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Surrey Centre Stores and Storekeepers

Surrey Centre is the historic regional center for Surrey. Stores have existed since the early 1870s.
This is a history of those stores and the families that operated them.

The settlement of Surrey Centre was part of that great wave of migration which brought hundreds of thousands of settlers to open up the western half of the North American continent. In Surrey, in 1872, there were no roads. The Serpentine River was the only highway to the area which became known as "Surrey Centre". Centered on Old McLellan and Coast Meridian Roads, it can be best defined as the area once served by Surrey Centre Post Office and Surrey Centre School. The Serpentine River to the north and the Serpentine canal to the west form natural boundaries, and in pioneer years it extended as far south as the Nicomekl River.

(see Surrey Centre)

Abraham and Nancy Huck's store

Abraham Huck, the first settler on record in Surrey Centre, came with his family in 1872. They came up the Serpentine River by boat and homesteaded the hillside where Christ Church and Surrey Centre School now stand. Abe Huck was an American, a veteran of the Union Army in the American Civil War, in which he served as a blacksmith. His wife scandalized her pioneer neighbours by going barefoot all summer and by smoking a clay pipe. They lived first in a log cabin, then in a house of hand split cedar planks and cedar shakes. An addition housed the first store and post office in the area. Abe Huck had his store near Old McLellan Road, with access to the logging camps.

Abraham Huck"s home and store

Abe Huck had his store down the hill from Christ Church near Old McLellan Road. This put it in a position to service the logging camps which used the Nicomekl and Serpentine Rivers for access.


The store established in the late 1870s acted as Post Office, General Store, and at the end of the barn a blacksmith's shop. The store provided basic supplies for the few settlers in the Surrey Centre area. It was difficult making a living in the early days but combining the income from farming, store keeper, post master, and blacksmith kept the Huck family viable.

Abraham Huck was born in Somerset. Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1824. In 1845 he married Nancy Gentry from the State of Indiana. After their marriage they farmed in several of the Eastern States, finally settling in Missouri, where they raised corn and tobacco. When the American Civil War broke out, Abraham joined the United States Army, and served as a blacksmith in the infantry. He was discharged from the army July 5, 1865.
After the war the Hucks, with their family of small children left their home in Missouri and traveled by covered wagon across the American prairies to the State of California, where they lived for several years. The Hucks moved north, from California by ship, to New Westminster. In 1872 they homesteaded in what is now the Municipality of Surrey. Abraham and Nancy Huck were in every sense real pioneers. Their first home was a log house, built on their homestead, just south of Christ Church on the Old McLellan Road. They lived there until they could build a frame house and general store. They were among the first settlers to settle in Surrey many years before the Municipality was incorporated, where they became merchants, farmers and Postmaster.
Abraham was also the local blacksmith. He had a blacksmith's shop in the end of his barn in which he shod horses and oxen. In the early days, oxen, or "bull teams" as they were known, were used in the logging camps. Some of the settlers had oxen with which they cleared the land, and also used them for transportation. The oxen had to be shod with iron shoes, as did the horses, the difference in the shoes being that the horse shoe was one solid piece of iron, while the ox shoe had to be in two pieces due to the cloven hoof of the ox.
Abe and Nancy Huck were very community-minded people, and were always ready to do their part in promoting anything that was for the betterment of the pioneer settlers. It was the Hucks who donated the land for Christ Church, and in 1884 he also donated land for the church vicarage. Abe was a member of the building committee that laid the corner stone for Christ Church at Surrey Centre.
At a Surrey Council Meeting held in the Huck home. He believed that local government should have a Town Hall where by Councilors and citizens can meet. As a result Abe gave the Municipality of Surrey one acre of land for a Town Hall, for which he received a nominal dollar. The hall built on that site was used by the Municipal Council until 1912.
1910 map of Surrey Center

This 1910 map was drawn by Albert Hill, a British Columbia Land Surveyor, who was establishing land holdings for the BC Land Survey Branch. It depicts the parcels of land that Abraham Huck donated to the community: Christ Church, Surrey Centre School, Surrey Town Hall and the Parsonage.

