Fonds 084 - Fletcher family fonds

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Title proper

Fletcher family fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the creator of the fonds.

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1918-1981 (Creation)
    Fletcher (family)

Physical description area

Physical description

5 cm of textual records
3 photographs : b&w ; 21 x 26 cm or smaller

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Howard Fletcher was born in 1889 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. When John was five, his father moved the family to Canada where he had bought some land. John's father and the two oldest boys built a six room frame house on the newly purchased land. The house was five miles north of Armstrong, BC. When John was fifteen he left the interior for Vancouver where he worked as a farm hand. In 1904 he found a job as a messenger boy for the Western Union Telegraph Co. Later, his brother Herbert found John a job as an apprentice with the Mitchel-Courtney Electrical Company.

During Canada's first real depression, John found a job at one of Vancouver's first all motion picture theatres, The Royal. Although he had never run a projector, John quickly learned from watching another projectionist. He then worked at various other theatres until he bought his own projector and started running his own shows. However, it only lasted for three weeks because he ran out of shows. John then returned to Vancouver to his old job. He continued as a projectionist as well as studying at Sprott-Shaw college. When he graduated, he took a job as a secretary for a railway survey company. This entailed a horse-back trip into the interior. He later also surveyed the Alaska-Yukon boundary.

In 1914, war was declared and John headed back to Vancouver to enlist. He was a private, first class, of the 62nd Battalion. After five months of training John headed for Halifax. After just leaving the harbour, the munitions ship blew. John completed more training when he arrived in England. In the field, he worked as a sapper or field engineer.

After the war, John travelled to Jamaica where he was offered the job of drying bananas. After eight months in Jamaica, he contracted jaundice and was told to leave Jamaica.

John then returned to Vancouver and bought a small theatre. June 5th, 1925, John married Amelia (Alma) Eleanor Snider, a cashier at the Paramount Film Exchange. Bert Snider, Alma's father, offered to help pay to build a new theatre for the young couple. The theatre became the Hollyburn Theatre in West Vancouver which opened in June, 1926. John and Alma by then had seven children. They resided at 2283 Haywood Ave.

During WWII, John became ill and sold the theatre and took a job as a projectionist at the Lonsdale theatre. After recovering from his illness, John bought the old Music Box theatre at the corner of Fraser and Kingsway and changed its name to Kingcrest.

In the 1950s, John bought a lot in North Vancouver and began building another theatre. However, during this time, television became popular and theatre attendance dropped. The Kingcrest subsequently closed and John sold the unfinished theatre.

John served as Reeve of West Vancouver from 1951-1952 and Councillor in 1946 and 1948. He was also involved in the West Vancouver Chess Club. He was the first president of the BC branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada.

John Howard Fletcher passed away February 20, 1983 in West Vancouver at the age of 93. His wife, Alma, passed away August 30, 1982 in North Vancouver.

John and Alma's children were Gordon Joy Fletcher, Doreen Eleanor Fletcher, Roy Howard Fletcher, Mavis Alma Fletcher, John Albert Fletcher, Hazel Grace Fletcher (b. October 21, 1932, d. May 2, 2003), and Gloria Mae Fletcher.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of WWI army records, programmes for the Hollyburn theatre, clippings, and other records, including photographs of John Fletcher as Reeve of West Vancouver and the Fletcher family.

Fonds is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Fletcher family records
Series 2: Hollyburn Theatre
Series 3: West Vancouver Chess Club

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English

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Created March 26, 2010

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