place. George Alfred Barrowclough was one of these photographers.

Barrowclough had the eye of an artist and the nose of a newsman. His images of Vancouver and surrounding areas differ from those of the other postcard photographers of his day in that they are more people-centred and action-oriented. More often than not, they illustrate the lives of those who lived in and around Vancouver in the decade before the Great War.

Drawing on 140 photographic postcards that Barrowclough produced between 1908 and 1912, award-winning authors Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion have selected images for this book that reflect the photographer’s focus on people and events, action and reaction. -- Heritage House



Philip Timms' Vancouver 1900-1910
Review (2007)



Known for his famous photo of lifeguard Joe Fortes diving into English Bay and a snow-covered scene of horse-drawn vehicles at Georgia & Granville (now used for the Vancouver Public Library for its Christmas card), pioneer photographer Philips Timms was the Fred Herzog of his era.

With images collected by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Philip Timm’s Vancouver, 1900-1910 (Heritage 2007 $39.95) reflects Vancouver and its environs (Burnaby, Britannia, Steveston, Eburne, Port Moody, New Westminster) from one century before, often incorporating scenes of everyday life.

“Philips Simms was something of a Renaissance man,” write Thirkell and Scullion, “with interests stretching into the realms of science, nature and natural history.” A life-long bachelor and vegetarian, Simms was also an ardent musician and amateur anthropologist who dearly wished to serve as the city’s first archivist.

Chiefly employed in a printing business (Alpha Press) started by his older brother, Philip Timms lived mostly at 1842 Charles Street near Commercial Drive. He eventually donated his folding Gundlach-Manhattan Optical Company camera, made in 1902, to the Vancouver Museum in 1968 and died in Burnaby in 1973.

In order to best represent Timms’ work, Thirkell and Scullion meticulously selected the images for this book from more than 800 of Timms’ original picture postcards.