Abraham and Nancy Huck had a family of eleven children, several of whom died in infancy, before they settled in Surrey. Their daughter, Elizabeth (Mrs. John Turner) was born in Indiana in 1851. She died in Vancouver May 6, 1902. Martha was born in Indiana in 1852. She married Lancelot Grimmer, an early pioneer in Surrey. After some years in Surrey, the Grimmers sold their land and moved to Burnaby. Mr. Grimmer became a Justice of the Peace in Burnaby in the year 1891. Cynthia, born in 1857, married George Kickbush, a pioneer resident of Chilliwack. She died November 22, 1939. Their youngest son, Abraham was born in 1865, and died in the State of Oregon, in 1954.
Abraham and Nancy Huck traveled the "pioneer road" from the State of Kansas, in the U.S. to Surrey in British Columbia. It was a long hard road but they stood up to it, meeting the hardships from day to day. Abraham died in 1890 and Mrs. Huck died in Chilliwack in 1893. They were both buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Sapperton, New Westminster.
PP86–87 Abraham and Nancy Huck; From Missouri to California by covered wagon. The Surrey Pioneers. 1974.

The Surrey Centre Post Office celebrated its centenary in 1969. It served in various locations from 1879 to 1969. Beginning with the Hucks a number of well known local residents served as Postmaster for Surrey Centre beginning in 1877.

Dating from January 11, 1887 (opening of Surrey Centre Post Office), a government file confirms this with a list of postmasters showing prominent pioneer names such as Abraham Huck, George Boothroyd, John Churchland, James Oxenham, with the latter's daughter, Mrs. Mary Georgina Loney named as postmistress in 1944.
P43 (Along the Way 1981).

Arthur and Lucy Richardson's store

Arthur and Lucy Richardson arrived in Surrey in 1887. They purchased 80 acres on the east side of Coast Meridian Road between Old and New McLellan Roads. They built a small house on the northwest corner of the property at the intersection of Coast Meridian and Old McLellan (168th Street and 60th Avenue). In part of the house they opened a general store and post office. The crossroads became the nerve centre of the neighbourhood.

Arthur and Lucy Richardson
Arthur Richardson (1853–1941) and Lucy Richardson (1854–1935) came to Surrey Centre at the urging of the Reverend William Bell, rector at Christ Church. Bell had struck up a friendship with the Richardson's in Tacoma, in 1885, when he was there to meet his bride, Georgina. After Bell's return to British Columbia the two families carried on a correspondence and the Richardson's eventually decided to join the Bells in Surrey Centre. The Richardson's were probably ideal settlers in the Reverend Bell's eyes: they were educated and Anglican.
The Richardson's had emigrated from Lincolnshire, England, to an English settlement in Iowa about 1881. Conditions in Iowa were difficult and a combination of cold weather and bad luck eventually made them decide to move on to Tacoma. Arthur Richardson worked there as a watchman and later, when they came to British Columbia, he was employed at the mill at Moodyville (in today's North Vancouver). According to Arthur's son, Guy, the family came to Moodyville in 1885 or 1886, located property in Surrey Centre in 1886, and moved to Surrey Centre in April 1887.
The property purchased by the Richardsons was one–half of the southwest quarter of section seven, located just southeast of the community of Surrey Centre. The quarter–section, or 160 acres, had been purchased from the Crown in 1879 by Gordon Dafoe at $1.00 an acre. An 1897 map of Surrey shows this quarter–section divided between two owners, A. Richardson (western half) and Bridgeman (eastern half). According to Arthur Richardson's grandson, Lance, Captain Bridgeman was Arthur Richardson's brother–in–law: Lance believes the two men bought the quarter–section together.
Once in Surrey Centre the family built a small house on the northwest corner of the property, at the intersection of Coast Meridian Road (168th Street) and Old McLellan Road. However, before that could occur lumber milled in New Westminster was brought around by sea and towed up the Nicomekl to the bridge on Coast Meridian (168th Street) where it was unloaded and hauled up the hill into Surrey Centre. Arthur Richardson decided to open a store on the ground floor level of the house.
They opened their store and post office which operated until 1890. In that year, they sold the house and corner property (part of the 80 acres originally bought by Arthur Richardson) to John Churchland.
The Richardsons moved down the road into their second house in Surrey Centre, a house built from lumber cut on the site and milled locally. That house was built in 1890 and fronted on Coast Meridian Road.
Undated clipping. The Richardson Family, Surrey Archives.

