A LOOK BACK: recreation in Port Alberni’s downtown

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

A large group of children stand outside the Capitol Theatre in December 1936. Next to the Capitol is a community hall that was built in 1928-29, and after the Depression turned into a bowling alley. (JOSEPH CLEGG PHOTO/ AV MUSEUM COLLECTION PN09340)

A large group of children stand outside the Capitol Theatre in December 1936. Next to the Capitol is a community hall that was built in 1928-29, and after the Depression turned into a bowling alley. (JOSEPH CLEGG PHOTO/ AV MUSEUM COLLECTION PN09340)

Joseph Clegg was a well-known photographer known for documenting the early days of Port Alberni. Born in 1875 in Manchester, England, Clegg and his family moved to Vancouver Island in 1912 looking for a place to recover from chronic ill health. He turned his photography hobby into a career and opened a studio, selling cameras and photo supplies.

According to author Peter Grant in his book Wish You Were Here: Life on Vancouver Island in Historical Postcards, Clegg was the only photographer in the Albernis for 30 years. He sold his business in 1945.

There are 539 negatives and prints of Clegg’s housed at the Alberni Valley Museum, donated from the collection of another local photographer, Patrick Power.

Many of Clegg’s scenic photos were printed on postcards, Grant noted in his book.

This particular photo is of a large group of children standing on the steps of The Capitol Theatre in December 1936. To the left of the theatre stands a wooden building that was a community hall, built in 1928-29. The hall after the Depression and Second World War was sold and changed to a bowling alley. It burned down soon after that.

This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/

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