Bailey Bros. and Granville Stationery Co.: Part 3 of a Series

(If you haven’t yet read them, start with part 1 and part 2 of this series.)

I ended the previous installment of this series in 1911, when Granville Stationery Co. (headed by William Payne and J.P. Mott Woodworth) assumed control of Bailey Bros.’ wholesale department, having taken over its retail store at 540 Granville the previous year.

Bailey Bros.’ owner William Bailey had also sold his store at 138 Cordova to the Vancouver Book Co. in 1910. When this business failed in 1913, Granville Stationery bought its stock and sold it off at clearance prices (1).

In newspaper ads, Granville Stationery regularly referred to itself as “Bailey’s Old Stand” or told customers to look for Bailey’s electric sign, which remained above the store entrance at 540 Granville (Vancouver Daily World, March 7, 1913)

William Bailey evidently retained a share in Granville Stationery, as he continued to be listed as a company director in city directories. Payne left in 1918, leaving Bailey and Woodworth as director and manager, respectively.

In February 1920, Bookseller & Stationer reported that Granville Stationery had greatly expanded its book department and had brought bookseller Ben Toon over from Spencer’s Department Store to run it. Toon wasn’t there long, though; by July he was with the Book Shop, George Forsyth’s store at the corner of Homer and Hastings (2).

Still more instability came in the spring of 1921, when Arnold & Quigley bought the building housing Granville Stationery’s store, forcing the company to vacate the premises when its lease expired at the end of the year (3).

Granville Stationery ran numerous sales ads before vacating its premises at 540 Granville Street in 1921 (Province, December 1, 1921)

Granville Stationery resumed business at 619 West Pender Street in 1922, and William took over as the manager (4). But time was running out on both him and his once-flourishing business.

In June 1925, a huge liquidation sale was announced in local newspapers. “This store carried stock of $50,000 in 1914 and did the largest business in the city,” the article read, noting that the move from Granville Street had been disastrous. “Now with a $12,000 stock we’re going into voluntary liquidation” (5).

William lost nearly everything when the business failed, including his grand family home on Chesterfield Avenue in North Vancouver, which was divided up into the Garden Court apartments. The Baileys relocated to 12th and Blanca near the University of British Columbia for a few years before returning to North Vancouver, this time as renters at Garden Court (6).

William Bailey died on July 2, 1936, at the age of seventy. He was survived by his wife, Jean, and a daughter, Jean Grace Kathleen (7). Fittingly for a girl whose father had run one of Vancouver’s earliest bookstores, Jean Grace’s university yearbook entry said she could be found “at any time, in any lecture, reading English 13 novels” (8).


(1) “Secures Wholesale End,” Province (June 8, 1911), 28; “The Granville Stationery Store Is Selling Off a Bankrupt Stock,” Vancouver Daily World (August 4, 1913), 5.

(2) Bookseller and Stationer (February 1920), 40; Bookseller and Stationer (July 1920), 34.

(3) “Firm Buys Property on Granville Street, Vancouver Daily World (May 7, 1921), 22.

(4) Vancouver Daily World (February 16, 1922), 6.

(5) Vancouver Sun (June 5, 1925), 15.

(6) Sharon Proctor, “Garden Court,” Express (North Vancouver Museum and Archives newsletter) (June 2014).

(7) Province (July 3, 1936), 17.

(8) “Jean Grace Kathleen Bailey,” The Totem (yearbook) (1929), 20.

Kamloops · Vancouver

Bailey Bros.: Photographers and Booksellers, Part 2

Picking up where I left off in part 1 of the Bailey Bros. story, Charles Bailey’s death in 1896 must have struck a major blow to the photography and stationery firm he left behind, and to his business partner and brother, William.

Charles had been the man behind the lens for so many Bailey Bros. photographs, and presumably he was the expert behind the firm’s stock of “photographic views,” photography supplies, cameras, picture frames, and mouldings—said to be the largest such stock in the province (1). Now William needed to keep Bailey Bros. going without his brother by his side.

Even though Bailey Bros. continued to be known for its photography-related merchandise, the company’s focus widened to include a more diverse stock of books, stationery, and fancy goods in the years after Charles’s death, or at least the firm’s frequent newspaper ads in the Vancouver Daily World from 1896 into the early 1900s give this impression:

The interior of Bailey Bros.’ store at 138 Cordova Street, 1896 (City of Vancouver Archives, AM54-S4-: Bu P505.2)

In January 1901, William married Jean Grace MacKinnon in Victoria. One of the newspapers reporting on the event said that the wedding came as a surprise to friends of both bride and groom (though the same newspaper reported that it was Charles, not William, who was married, which throws the accuracy of the rest of the article into question!) (2).

