160 West Cordova Street

We have seen this 1888 building on Cordova Street in an earlier post, but we haven’t been able to identify the architect or developer. In the earlier 1902 image Rae’s wholesale and retail could be seen. This 1936 shows the building occupied by sheet metal workers Kydd Brothers.

In 1906 Norman Kydd was shown living in the city for the first time, working as a clerk, but by 1908 Kydd Bros – Harry F and Norman were established selling hardware and kitchen furnishings at 128 E Hastings. Norman was living in The Manhattan, and Harry at 1160 Robson, although they each had suites in the Manhattan a year later.

By 1912 the firm moved from East Hastings to West Pender: both brothers had moved home; Harry to West 3rd Avenue, (to a building still standing today) and Norman to Comox Street in the West End. The move to West Pender prompted an advertisement in the Daily World which gives a good idea of their line of business “A Big Tool Demonstration Tomorrow Night at Kydd Brothers, Limited HARDWARE SALE Tradesmen in all lines are cordially invited to be present. Prominent men in all trades will be here and a pleasant evening may be spent in looking over the tremendous stock of tools now in display that are being closed out before this firm moves to its new store. The purpose of the gathering is to bring men together working in the same trades to inspect tools that are now down from the shelves laid side by side for quick disposal. It Shall Not Be Obligatory on Anyone to Buy – but men expert in their trades will be here to give views on the merits of the particular tools they use and discussion will follow which will go to show why certain makes of tools are preferred over others and why they are used. Old Heads Will Reason With Young Ones and the gathering of tradesmen in all lines in this store on Saturday night will be of splendid educational benefit to those who are interested on the work they do and the best tools to use to do it. Fine lines of hardware and mechanics’ tools are being sold at factory cost; everything outside of association goods. Its a big chance to replenish the tool chest at easy prices because the stock here is to be completely closed out.” Later Norman Kydd would have a retail store on Granville Street.

Norman and Harry Kydd were born in Ozark, Kansas, of Scottish parents, but moved to Ontario as children. Harry’s business career began as auditor for the Armor Packing Co. in Richmond, Virginia. Later he was moved to other company branches, including Philadelphia. He joined Norman in 1907, with Harry’s role as an entrepreneurial salesman. The firm took on the sale of stoves which were installed upon purchase. The sheet metal shop, shown here, was opened in the 1920s. and in 1936, when this image was shot, it was still home to Kydd Brothers, although by that time Harry was the only brother involved in the business. In 1919 Norman had established his own business on Granville Street, and by the early 1920s had moved south, later living in Seattle.

At one time Kydd Brothers employed 20 plumbers, but following a strike in the late 1920’s (where the new wage was raised to $1 an hour), Kydd Bros left the installation market and stuck largely to plumbing sales to both retail and wholesale trade.

A third brother, Malcolm also moved to Vancouver, and became an employee of the Royal Bank. By the 1930s he was manager of the Port Coquitlam branch of the bank, and in the 1940s manager of the Huntington Rubber Mills of Canada Ltd., factory in the same municipality. He died in 1945.

Harry had died a few years earlier, in 1941. He had run for Alderman in the city at least twice in the late 1920s and early 1930s on a platform of honest administration and fiscal conservatism. After the Second World War, Harry’s son Charles was running the company when the commercial division was relocated to the south side of False Creek where they became BC Plumbing Supplies. This building was rebuilt in 1953 as a single storey structure and today is associated with the Cambie Hostel next door.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4875

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Posted October 19, 2017 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Victory Square

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