Langley Centennial Museum
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Oral History interview with Kay Kells, conducted by Warren Sommer on 2 Sep.; 3 Sep.; 4 Sep.; and 5 Sep. 2011.
5 audio cassette; 10 cds.
2 Sep.; 3 Sep.; 4 Sep.; and 5 Sep. 2011.
SR-263 is a recording of an interview with Kay Kells, conducted by Warren Sommer.
Track 1 - Warren Sommers give an introduction for the interview.
Track 2 – Kay Kells gives her full name, and gives a brief account of her name and family.
Track 3 - Kay tells about her mother’s family (the Chatts) coming to Vancouver from England
Track 4 – Kay tells about her father’s family (the McVicars) coming to Canada in 1821, and to B.C. in 1910. Kay also tells about how her parents met and gives some details about her grandparents on her Father’s side.
Track 5 – Kay discusses the Kells family and how they came to own their land.
Track 6 – Kay discusses Henry Kells’ children, Frederick and Harry. Kay also tells about Fred and Harry Kells’ property.
Track 7 – Kay discusses the two Henry Kells, who were distant cousins, and their ambitions with the land they bought together.
Track 8 –Kay talks about her grandparents retired life in Langley.
Track 9 – Kay discusses her father’s land (recording cuts out). Interview picks up with Kay telling about his chicken business. Kay also discusses her parents’ and home dynamics, and how it affected her later on in her own life.
Track 10 – Kay discusses how her parents generated income first through raising chickens, and then later through selling seeds and vegetables. Kay tells of how she and her mother would contribute to their income in addition to the chickens and seeds.
Track 11 – Kay talks about her childhood: friends, transportation, clothing, and the different activities like marbles, anti-I-over and reading.
Track 12 – Kay discusses high school and her friend group. She also talks about the efficiency of the mail system.
Track 13 – Kay discusses going into Vancouver with her family, and then once with her Sunday school class. She also talks about going swimming in the old gravel pit (the recording cuts off here).
Track 1 – Warren Sommer introduces the interviewee and gives the date.
Track 2 – Kay gives some of Fred Kells Senior’s family history.
Track 3 – Kay tells a story about a fellow resident of her nursing home, Ron Smart, the Webbs and the East-Hopes.
Track 4 – Kay discusses her father and his health problems throughout his life, and his death in 1956. Kay also discusses when electricity came around, and the birth of her daughter Karen, and her mother’s second marriage to Frank Crompton.
Track 5 – Kay talks about the Cromptons and their land and family store.
Track 6 – Kay describes the West Langley School and her experience there.
Track 7 – Kay talks about the different teachers she had throughout her school years.
Track 8 – Kay discusses how women had to give up their jobs when they got married, and suggests a reason for this.
Track 9 – Kay talks about women being pregnant and the expectations that the public set on these women. Kay also gives her opinion about having children.
Track 10 – Kay talks about the Japanese families in the area and the berry picking she used to do in the summers.
Track 11 – Kay discusses the role that the church played in her life as a child, and later on as an adult as well. Kay also discusses some of the problems that arose within the Port Kells United Church.
Track 12 – Kay discusses buying milk during her childhood. Kay also briefly discusses the uncommon occurrence of infant mortality.
Track 13 – Kay discusses Fred Kells senior’s work and farm.
Track 14 – Kay talks about Carl von Mackensen and the Fibbs family. Kay also tells of the rumors about von Mackensen that went around during World War I, and then the duties of Fred Kells Senior during the Second World War.
Track 1 – Track begins in the middle of a sentence – does not seem to be in continuation with the previous track. Kay talks about listening to the news on the radio and the different stations. Kay also discusses the different newspapers and her mother’s job reporting for the different papers.
Track 2 – Kay talks about her memories of the declaration of World War II and about World War I and the English wives that came back to Canada after that war.
Track 3 – Kay talks about the reactions to the news of World War II and the preparations made by the city in reaction to the war. Kay also tells a story about a ship that exploded in the Vancouver harbour.
Track 4 – Track begins in the middle of a sentence that is not congruent with previous track. Kay is talking about vegetable storage in the basement in both her parent’s house growing up and in her own house once she was married.
Track 5 – Kay continues to talk about food storage, specifically meats. Kay also discusses where her family would buy meat in Fort Langley, and occasionally at Woodwards in Vancouver.
