Miss Royal City 1950 remembers

Dear Editor:

I had not thought or heard of Frank Goodship for more than half a century. We met in 1950, when I was 17 and he was the photographer for the Columbian newspaper in New Westminster. At the time, I considered him a much older man but now realize he was only 24 years old.

The City of New Westminster was trying to get girls to run for Miss Royal City with the winner representing the city in the PNE beauty pageant. The PNE rules had changed and instead of a swim suit contest, the focus was on teenaged girls being judged wearing a gingham dress.

I had just graduated from Trapp Tech and had no thought of running for Miss New Westminster, but Tommy Radbourne, who was the contest manager and a city alderman, kept after me to run.

I finally gave in and entered the contest at the last minute. I remember my mother staying up late at night to sew me a gingham dress to wear.

The judging took place on Aug. 10 in the Knox Presbyterian Church hall, and, including me, there were nine candidates. An all-female panel of judges had been appointed, one of whom was Alderwoman Beth Woods, who later became mayor. Because of the all female judges, Mr. Goodship arranged a photo op by setting up a mock strike outside the hall with two young men carrying "Unfair to Men" placards. It was all done in fun.

I was shocked when I was chosen as Miss Royal City. Miss Dorothy Taylor, editor of the Columbian pinned on my corsage, and four-year-old Barbara Fort presented me with a bouquet. Mr. Goodship took photographs of me that night and also in the days leading up to the PNE.

Recently, I stumbled on a website about the New Westminster Hollywood Bowl with a photo of a young man aged 17 walking with his girlfriend on Columbia Street in 1950. The girl was the daughter of Mayor J. Lewis Sangster, and she looked a lot like I did back then.

The photo of that girl got me reminiscing about all the photos that Frank Goodship took of me and wondering what had become of them when the Columbian ceased publishing several years ago.

Out of curiosity, I typed in my maiden name and also tried typing in Miss Royal City, without results. Then I thought of typing in "Frank Goodship photographs."

Much to my amazement, several sites for Frank Goodship appeared on my computer screen, and I learned his many photographs had been archived.

I found a photo taken Aug. 10, 1950, the night I was chosen as Miss Royal City, with the alderman giving me a kiss on the forehead. I found four posed photos taken of me in Hume Park in front of one of the many gazebos originally built throughout the park. None of these gazebos still exist. There were photos I had never seen until now.

I remember Mr. Goodship drove a new MG TD convertible, and he was a real gentleman. When my year as Miss Royal City ended, I never saw Frank Goodship again. Although it was sad to read Mr. Goodship died when he was only 64, it was wonderful to read about his interesting career and learn that his photographs have been archived as a history of New Westminster in the post-war years. One comment I read stated that what was remarkable was that many of the subjects in his photos would still be alive today. I am proof of that.

Seeing five of the many photos he took of me 63 years ago was a trip down memory lane, and I thank those responsible for preserving Frank Goodship's photographs.

Marlene Cameron (nee Mackay), Miss Royal City 1950

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