When the Richardsons sold the store they built a home on the Coast Meridian Road about a mile south, near the Old McLellan Road.


The Richardsons had three sons; Arthur Ferguson, born November 23, 1886; Guy Crackenthorp, born March 1, 1890, and Lancelot Edward, born March 8, 1892.


Arthur Richardson was prominent in local affairs, becoming a school trustee in 1895, a position he held for ten years. The family was very active in Christ Church at Surrey Centre.


Mrs. Richardson died in 1935 and Mr. Richardson in 1941; they were both buried in Christ Church Cemetery at Surrey Centre. Son Guy continued to operate part of the original farm.


John and Emma Churchland's store

John Churchland, with his wife Emma, and young family left Liverpool, England for Canada. After landing in Montreal they traveled by CPR through to Vancouver. The Churchland's rented a home in New Westminster until they located in Surrey. Abe Huck had passed away that same year and their home and store became available for lease. This became their first home which was just down the hill from Christ Church. This had been the former Abraham Huck's a split cedar store and house. Within three months of leaving England, John had put in a small stock and the store was open for business. This was a temporary location as Mr. Churchland realized that the center of the community was further north at the intersection of Old McLellan and Coast Meridian Road. He purchased a home on six acres at that corner from Mr. Richardson. Here he enlarged the existing store which became known as Surrey Centre Store and Post Office.

John Churchland and his wife Emma

John Churchland and his wife Emma seated at the table in their home above the Surrey Centre Store and Post Office.


The following is a brief description of the Churchland's family history in Surrey centre.

WE GOME TO CANADA 1890 by Jack Churchland
We lived at Kingsland Road, Birkenhead, and about 1889 the doctor advised us that we (should) come to Canada, largely on account of Mother's health, which at that time was not too good. So Father sold his business on Castle Street, Liverpool, and we packed bag and baggage and in May 1890 set sail on S.S. "LAKE ONTARIO" for Canada. The family consisted of Father and Mother, Bessie, May and myself, being 6 & 1/2 years old; the youngest of the family.
We probably knew less about Canada than we know today about the Antarctic Continent; but the C.P.R. – only recently put into service – was getting a lot of publicity and we booked tickets for Vancouver.
Some people have said to me "You must have come over here by sailing ship," but passenger service was well established by steam in 1890. We shipped a lot of furniture, including a piano, by sailing ship, around the Horn and it came along a couple of months after we landed in Vancouver. The ocean passage of 14 days was more or less uneventful. We saw some rough weather and we were delayed some off Newfoundland by fog and icebergs, but landed safely at Montreal, where we spent a couple of days – a break in our journey.
The trip across the continent took a week and was pretty stuffy; no air-conditioning at that time. My memory of the vast prairies is very vague but I remember Calgary and seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance as we rolled west. The Valley of the Thompson and the Fraser Canyon must have made a deep impression on my young mind, for although I did not see them again for 50 years, when I drove through the Canyon my memory of them was perfect.
We were met at Vancouver by a Mrs. Cao, who lived at Heatley Avenue and Hastings Street. We stayed two or three days with the Cao family at Heatley Avenue then Father rented a house on Westminster Avenue (now Main Street) about Prior Street – a much more pleasant looking place then than it has become since; many vacant lots covered with grass with the odd cow tethered where it could get the benefit of the grass up to the edge of the board sidewalk.
From that point Father looked around and finally rented the old split cedar house and store, formerly owned by Abe Huck, and situated rather more than half way down–the hill from Christ Church, Surrey. This was in early July and a more naturally beautiful place is hard to imagine. There were plenty of mullens, foxgloves, hollyhocks, cornflowers and other flowers, wild, and gone wild, and at the foot of the hill a patch of raspberries – 10 feet high with berries in profusion.
Father put a small stock in the store, as a temporary measure, and he bought six acres at Surrey Centre and built the old Surrey Centre Store and Post Office. The lumber for this building was shipped by water to the bridge over the Nicomekl River on the Coast Meridian Road, thence by wagon to Surrey Centre. The carpenter work was done by Colonel Miller of Hazelmere; the plastering was done by Mr. Thrift (Father of George Thrift of White Rock). Why Miller was called "Colonel" I'll never know, but if he was as good a military man as he was a carpenter, the British Army had missed a good bet.
The new store was opened in the Spring of '91. Dad's business training had been along the line of select gentlemen's needs in shirts, socks, ties, etc., and he was ill-fitted to take part in a kind of barter business, where he was frequently offered very bad butter and eggs of doubtful age – an understatement if ever there was one!
Surrey Centre General Store