It was also in 1901 when William sold off Bailey Bros.’ Kamloops branch to Smith Bros. & Vernon (3). Over the next few years, he announced his intentions to retire from the retail book and stationery trade in Vancouver as well, but either he couldn’t find a buyer at the right terms, or he simply kept changing his mind.

The first such announcement came in December 1903: “Remember we are positively giving up the retail business and everything must be sold,” it read, as if some would have reason to doubt the plan (4). A subsequent announcement in February 1904 said that Bailey Bros. was building a new three-storey warehouse on Pender Street (to add to another warehouse it occupied on Hastings), and closing-out sales for its retail lines continued to appear that spring.

It seemed neither plan came to fruition.

Instead, William’s next move was actually to expand the retail side. In July 1906, Bailey Bros. opened a new store at 540 Granville, taking over the premises formerly occupied by bookseller Norman Caple (whom I’ll talk about in a future post). William planned to cater “more to the tourist trade” on Granville, while his store at 138 Cordova would continue to carry “a large general book and stationery stock” (5).

As of summer 1906, Bailey Bros. had two retail bookstores in Vancouver (Vancouver Daily World, November 24, 1906)
Bailey Bros.’ store at 540 Granville Street, highly visible with its electric sign, ca. 1906–9 (City of Vancouver Archives, AM336-S3-3-: CVA 677-659)
William Bailey’s family home, called Garden Court, at 718 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver (North Vancouver Museum and Archives, 15770)

In 1907, William once again advertised that the 138 Cordova branch was for sale—perhaps he was trying to generate some cash for the large family home he was having built in North Vancouver at the corner of Chesterfield and Keith Road, which had twelve rooms, two bathrooms, five fireplaces, and one acre of lawn (6). However, the Cordova store remained a Bailey Bros. outlet through 1909, when ads about its sale resumed (7).

In 1910, the branch at 138 Cordova was taken over by the Vancouver Book Co., managed by Gordon Tanner, and the 540 Granville location became the Granville Stationery Co., whose principals were former Bailey Bros. clerk William Payne and his partner J.P. Mott Woodworth (8).

Former Bailey Bros. clerk William Payne and his partner J.P. Mott Woodworth bought the store at 540 Granville Street in 1910 and formed the Granville Stationery Co. (Vancouver Daily World, October 12, 1910)

Granville Stationery also bought Bailey Bros.’ wholesale department in 1911, with plans to “extend considerably the activities of the firm they now control” (9). What happened next will have to be the subject of the third and final post in this series.


(1) “Bailey Bros. Co., Limited,” Vancouver, the Queen City of the Wonderful West (Vancouver: Daily Province, 1898).

(2) “Bailey-MacKinnon,” Vancouver Daily World (January 29, 1901), 5; Daily Colonist (January 29, 1901), 5; Bookseller and Stationer (February 1901), 11.

(3) Bookseller and Stationer (June 1901), 1.

(4) “To Erect Big Warehouse” Province (February 12, 1904), 8; “Retiring from Business,” Vancouver Daily World (March 4, 1904), 8.

(5) Bookseller and Stationer (July 1906), 23.

(6) “Fine Residence Nears Completion,” Vancouver Daily World (March 28, 1908), 20; “To Let,” Vancouver Daily World (October 5, 1911), 18.

(7) Vancouver Daily World (July 13, 1907), 23; Vancouver Daily World (April 21, 1909), 26; Vancouver Daily World (October 5, 1909), 26.

(8) The Vancouver Book Co. remained at 138 Cordova for only a short time. By 1911 it was at 932 Granville Street: Henderson’s Greater Vancouver City Directory (1910–11). The information about Granville Stationery Co. is from Vancouver Daily World (March 9, 1910), 5, and Henderson’s Greater Vancouver City Directory (1910). When the Vancouver Book Co. failed in 1913, Granville Stationery bought its stock and sold it off at clearance prices: “The Granville Stationery Store Is Selling Off a Bankrupt Stock,” Vancouver Daily World (August 4, 1913), 5.

(9) “Secures Wholesale End,” Province (June 8, 1911), 28.

Kamloops · Vancouver

Bailey Bros.: Photographers and Booksellers, Part 1

Many Vancouver history buffs know Bailey Bros. as the scenic photographers who captured enduring images of a young city and of British Columbia in the late 1880s and early 1890s (1).

But fewer people know that the Baileys were also among Vancouver’s earliest booksellers and stationers.

Charles Bailey, the younger of the two brothers, was first to the city, arriving in 1887/88. Born in Creemore, Ontario, in June 1868, he was not yet twenty by the time he established himself in Vancouver (2).

