A LOOK AT THE PAST

Built in 1909, "Illahie", the family home of Charles and Lilly Hope

Charles Edward Hope (1864-1949), like his younger brother, Archibald Campbell Hope, articled with his father’s architectural firm in Bradford, Yorkshire. He immigrated to Canada the year after the Dominion was spanned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, finally settling in Vancouver in 1889, and was one of the few trained architects working in the period after the Great Fire. C.E. Hope’s work as an architect, civil engineer, and estate and financial agent caused him to travel extensively throughout the province on business.

In 1890, Hope arrived in Langley to survey the subdivision of Alexander Mavis’s farm purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Mavis owned much of the village, and intended to sell many of his holdings as residential lots, for $50 each. Two years later, Hope married Mavis’s daughter, Lily Dawson. He maintained an office in Vancouver and until the end of 1893 was busy designing a number of large business blocks and “a goodly number of residences.” However the local downturn meant there were few architectural commissions available, and Hope turned primarily to work as a land surveyor. In 1897, he formed a timber agency and surveying partnership with W.E. Gravely, which became known as Hope, Gravely & Co. Hope’s business interests were extensive. He was the manager of a mining company. He was a director of United Grain Growers and the Pacific National Exhibition. He also served as a school trustee in Vancouver for three years in the early 1900s.

In 1909, the Hope family purchased a farm, Deep Creek Farm, 540 acres east of 216 Street to the Salmon River between 88 and 96 Avenues and also land in Fort Langley. Once electricity became available they moved into their newly constructed estate home, Illahie, built on five acres of property in Fort Langley.

The Hope estate home "Illahie" was prominent in this view from the Fort in the 1910s

Hope served on the Langley School Board from 1921 to 1923. He also served as a member of Council. Hope was a Conservative in politics. He was a member of the Society of Professional Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Orange Order and a prominent Anglican and is thought to have designed St. George’s Church. The church has a number of memorials to members of the Hope family. When Hope died in 1949, he was buried in the Fort Langley Cemetery in a plot that had once been part of his Fort Langley holdings.

Alexander Campbell Hope was one of the three sons of Charles Edward Hope. He was born in Vancouver in 1894, but knew Fort Langley from an early age as the family moved back and forth between their homes in Vancouver and the village.

Alex Hope, as he was generally known, became interested in agriculture at an early age. His father’s farm was located to the west of the village, a few miles from the family home, Illahie. Under Alex’s management, the farm produced sheep, cattle, vegetables, and holly. Alex moved to Fort Langley in 1922 and soon became involved in community affairs. By 1930 he was serving on the School Board. This was followed by 3 years as a councillor for Ward 4 (West Langley). Alex became Reeve of the Township in 1935, a position he occupied for 11 years. During his final term as Reeve he was elected to the provincial legislature and served as a Conservative for the riding of Delta (which then included Surrey and Langley) for 8 years.

Charles Hope with grandson, Buddy, and son, Alex (who had Alex Hope Elementary named after him)

Alex’s public activities included memberships on the Province’s Agricultural Advisory Board, on the B.C. Coast Vegetable Marketing Board, on the B.C. Certified Seed Potatoes Growers Association, and on the B.C. Federation of Agriculture. He was instrumental in establishing the B.C. Artificial Insemination Centre; know locally as the “bull farm”. He also chaired the Salmon River Dyking Commission for a number of years, and through his role in Victoria, helped to reconstruct the dykes after the 1948 flood.

Alex had a great interest in local history. His father and grandfather had once owned the site of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fort and he became the president of the Fort Langley Restoration Society that helped to convince the federal government to restore the fort in time for the 1958 Centennial Celebrations. He was a charter member and president of the B.C. Farm Machinery Museum Association and chair of the Langley Centennial Committee that planned the construction of the Langley Centennial Museum.

On top of all this, he was a president of the Fort Langley Improvement Society, which continues to operate the Fort Langley Community Hall as well as of the Fort Langley Board of Trade, now part of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a past Chief Factor of the Native Sons of British Columbia Fort Langley Post.

Like his father, he was a Conservative, and member of St. George’s Anglican Church, the site of his funeral. After his death, he was memorialized by the naming of Alex Hope School and Park, not far from the family farm part of which (now Redwoods Golf Course), has been acquired by the Township of Langley for park purposes.

Fort Langley and its people 1925 - 1927 (Map researched and prepared by Bill Marr)

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