John Churchland and his wife Emma opened the Surrey Centre General Store in April 1891. The operated it for almost 10 year before selling it to James Oxenham in 1910.

About this time he was approached by Mary McDowell, teacher at Kensington Prairie, to have the three children of our family attend that school. To keep the school open she had to have an average attendance of 10 pupils and she was falling short. For some time Bessie, May and I walked to and from school from Surrey Centre to Kensington Prairie School. This stopped when the Surrey Centre School was opened.
(See Schools to 1900)
For two or three weeks school was held in the Town Hall at Surrey Centre, which building was later moved to Cloverdale and is now the Museum Building.
In l892-93 we had the coldest winter I have ever seen in this Valley – 10 below zero at Surrey Centre, 14 below at Halls Prairie, Cloverdale and Port Kells. The ferry service at New Westminster was tied up and Dad was hauling supplies across the river on a hand sleigh.
Keeping store at Surrey Centre had its lighter moments, too, and when Christopher Brown (Father of J. J. and T. J. Brown) came in to pay his bill and complained that his account was not right, that he owed more than the statement showed. Dad combed through his books, trying to find an error, all in vain. Mr. Brown finally broke down and told Dad what had happened. He had come to the store rather early one morning and, finding nobody around, had gone in the back door, which was not locked and taken a plug of tobacco and gone chuckling to himself at the fun he was going to have about it at Dad's expense!
The John Churchland Family 1890. Jack Churchland. Surrey Archives; Churchland file. Undated essay.
As postmaster and mail carrier, he met the Chilliwack train (BC Electric) every morning except Sunday at Meridian station a half–mile away to exchange the in-coming and out-going mail.
In the early days before truck delivery started, storekeeper Oxenham had bread shipped in three times a week from Vancouver. And up to the 1920s, for his big feed trade, he brought prairie grain in by the carload to a siding at Coast Meridian Road where he sacked it by hand.
p149 (Margaret Lang Hastings, 1981)
To help along his income which, from the store, was not too great, Dad accepted, when he was offered, the position of Justice of the Peace, Municipal Assessor, Postmaster, and finally, Fisheries Guardian commercial fishing on the Serpentine, Nicomekl, Mud Bay, and Semiahmoo Bay. This was a lot of territory to cover in a rowboat and the fishermen seemed to have a grapevine of their own and could keep track of where the Fishery Guardian was, and would fish the Serpentine if his boat was on the Nicomekl.
He fooled them one night, though, when his boat was on the Serpentine and a dozen or more were on the bend of the Nicomekl, behind Hookway Island. Dad took me with him and we dropped down the Serpentine to a point where the two rivers come within about a quarter of a mile of each other, where we pulled the boat over land to the Nicomekl and found illegal fishing in full swing!
In 1901 Bessie and May were married; Bessie to Henry Laffere and May to Henry Bose. From Bessie's marriage resulted six children; Beth, May, Doris, Alice, Dick and Marion. From May's marriage resulted seven children; Anna, Harry, Norman, Phyllis, Dorothy, Beatty and Kitty. With the exception of Kitty who died at the age of 13 years, these children are all well and are parents and grandparents.
In 1903 I got itchy feet and decided to break loose and seek my fortune in a world that I was quite as unfamiliar with as Dad was with keeping a country store, viz., the electrical business. It was a long haul before my efforts were rewarded with anything resembling success.
Meanwhile the B.C.E. Railway Company were building the new Chilliwack line and property values through the Valley were going up and my Father decided to sell his property in Surrey, including some 80 acres of good farm land, facing on the Bose Road and the Serpentine River, which we had been farming for several years.
Before too long a sale was made and Mother and Father decided to take a trip to England. The trip to England which was to last for a year or more was completed, and they were back here in 3 or 4 months. They found that after an absence of over 20 years the scene had changed and they no longer fitted in.
Upon their return Dad bought a home on Wilson Avenue, near Central Park, where they lived until his death November 21, 1919. He was buried in Ocean View Cemetery. Mother, finding the house too large for her alone, sold and bought a small house on 12th Avenue, South Burnaby, where she lived until her health broke and she retired to a cottage close to her daughter May. At the age of 87 she suffered a stroke, which resulted in her death November 3, 1936, and she lies buried in a plot adjoining Dad.
On May 28, 1914, I was married to Alice Maude Montgomery, of Bristol, England, and on February l8th, 1916, our first child, John, was born, followed by Chris, Mabel and Norman. John, Chris and Mabel are all married and have families of their own.
Jack Churchland. (see The Bose Farm)
An unpublished, typewritten document titled: The John Churchland Family 1890. Jack Churchland. Surrey Archives; Churchland file. Undated essay.
1897 map of Surrey Center

