Mudge the Poultry Man

Crop of CVA 99-89 - Main Street market 1910 Stuart Thomson

Crop of CVA 99-89 – Close view of a wing of the Vancouver City Market where Mudge the Poultry Man advertised his presence within. The sign reads (in part) “Mudge The Poultry Man”. 1910. Stuart Thomson.

William Mudge’s business was known in early Vancouver as Mudge & Son and (probably better) as Mudge the Poultry Man. As indicated in the latter name, he specialized in Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 4.31.54 PMproviding chicken products to hard-working, hungry Vancouverites. He hung his shingle at Vancouver’s farmer’s market, known then as the City Market which was originally located, from 1908 until before 1925 (when the building was destroyed by fire) roughly where ScienceWorld is today.

vpl 7435 New City Market opened that year at Westminster Ave (Main after 1910), west of Westminster or False Creek Bridge. On south side ofFC. 1908 PT Timms

VPL 7435 New City Market opened that year at Westminster Ave (Main after 1910), west of Westminster or False Creek Bridge. 1908. P. T. Timms.

Mudge was a recent emigrant to Canada from England (1909) and lived near Main and 25th Avenue (King Edward Ave.) with his wife Ethel (nee Tremaine), first son, William, second and third sons Wilfred and Gerald, and his only daughter, Mary Monica (known by the nickname, ‘Queenie’, which may have been an homage to Queen Victoria.)

We don’t know the exact Vancouver address of the Mudges; their mailing address was simply “City Heights”, the name of the local post office which, with its establishment in 1911, was located at 4116 Main Street, George P. Findlay, postmaster.* I should point out that the original structure in which City Heights Post Office seems to have resided is extant; it is the building immediately to the south of the Walden Building (1910), which was known at the time as Findlay Place (Apartments), doubtless named for George the Postmaster.**

LGN 487 - [People entering streetcar on Main Street at 25th Avenue] 1912 ? W J Moore photo

LGN 487 – The camera is facing south down Main St, located approximately at 25th Ave. The Walden Building is the 3-storey structure on the left (extant); Findlay Place Apartments and City Heights Post Office was in the building adjacent to and south of Walden (also extant). 1912? W J Moore photo.

Later in life, William and Ethel moved to Cobble Hill, on Vancouver Island (not far from Cowichan Bay). It isn’t clear whether they continued to produce poultry at Cobble Hill, but there is evidence that they remained producers – of seed potatoes.***

William Mudge died in 1932 and was buried in Cobble Hill Cemetery.


*I’m appreciative of the generosity of the gent who blogs at WestEndVancouver for clearing up the mystery of where on earth “City Heights” was. Thank you! Note: By 1919, the Mudges were living at 3115 Quebec (near 15th Avenue).

**Note: The numbers along this block today don’t accurately represent the locations of businesses with the same numbers in 1912.

***Just a couple years before William Sr.’s death, he was elected as an officer of the BC Certified Seed Potato Grower’s Association. (Daily Colonist, November 1929)

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2 Responses to Mudge the Poultry Man

  1. Interesting that when the Onni Central building was constructed just off Quebec and Switchman Street, they were pulling the logs out that were the pilings for the old city market. I walked by there every day for a time and saw them pulling out these old pilings that had been buried for the better part of 100 years since that section of the creek had been filled in.
    I talked to one of the construction foremen working by one of the fences one morning, and he noted that they found an old wooden wheel that had been buried, along with a good number of Coca cola bottles – the old green ones that are very old and worth something. A lot of the workers just took them home as souvenirs – but I imagined they were bottles thrown off by the pier by those who had drank them, all those years ago.

    • mdm says:

      Thanks for this detailed comment, Aaron. It is great to have a little more detail on where exactly the City Market was located, in the context of today’s urban geography.

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