Virtual Museum of Canada
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Mill Archival Footage

These films, produced in the 1920’s and 1930’s provide a rare glimpse into the Mill when it was operational. They show a place of constant activity, and through these clips one begins to understand how the mill was able to process the huge amount of ore it did.

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In the film entitled ‘A Visit to Britannia Mines’ (1932) Britannia Beach welcomes The Earl and Countess of Bessborough. Vere Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough, was the current Governor General of Canada and traveled throughout the country extensively. At the time of the film Britannia Mines was struggling with the low price of copper and the resulting layoffs of 50% of its employees. It was stated after they had left that the trip was not a particularly happy one and did not receive glowing reviews.

British Columbia Archives, Call Number F1989:05/001

The film ‘Industrial Britannia’ (ca.1926) was filmed by Carleton Browning, one of the most important figures in the history of the mine. Browning was the general superintendent of the Britannia Mining and Smelting Company Ltd. from 1917-1948, leading Britannia through its most prosperous period. It was under his direction that the Mill was built; in addition he oversaw a new underground transportation system to replace the old inefficient surface rail lines.

British Columbia Archives, Call Number V1988:34/001, with credit to the Browning Family Collection and the B.C. Museum of Mining.

Click here for full transcriptions of all video material (Opens PDF in a new window)
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BCMM  12808. Conveyor Belt. c. 1974. BCMM 12994. Ice cover inside the Mill. 1968 BCMM: 2709. An unidentified man sits on a ball mill in Mill #3. c. 1930 BCMM: 2708. An unidentified man stands on machines in Mill #3. c. 1930 BCMM :13498. The construction of Mill #3. 1922 BCMM: 2766. An unidentified man stands on the trestle at the top of Mill# 3. c. 1930 BCMM: 13497.  The construction of Mill #3 showing the skip. 1922 BCMM : 13492.  The construction of Mill :3.  1922