This section of a 1897 map of Surrey shows the land holdings in Surrey Centre at the time. The names of the Store Keepers or their neighbours are prominent: Richardson, Churchland, Boothroyd, and Bose.


May Churchland married Henry Bose. At the time Henry gave Mr. Churchland part of his farm along what is 60th Avenue. Churchland farmed this as well as running the Surrey Centre Store.


The eclipse of Surrey Centre as the political and commercial focus of central Surrey came with the growth of Cloverdale. The construction of the New Westminster Southern Railway from Seattle to Vancouver via a route alongside Clover Valley Road resulted in the establishment of Cloverdale in 1891. That same year, New McLellan Road was built from Serpentine Road directly east to Langley, through Cloverdale, by-passing Surrey Centre.


Mr. Churchland decided to sell the store as Cloverdale was becoming the more important commercial community. The BC Electric Railway was being competed east to Chilliwack and now three railways junctioned in Cloverdale. The New McLellan was becoming the dominant east west route and as a result the Old McLellan Road traffic declined.


The Churchlands operated the store for around 10 years and then it was taken over by Mr. and Mrs. James Oxenham in 1910. The "Oxenham's store", as it was usually called, continued in the family until 1944.


James and Emily Oxenham's Store

Surrey Centre Oxenham General Store

James Oxenham and his wife Emily acquired the Surrey Centre Store in 1910. The store was renamed the Surrey Centre Oxenham General Store. This picture was taken in 1909 with James Oxenham in front of the store but behind the children. From left to right is baby Myrtle, Isobel, Jessie, Emily(mother), Reta and Ernie (at front, little boy facing left).


This family history was provided by Shirley Unrau, nee Oxenham. It was her Grandfather James Oxenham and Grandmother Emily, who managed the Surrey Center James Oxenham General Store. It was right across the street from the Boothroyd Home, which is now the Wired Monk Coffee Shop. Her father, Ernest, was the only son, in the middle of eight sisters.

