1949 Yukon Nuggets
Claude and Mary Tidd
Claude Tidd was a man on a mission, as are most Mounties! His mission, however, seemed more to do with preserving the things he encountered - with a camera. Claude Britiff Tidd was born in England in 1886. He received a teacher’s degree in 1908 and in 1910, he sailed for Canada.
Tidd joined the NWMP in 1914, and served twenty-one years in the Yukon and Northern British Columbia. He met and married Mary, a nurse, in Dawson City, in 1925. The Tidds lived and served in many Yukon communities including Dawson, Ross River , Mayo Landing, Old Crow and Forty Mile.
Tidd’s job was to keep the peace. But his life was photography. He was meticulous and spent hours in the cold -- setting up the perfect shot. He carried a 16-millimeter film camera and captured the substance of the long distance treks the Mounties took in the days of the dog-team patrol. All in gorgeous black and white images.
Claude had made a name for himself in Dawson City society, and contributed his skills as a musician to the night life and to the church. His photography brought him recognition as well, and he kept up a steady side business supplying pictures to his Dawson customers.
The Tidds lived in many Yukon communities both before and after his years with the Mounties. After the Second World War, they moved back to England where, ironically – for a couple who had often endured hard times in the north, they now found themselves challenged by post-war poverty in England. Furthermore, Claude was seriously ill. He died in 1949.
Of all the Mountie photographers, Claude Tidd was the most prolific, and the most conscious of himself as a photographer. While he followed the convention of photographing Mountie outposts, his cabins have the look of a quaint home rather than a northern outpost. The cabins he shared with Mary are filled with charm, and you can see them online.
The Yukon Archives has a splendid web story called "A Yukon Romance". It includes outstanding detail of the life, times, and many of the thousands of Yukon photographs taken by Claude and Mary Tidd.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.