In December 1888, he opened a studio at 227 Hastings Street, formerly home to the city’s post office. There, as C.S. Bailey & Co., he sold not only his photographic services and works, but also books, albums, periodicals, greeting cards, and other stationery (3).

Charles Bailey in front of his photography studio and bookstore at 227 Hastings Street, ca. 1888 (City of Vancouver Archives, AM54-S4-: BU P76)

In 1889, Charles teamed up with Hamilton George Neelands. Operating as Bailey & Neelands out of the same Hastings Street location, the two shot scenes of Vancouver and British Columbia that are now “among the most cherished images of the early city and province” (4). Charles’s prints were shown at the Paris Exhibition in 1889, the Toronto Industrial Exhibition in 1891, and the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 (5).

In 1890, Bailey & Neelands moved to larger premises at 176 Cordova, between Cambie and Abbott (6). Not long after, Charles’s older brother William arrived in Vancouver, and Neelands left for Nelson, reportedly due to ill health. William joined Charles in the business, which they rechristened as Bailey Bros. (7)

Charles remained the principal photographer for that side of the enterprise, while William took more responsibility for the books and stationery side, having worked for nine years with stationer R.D. Richardson in Winnipeg prior to coming to Vancouver (8). “Both partners are men of youth, energy, and liberal experience,” reported Books and Notions, “and with these advantages they have assurance of success” (9).

In 1892, the business moved again, this time to 160 Cordova, “which they [fitted] up in excellent style” with intentions to carry “a larger stock of stationery than formerly” (10).

Cordova Street looking east from Cambie, 1893 (City of Vancouver Archives, AM54-S4-: Str P301). The Bailey Bros. store at 160 Cordova can be seen as the third building on the right when this photo is viewed at a larger size.
I found this Bailey Bros. label in an online copy of the 1896 Vancouver City Directory.

In September 1895, Charles and William incorporated Bailey Bros. Ltd. along with a third partner, their brother-in-law Joseph Coupland, who was married to their sister Mary Ann (11).

That same month, Charles married Jennie Johnstone, and the couple moved to Kamloops (12). Charles oversaw a branch of Bailey Bros. there, but over the coming months, newspapers reported that he was seriously ill with tuberculosis and frequently confined to his bed. Charles died of pneumonia on November 29, 1896, just one month after the birth of his only son and namesake, Charles Edward (13).

The Kamloops branch of Bailey Bros. was put up for sale in January 1897, but it seems there was a change of mind, as that store remained open under the management of Arthur Foster Lauder until 1901, when Smith Bros. & Vernon bought it out (14).

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the firm moved to 138 Cordova the year of Charles’s death, and it would continue to grow and thrive under William’s leadership. I’ll pick up from here next time.


(1) Repositories of Bailey Bros. images include the City of Vancouver Archives, the Vancouver Public Library, and the Royal BC Museum and Archives. David Mattison has written and presented extensively about Bailey Bros., particularly Charles Bailey. See, for example, the summary of his presentation “An Artist of Rare Ability: The Life and Photographs of C.S. Bailey” to the Friends of BC Archives; his Camera Workers database entries; and Eyes of a City: Early Vancouver Photographers 1868–1900 (Vancouver: Vancouver City Archives, 1986).

(2) C.S. Bailey is listed in the “additional names” section of the 1888 Vancouver City Directory (R.T. William), indicating that he arrived not long before the March 1 publication date. Thanks to former Vancouver city archivist Major James Skitt Matthews for this detective work!

(3) Vancouver Daily World (December 21, 1888), 1.

(4) John Mackie, “This Week in History: 1889 Two Pioneer Vancouver Photographers Set Up Shop on Hastings Street,” Vancouver Sun (December 1, 2017).

(5) Martin Segger, “Mirrors of the Architectural Moment: Some Comments on the Use of Historical Photographs as Primary Sources in Architectural History,Material Cultural Review (1982).

(6) “Removal: Bailey & Neelands,” Vancouver Daily World (August 13, 1890), 1.

(7) Vancouver Daily World (December 12, 1890), 5.

(8) David Mattison, Camera Workers database.

(9) Books and Notions (February 1891), 12. Robert Dennis Richardson established the first stationery store in Winnipeg in 1878: Memorable Manitobans.

(10) Books and Notions (June 1892), 8.

(11) “Forty Years Ago,” Vancouver Sun (September 18, 1935), 6.

(12) “Bailey-Johnstone,” Vancouver Daily World (September 24, 1895), 4.

(13) Vancouver Daily World (November 30, 1896), 4; Vancouver Daily World (October 22, 1896), 8.

(14) Henderson’s British Columbia Gazetteer and Directory (1897–1901); Bookseller and Stationer (June 1901), 1.