James Oxenham

James Oxenham was born in Ontario but raised in High River Alberta. The Oxenham family were ranchers in Alberta before it became a Province. This picture was taken of James on a horse in 1906.


The Oxenham family originated in England, and had immigrated to Ontario. The family moved to the Northwest Territory into what is now Alberta. James Oxenham was born in 1877 in Plympton Township, Ontario. James grew up in the west and farmed for years in High River, Alberta.

James Oxenham and Emily Bridges

The wedding of James Oxenham and Emily Bridges, 1902. The Grandfather and Grandmother of Shirley Unrau, who provided this family biography.


The Bridges family also had an English background. They also settled in High River. James met and married Miss Emily Bridges. James and Emily had eight daughters and one son, four of which were born in High River. It was still the Northwest Territories at this time. In 1908, James brought his family to the coast of British Columbia and bought the Surrey Centre General Store.

James Oxenham General Store

James Oxenham General Store, Surrey Centre, BC. James is in the buggy with store supplies. On the porch is Reta, Myrtle, Emily holding Mabel, Jessie, Isobel, and Ernie (age 5, by hitching post).


James and Emily Oxenham arrived in Surrey Centre in 1908. They located on a farm on 168 Street between 60th and 64th Avenue, but some time later bought the Surrey Centre store from Mr. Churchland. The family totalled eight girls and one boy. To help out James sometimes worked for the Municipality while the eldest girl ran the store and post office. After long hours the old pot-bellied stove in the store became the local place for gossip.


A highly respected merchant, James Oxenham did a thriving business in his general store. The family home was attached to the store, and was located at the corner of Coast Meridian Road and the Old McLellan Road. Although he was kept busy in the store, James was active in church and community work as well. Jessie, James' oldest daughter, remembers the barrel of hard candy her father always provided for children to help themselves, and how, each spring, he would roll a big bag of marbles off the lean-to roof of the store, for youngsters to scramble after.

The complete Oxenham Family 1919

The complete Oxenham Family 1919: back: Myrtle, Reta, Jessie, Emily (mother), Isobel, and Mabel. Front: James holding Katie, Mary, Ernie holding Evelyn.

James and Emily

The 25th Wedding Anniversary of James (1877-1944) and Emily (1883-1945) Oxenham.


The family were Methodists but attended Christ Church on many occasions. The Oxenhams were very friendly with the Reverend Gilbert and family. Simon Cunningham who taught Sunday School in the United Church used to walk to the Oxenham's house to get a ride in winter on the stone boat, or perhaps the new Essex car.

The James Oxenham family in 1923

The James Oxenham family in 1923. They are in front of the family car with the Boothroyd home in the background across the road. In back: Parents, Emily and James. In front: Evelyn, Katie, Mary, Myrtle, Mable and Ernie.


The one son in the family recalls what life was like in a family with a country General Store.

Ernie� remembers Mom had house help when we were small.� The income from the small grocery store was not enough for this family of eleven.� Papa had to work on the road to pay the bills.� My oldest sister Jessie ran the store.� She often took the mail to the train, one half mile away, in a wheel barrow.� We had two horses and delivered groceries with them.� Mama would take us blueberry picking on the Johnston Road.
Across the road from the Oxenham Grocery Store was the neighbour's farm, owned by Joe Boothroyd.� In addition to this farm, Joe owned fifty acres on the flats which was about one half mile away.� I remember when I was about ten years old I had a paper route and also worked quite a bit for Joe for several years.� He had a lot of cows and I earned 10 cents a row to weed a LONG row in the garden.� During haying time I earned $1.00 a day to drive the horse that hauled the hay into the barn loft.� It was also our job to put the wire around the hay and put a board in every five feet or so to separate the bales.
After about ninth grade each of us took a year out of school to help in father's store.�� After 12th grade I went to Alberta to harvest.� I earned $340.00, which I gave to my Dad to buy a car.

