On This Day In New West History: McBride

On February 6, 1929, Richard McBride School burned to the ground.

Current day photo courtesy of Mario Bartel.

Archival photo from the New Westminster Public Library’s collection. It is dated July 23, 1926 and depicts the original Richard McBride School before it burned to the ground. Accession # 144.

Many thanks to Dale Miller of A Sense of History Research Services for the text that follows. 

Richard McBride School was the third public school in the Sapperton area of New Westminster. The previous ones were located on Hospital Street near E. Columbia, and on Major Street near Fader.

Throughout the early 1900s, there were discussions about the need for a new, larger school in Sapperton, and in 1911, the contract was awarded to Gardiner and Mercer for a new “thoroughly modern” and “up to date” school. Sitting on 4.6 acres, it opened in the fall of 1912, and was initially referred to as the “Sapperton School”, but renamed for its opening as “Sir Richard McBride School”.

However, soon after the school’s opening, Sir Richard McBride wrote to the School Board asking that the “Sir” be removed from the school name, as he felt that the citizens of New Westminster knew him best as simply “Richard McBride”, without his knighthood title. The school board agreed to the request but apparently failed to notify the provincial authorities and so the “Sir” technically remained on the school for a number of years.

In 1925, a foundation and a new wing were added to address overcrowding, and in 1928, an assembly hall was added. On February 6, 1929 the entire school, except for the gymnasium, burned to the ground.

Richard McBride School Burning 6 February, 1929 NWPL 145
Richard McBride School Burning 6 February, 1929
NWPL 145

Emergency tents were used as a temporary school for the students until the new school was ready.

Emergency tents used after the McBride School fire in 1929 NWPL 1795
Emergency tents used after the McBride School fire in 1929
NWPL 1795

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new Richard McBride School was opened in 1930 and it is this school, with a number of alterations and additions, which is in use today.

Richard McBride School circa 1940 NWPL 2346
Richard McBride School circa 1940
NWPL 2346

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