May Day bracelet returns to Fort Langley

Newest item in Fort Langley museum’s collection

The timing was almost perfect.

A special package reached the mailbox of Langley Centennial Museum Curator Kobi Christian on Thursday morning, May 18, just days before Fort Langley hosted its 95th annual May Day parade and celebrations. A silver bracelet had arrived, engraved “Queen Jean May 13, 38, Fort Langley, B.C.”

For close to a century, Fort Langley has been celebrating May Day on the Monday of the Victoria Day long weekend, and traditional festivities include choosing a May Queen and her Royal Party from amongst local young contestants.

The “Queen Jean” referenced on the bracelet was Jean McIver, who was crowned Fort Langley’s May Queen 79 years ago.

“It’s a lovely find,” Christian said. “And it’s interesting to be able to connect this to a particular person, place, and time in the community.”

Last fall, Christian had been contacted by Irene Hembling of Kelowna. Hembling had been thrift store shopping and had come across the silver bracelet. The designs on the bracelet and the inscription on it intrigued her enough to purchase it and find out more. She contacted the Langley Centennial Museum, where the curator was able to learn more through photos and a particularly magnificent May Day souvenir that had been created by Jenny Simpson, later Jenny Lewis, of Fort Langley.

Young Miss Simpson had illustrated a page for each year of the May Day celebrations in both Fort Langley and Langley Prairie (now Langley City) between 1929 and 1939, and the little binder containing them was donated to the museum by her daughter years ago. The Simpson family had a grocery in the Fort Grocery building beside the Community Hall, now known as Country Antiques. Ms. Lewis (1909-1986) was very active in the community, particularly with the Fort Langley May Day Committee, where she was Queen Mother for a number of years.

The page for 1938 confirmed that Jean McIver was indeed 1938’s May Queen, and arrangements were made to get the bracelet to the museum, where it arrived just in time for 2017’s May Day celebrations.

Jean McIver was born in East Langley in 1925 to Ellen and Kenny McIver. She attended Langley High School, and later married Ian Souter. The couple built and owned the Derby Drive-In in Fort Langley. She passed away in 2010.

Just Posted

Police sketch shows suspect in assault of 23-year-old woman

Incident took place Nov. 14 on Maclure Road in Abbotsford

Vancouver concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Fire reported after five people observed throwing rocks through windows of business

Blaze broke out early Friday morning on Bourquin Crescent West in Abbotsford

Woman charged with attempted murder after Mission assault

Victim in hospital in stable condition after Maple Ridge woman allegedly attacks him

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Six straight for streaking Giants

Vancouver blanks Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night at Langley Events Centre

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

Most Read