Ernie Oxenham went on to work for the Overwaitea Company, and became the youngest manager for Overwaitea, when he opened a new store in Nakusp, BC. Here he married my mother and had us three kids.


James Oxenham was a member of the Orange Lodge, and the whole family was active in Surrey Centre community affairs.

The Oxenhams at White Rock Oxenhams at White Rock

The picture on the left was taken in 1924 of the Oxenhams at White Rock: Myrtle, Ernie (age 17), Evelyn, James (father), Mary, Emily (mother), and Katie.
The picture on the right was taken in 1940 with the Oxenhams at White Rock Beach. Joy, Grandpa James and Grandma Emily Oxenham. In front: Shirley and Bernie. Shirley provided the family history of the Oxenhams.


James and Emily loved to take their family to the beach at White Rock, BC, and eventually they built a house on a street named Oxenham Avenue. James owned other property in White Rock as well, and by 1920, had built two other houses on Gordon Ave., just below Oxenham Ave.


James' daughter, Katie, wrote this of her father: My father, James Oxenham, was one of the finest men who ever lived. The local magistrate who took care of Papa's business affairs said, "If Jimmy Oxenham doesn't get a seat in the front row of Heaven, then there's no hope for the rest of us." Papa ran the General store and Post office at Surrey Centre for over 30 years and died of a heart attack behind the counter one day. He dispensed good humour, kindness, and a listening ear, and credit to everyone who came in. He was never rich in money. His commission from the post office often went to pay the grocery wholesaler, but he was loved by everyone. He was always called Jimmy by the local men, and Papa by us.


On March 30, 1944, while tending the store, James died suddenly of a heart attack. James' business was sold, and his wife, Emily, passed away a year later, in December of 1945, of cancer.


Don Wilson's Surrey Centre Store

After the death of Mr. Oxenham, the store was run by family members for a few years until it was sold to Mr. Don Wilson, who had operated a grocery store in New Westminster. Mr. Don Wilson was a hard working gentleman, as he also operated a bowling alley in Cloverdale. He met an untimely death however. One night after working the day shift at the grocery, and the night shift at the bowling alley, he ran his car into the ditch, and punctures a lung. He did not survive this accident. Mr. Wilson owned the store up until his death in 1956. The store did not operate as a business after this and stood empty for the next twelve years until it was demolished by the fire department in 1968.


The Robinson, Arnold, Schmidt, Cheung, and Jarnain Grewan store


In 1946, Mr. Robinson built and opened a grocery store at the North West corner of Old McLellan Road (60th Ave), and Coast Meridian Road (168th Street), opposite Mr. Wilson's Store. The store was named Surrey Centre Grocery.


Fred and Dorothy Robinson's Surrey Centre Store had a residence built on the top floor and a small garage beside it. It was convenient for customers who wished a simple repair or to put air in their tires. In the early 1950s a Mr. Bernard (Barney) Arnold and his wife Kay purchased the store and made some changes to it. They added to the house on top and renamed it Arnold's Grocery Store. There was also a gas pump at the side of the building. They got their gas supply from Shell Oil, operated by Art Bourassa. The Arnold's operated the business for 10 years. In 1961, Mr. Arnold sold the store to a Mr. Tony Schmidt who operated it until he retired in 1965.

Cheung's Food market Cheung's Food Market

Cheung's Food market in the 1960s and in 2008


Mr. and Mrs. Cheung immigrated from Hong Kong in 1968 and bought the store from Tony Schmidt the same year. They changed the name of the store to Cheung's Food Market. The Cheung's continued to upgrade the store and the home above. They made renovations to the store and changed the interior floor plan around.


The Cheung's had four children, two boys and two girls, all of which, at some time, did duty in the store. The Cheung's Food Market sold groceries, candy, magazines etc and it also had a gas pump in the early years. The Cheung's sold their market in 2001, after serving the people of Surrey Centre for 35 years. In 2008, Jarnain Grewan became the final owner before the buildng was demolished to make way for a 7-11. With the growing residential area surrounding Surrey Centre the business will continue to prosper.

