The Photography of John H. Scougall
To view the gallery of Scougall photographs, click on the subject links immediately to the left.
Upon the death of this man, a friend commented in the local paper, “He never did a shabby thing in his life.” When one views his photographs, the truth of this statement is obvious.
John Harnage Scougall was born in Ilfacrombe, Devonshire and came to Kincardine in 1874 when he was in his early 20s. He married Charlotte Butler in 1886 and raised four children. Kincardine was his home for 40 years. He was town clerk briefly and then worked for a banker before resuming the clerk’s position in 1895 and distinguishing himself in the role until his death in December 1922 at age 72. He filled this position in a manner that gained for him the reputation of being one of the best municipal officers in Ontario. He was methodical and accurate in his work.
He was a public-spirited citizen and took an active interest in the activities of the town life: secretary-treasurer for the Board of Education, president of the Curling Club, member of the Kincardine County Club. In his younger years, he was a great cricket player and later an avid bowler, curler and golfer. He was also an amateur photographer with a professional’s eye.
From the 1880s to the 1920s, Scougall captured the life of a small town in a media that is timeless – photographs. It is the completeness of this aspect that is unique. Most of the photographs were taken in Kincardine and feature subjects such as life at the harbour and on the lake, homes, local industries, street scenes, weddings, circuses, sports, and the people of the town. His photographs earned awards at the Western Fair in London, Ontario and Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition.
In 1992, Nancy Lambert, the granddaughter of John Scougall, donated over 2000 of Scougall’s original glass plate negatives to the Bruce County Archives. A professional conservator has cleaned several hundreds of these negative and working copies were made so that the originals would not be damaged by repeated use. These copies are available for viewing in the Archives. Also included in this donation were his awards for photography and his camera that are on display in the Bruce County Museum.