For a couple of decades, both in and around his photo studio in Whalley, Roy Houghton focused his cameras on community events, students and business of North Surrey.
From the 1950s to 1970s he photographed the opening of Surrey’s very first McDonald’s restaurant, among other landmark events in the area – fundraising efforts, the construction of new amenities, memorial celebrations, weddings and more.
You name it, Houghton was probably there.
“From school clubs to professional portraits, Houghton’s work is centered on Surrey’s people,” noted Chelsea Christensen, archivist at Surrey Archives, where thousands of Houghton’s photographs are stored.
This week, ‘The Roy Houghton Collection’ will be explored in another free virtual talk hosted by Surrey Archives, on Thursday, May 12, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Houghton operated Roy Houghton Photographic Studio, located at 1536 1/2 Trans-Canada Highway, near what is now 108 Avenue and King George Boulevard. He established his photo studio there in the early 1950s after returning from service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during The Second World War.
Born in 1917 and originally from Birmingham, England, Houghton’s time in Surrey saw him deeply involved in the community, with organizations including Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Royal Canadian Legion and the Professional Photographers Association of B.C.
A decade ago, Houghton’s family donated his photographs and detailed notes to Surrey Archives.
“The collection is expansive, consisting of over 2,200 photographs,” Christensen explained. “It provides unique insight into 1950s through ‘70s community life in North Surrey.”
One photograph shows the sign for Houghton’s studio in the background, behind a telephone pole. It is the only known photo depicting the studio’s exterior in the Surrey Archives collection.
Houghton died in 1977, and was living in Surrey at the time.
Thursday’s hour-long virtual talk, on Microsoft Teams, will allow participants to view Houghton’s studio photos, candid shots and landscapes from the 1950s to 1970s. To register, visit surrey.ca/archives or call 604-501-5100.