New commercial block

The new commercial block in Surrey Centre opened in 2007.


The Wired Monk, was opened in the restored Boothroyd home in 2007

As a young man George Boothroyd left his home in Sheffield England for the United States, in 1848, settling in the State of New York, where he remained for a short time. From New York he joined the gold rush to California.


In 1861, with his bother William, he left California and followed the British Columbia gold rush into the Cariboo. They arrived in the Fraser Canyon that year and started a road house for the miners on their way to the gold mines further up the Fraser. The Boothroyd road house, known as Forrest House, was located between Boston Bar and Lytton.  There, George met his future wife, a lady from the local indigenous community named Mary.


In 1873 George Boothroyd sold his interest in the roadhouse to his brother William and moved with his wife and family to New Westminster where they remained for a short period. While living in New Westminster Mr. Boothroyd homesteaded 160 acres in Surrey Centre.


As soon as he had a house built on the homestead he moved his wife and family. In those days there were very few roads. The Boothroyds moved in a row boat from New Westminster to Surrey Centre by way of the Fraser and Serpentine rivers. They settled at what became Coast Meridian and Old McLellan Roads in 1877 at what became known as Boothroyd corner.


George had lived in Surrey Centre since 1877 and had carried on general farming operations. He died in 1902 at age 73. Mary was the daughter of a native chief in the Lytton or Yale area of British Columbia. George and Mary were married in Lytton, BC October 31, 1872. Mary died in New Westminster in 1884 at the age of 51.


George and Mary Boothroyd had a family of nine: six sons and three daughters; Joe Forrest, Silas Wright, George Arthur, William Charles, Thomas, Bertha Mary, Carrie and Emma.

Boothroyd Family
  • This photo of the Boothroyd Family was taken around 1882.
  • Back row left to right: James Forrest, George Arthur, William Charles
  • Middle row: Mrs. Mary Boothroyd, Carrie, Thomas
  • Sitting: Mr. George Washington Boothroyd, Emma
  • Front row: Bertha Mary, Josiah and Silas Wright

Mr. Boothroyd became quite active in community affairs in Surrey and Langley. He served as a councilor on Surrey Council, a member of the first school board, and a member of the Agricultural Society of Surrey. He was one of the original elders of the Methodist Church at Milner in the Municipality of Langley. The Boothroyd family attended church at Milner for many years, walking from Surrey Centre every Sunday.


As a result of these many activities the Boothroyd home became the hub of many activities that took place in the growing neighbourhood. For a time the house also served as a local post office with George the Postmaster. George and Mary Boothroyd and their family had a big part in the development of the Municipality of Surrey.


Over the years many people have lived in the old house and by the 1960s it had fallen into disrepair. In the mid 1970s the Bartlett Family bought the home and restored it back to a livable condition. They added a porch, vinyl siding and refurbished it inside.


As the development of west Cloverdale reached Surrey Centre in the early 2000s, Park Ridge homes, as part of the development plan, under took to preserve and restore the Boothroyd home to what it would have looked like in the 1890s. Great care was taken to restore the home and preserve those features that gave character to the original home. Beginning in 2005 and finishing in 2007, the character of the heritage home has been maintained and its future guaranteed as a commercial outlet.

The Wired Monk

The Wired monk before (2005) and after (2007) restoration.


The Wired Monk's statement upon its 2007 opening:

The Wired Monk at Boothroyd Corner desires to carry on the traditions of this first pioneer. They invite you to gather for good conversation on the porch or to come in to sip a cup of coffee by the living room fireplace. Perhaps you'd like to raise a glass of wine over a special celebration or host a community gathering here. Whatever the occasion, the Wired Monk seeks to open its doors to all its neighbours. 
After a while, the building changed hands and is now called Boothroyd's Corner.  It is still a coffee shop and meeting place, and very well loved within the community.
The Wired Monk


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