Brocklehurst family tree extends branches from U.K.

Great-great-grandson of Ernest Brocklehurst visits area named after ancestor

You could see the resemblance in the chin.

Standing in Spirit Square on a sunny Friday morning, surrounded by family members, Tom Beater held up an iPad displaying a century-old black and white photograph.

article continues below

The man in the picture sported a large, white moustache, a three-piece suit and, if you look closely, a chin similar to Tom’s — at least according to his aunt, Siew-Fern James.

The name of the man in the photograph was Ernest Brocklehurst — yes, that Brocklehurst — and Tom Beater is his great-great grandson.

An English remittance man, Brocklehurst is known today as one of the first and largest landowners on the North Shore, where he ran a farm and apple orchard at the turn of the 20th century.

He enjoyed fox hunting in the Kamloops countryside with a pack of foxhounds he imported from Britain.

But, by about 1908, Brocklehurst and his family had returned to England, never to return.

English company BC Fruitlands purchased his farm and much of the land on the North Shore.

In the 1930s, parcels of land were subdivided and sold off.

The community that developed would come to be named after Brocklehurst.

Fast forward to 2019 and Beater is amazed to see the city that rose up in the years since his ancestors settled in the area.

The 21-year-old Beater stopped in Kamloops while on vacation from his home in London, England.


“It’s not every day that one of your ancestors has made a settlement, so there’s definitely a sense of pride and it feels good to come and see it,” Beater told KTW.

Beater’s paternal grandmother, Kathleen, who is in her 80s and lives in England, was named after Brocklehurst’s wife and is the daughter of Ernest’s eldest son, Cyril.

Beater made the trip to Kamloops recently to celebrate graduating from university. He arrived with his aunt, uncle and cousins.

The pilgrimage to Spirit Square in North Kamloops wasn’t initially part of the itinerary when they planned to drive from Vancouver to Banff.

Beater’s uncle, Brian James, said Kamloops was a natural stopping point, but when family members heard, the tourist were urged to visit Kamloops, where they could find a plaque commemorating Ernest Brocklehurst’s time in the then-village.

“When we were told that Brocklehurst is in Kamloops, we thought we must do this, we must come,” said Siew-Fern James.

Beater, who is of Malaysian and English descent, said he knew little about his great-great grandfather, aside from the fact he lived in Kamloops in the 1900s and returned home to England because his wife was homesick. He said his grandmother was a good source of information, noting he has found little on the internet.

Brian James said the stop in Kamloops became a highlight of the trip.

“It’s a highlight for us to have found this place in Canada, where one of our relatives is responsible for setting it up,” James said.

But the visit was not without a bit of disappointment.

There is ongoing construction behind Spirit Square and the plaque they sought appeared to have been moved from the concrete structure to which it was fastened.

Armed with directions to the Kamloops Museum, in case they wished to learn more about Brocklehurst, the family departed in their minivan to carry out the rest of their Canadian adventure.

The trip across the pond was a first for Beater, who may end up following in his great-great grandfather’s footsteps by settling in Canada, if he can get a visa.

© Kamloops This Week


KTW Daily News Alerts

Question of the Week POLL

Who is to blame for the shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, in which 176 people were killed, including 57 Canadians?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar