Article ID: CBB128744971

Mining meaning: Telling spatial histories of the Britannia Mine (2020)


What happens to a mining town when the mine closes? This paper explores this question through a study of the Britannia copper mine in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Having operated almost continuously since 1905, the Britannia mine shut its doors in 1974. In the years after it closed, the Britannia mine survived through its reinvention as a museum and heritage site. This paper tells the story of that reinvention. Focusing on the work of a small but determined group of people, the Britannia Beach Historical Society (BBHS), it details the transformation of the Britannia mine from an industrial landscape into ‘Canada’s largest museum artefact’ and a national historic site. However, more than a historical account of the development of a mining museum and heritage economy, this paper is also concerned with the ways in which such acts of commemoration and memorialisation constituted particular spatial histories. Highlighting the importance of the materiality of place within these spatial histories, it shows how the BBHS’s narratives of BC history, and mining’s place within it, were grounded in, negotiated through, and eventually undermined by the shifting material traces of mining at Britannia.

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Authors & Contributors
Bradley, Ben
David Brownstein
Amritha Ballal
Ozden-Schilling, Thomas Charles
Pereira, Hugo Silveira
Michael C. Hughes
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Historical Archaeology
Canadian Journal of Health History/Revue canadienne d’histoire de la santé
Railroad History
Journal of Historical Geography
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Harbour Publishing
The Royal British Columbia Museum
University of Washington Press
UBC Press
Industrial archaeology
Forests and forestry
Mines and mining
Environmental history
Pattullo, Thomas Dufferin
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
20th century, late
British Columbia (Canada)
United States
Kola Peninsula
Labrador (Canada)
Quincy Mining Company
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record
Canada. Canadian Army. Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

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