Track 6 – Kay talks about her father’s relatives in Saskatchewan, and getting a turkey from one of her father’s cousins each Christmas. Kay also lists all her relatives who would congregate at her grandparent’s house for Christmas celebrations.
Track 7 – Kay talks about Christmas traditions growing up, specifically hanging her stocking, the gifts she's receive and getting a Christmas tree.
Track 8 - Kay talks about her participation in the May Day celebrations. Kay also talks about the rare occasion of getting ice cream. Lastly, Kay talks about the Fall Fair.
Track 9 – Kay talks about the Royal Visit in 1939. Kay also talks about the train station on Station road and the station on Latimer road.
Track 10 – Kay talks about the Morehouse bus and its routes.
Track 11 – Kay talks about the route her school bus took each day and all the different schools it picked up students for.
Track 12 – Kay describes the different principals during her high school years, specifically Mr. Manzer and Mr. Ray Brunt. Kay also talks about having Home Economics classes in grade 10.
Track 13 – Kay talks about why kids would drop out of school and what jobs they would get, and the ratio of boys to girls by her grade 12 year.
Track 14 – Kay talks about the classroom that was added in her grade 12 year at West Langley School and the university entrance courses offered. Kay also talks about their Physical Education classes and the offered team sports.
Track 15 – Kay talks about the Student March in 1940, and the preparations, intentions and results of it. Kay also talks about learning to type.
Track 16 – Kay talks about what junior and senior matriculation was, and the university entrance classes she took. Recording cuts out half way through, and subject changes to the World War I veterans.
Track 1 – Interviewer gives introduction and introduces interviewee. Kay talks about the changes in Langley during the Second World War, like the boys leaving and rationing.
Track 2 – Kay talks about the Air Raid Precautions, and air raid drills at school.
Track 3 – Kay discusses the concern in Langley regarding people with German surnames and some of the Japanese-Canadian residents. Kay also discusses some of the reactions to the internment of the Japanese-Canadians.
Track 4 – Kay talks about the different government enterprises, like Victory Gardens, in regards to community involvement during World War II.
Track 5 – Kay begins with talking about Victory Bonds which turns into the story of how Ellis first asked her out and their first date.
Track 6 – Kay talks about the function of War Saving Stamps. Kay also recalls the summer that she and Ellis got engaged.
Track 7 – Kay discusses her high school graduation ceremony.
Track 8 – Kay discusses the childhood of her parents with them both being the youngest children in their families, and how that affected her own childhood.
Track 9 – Kay talks about her career goals when she was in high school, which turns into a discussion about the jobs available for women, both without a university degree and with one.
Track 10 – Kay talks about the acceptance of how women were treated in the work place compared to men.
Track 11 – Kay discusses the women’s liberation movement. Kay also tells a story about when she and Ellis were building their house and a mistake the electrician made despite Kay’s instruction.
Track 12 – Kay talks about Victory-Europe Day and Victory-Japan Day and her memories of the celebration. Kay also talks about her time living in Vancouver and then why they moved back to Langley. She also describes their house they moved into.
Track 13 – Kay talks about the 1948 Flood. Kay also discusses the Port Kells Ferry compared to how it is today.
Track 14 – Kay talks about her children and the house she raised them in, as well as the history of twins in her family.
Track 15 – Kay discusses the expectation of getting pregnant immediately after a person got married. Kay also talks about the taboo subject of birth control when she first got married. Kay also discusses the names of her children.
Track 16 – Kay talks about raising her children during the 1950s and their acquisition of different appliances. Kay also discusses her lack of interest in fashion.
Track 17 – Kay discusses her mother’s love of fashion. Kay also tells about her pen-pal she has been writing since she was 10 years old.
Track 1 – Kay talks about getting a T.V. and the few channels available.
Track 2 – Kay talks about sending her children to West Langley School and her children’s experiences in school.
Track 3 – Kay talks about her involvement with the P.T.A and the church. Kay also talks about her memory of the Cold War.
Track 4 – Kay talks about a family vacation to Penticton and the car trouble they experienced there.
Track 5 – Kay talks about their first and second cars, and the experience of trying to buy and sell them.
Track 6 – Kay discusses the convenience of having a car and the construction of Highway-1. Kay also discusses having her mother and mother-in-law babysitting once a month for her and Ellis.
Track 7 – Kay talks about the industrialization of Langley, which meant the steep increase of taxes on their land.
Track 8 – Kay talks about Ellis’ father’s land and what sections he gave to his children. Kay also discusses the increase in taxes in the land once more.
Track 9 – Recording suddenly cuts out mid-sentence and becomes very quiet. Kay talks about selling their house and taking a trip up to White Horse. Kay also talks about moving out to White Rock, and then why they moved back to Langley.
Track 11 – Track begins in the middle of a sentence that is not congruent with the previous track Kay talks about living in the North West area of Langley.
Track 12 – Kay talks about her and Ellis’ retired years and how they filled their time.
Track 13 – Kay talks about the Cribbage team in Langley.
Track 14 – Kay discusses the two books she wrote about Port Kells and West Langley, and why she decided to write them.
Track 15 – Kay talks about the urbanization of Port Kells and how Langley has changed over the years. Warren closes the interview and thanks Kay.
Crompton, Ivy (nee Chatt, earlier McVicar)
Ivy Mabel Chatt married Archie McVicar on November 5, 1924. Their daughter was Kay Kells. After Archie passed away in 1956, Ivy married Frank Crompton in 1958. Ivy was a member of St. Andrew's Anglican Church and sang in the choir.
Fort Langley (village)
Frederick Kells was born in 1882 or 1883. He married Sarah Jane Bell on October 3, 1906. They had one son, Frederick Ellis Kells, born in 1923. Frederick was a member of the 13th Field Ambulance during WWI. During WWII he was among the veterans who guarded prisoners of war incarcerated at Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, and Rocky Mountain house.
Kells, Frederick Ellis
Frederick Ellis Kells was born to parents Sarah and Frederick Kells April 9, 1923. He married Kathleen Laura McVicar in 1946. They had twin boys in 1950 and a daughter in 1956.
Kells, Kathleen Laura (nee McVicar)
Kathleen Laura McVicar was born on December 29, 1925, in Langley, to Archibald and Ivy McVicar, nee Chatt. She married Frederick Ellis Kells (April 9, 1923 - ) in 1946, and they had twin boys in 1950 and a daughter in 1956.
Kells, Sarah Jane (nee Bell)
Sarah Jane Bell was born in 1885. She married Frederick Kells (1882/1883-May 1, 1971) on October 3, 1906. They had one son, Frederick Ellis Kells, born in 1923. Sarah died on February 22, 1977.
Langley Advance (newspaper)
The paper was originally entitled the Langley Advance, and was first published July 23, 1931.The paper was started by Ernest J. Cox, who had moved to BC from North Battleford, Saskatchewan to take a half interest in the Abbotsford News along with Gerald Heller. At the same time, the Langley Board of Trade had been negotiating with Heller to start a paper in Langley: Cox took up the task. A few months after the Advance was founded, Cox and Heller went their separate ways, and Cox retained the Langley paper and Heller kept the Abbotsford paper. Cox ran the paper with the help of his wife and two teenaged children. After the war, son Fred Cox returned to the paper along with George Johnson (an RAF instructor) who had married daughter, Kathleen Cox. In 1947 Jim Schatz joined the paper. In 1949 The Langley Advance Publishing Co. Ltd. was formed with principals E.J. and Fred Cox, Johnson, and Schatz. E.J. Cox went into semi-retirement in 1958, and Fred Cox sold his interests in the paper, but took controlling interest of the commercial printing portion of the business. Schatz served as publisher and editor, and was well known in the BC newspaper industry. In 1981 Bob Groeneveld became editor, and remains editor today (2005).
Term Source: Paper Trails: a history of British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers, 1999 (by George Allan Afflek).
Langley United Church
The Langley United Church congregation initially came into being in 1927. Services were held in a building known as the "Free to All Sunday School Building" on Glover Road. Early in the 1930s, the congregation decided to build a church of its own and land was purchased on the north side of New McLellan Road (56th Avenue) just south of Rump and Sendall's chicken hatchery in what was then a residential neighbourhood, at a cost of $200. The church was initially called the Langley Prairie United Church and was part of the Murrayville Pastoral Charge. In 1950, the congregation became part of the Fraser Presbytery. In 1976, a new building (the current building) was finished on the current site of 200th street between Fraser Highway and 56th Avenue. An addition was made in 1991 and a commercial kitchen was added in the late 1990s.
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Argus v220.127.116.11 - Langley Centennial Museum