Support Touchstones Gallery and Museum today DONATE NOW

Archival Resources

The Shawn Lamb Archives has a wide-ranging collection of textual records such as street and telephone directories (1891-2021), subject history and people files and over 600 library books. We also have over 1,300 of local history articles and reports.

Touchstones Archives Reference Articles


The Shawn Lamb Archives has an extensive collection of nearly 18,000 individual obituary records dating from 1888-2021.  The collection comes from local newspapers such as the Nelson Daily News, Nelson Star and Pennywise and includes obituaries, funeral accounts and cards of thanks.  The collection has been compiled for many years by volunteers including Mary Golata and her daughter Frances Nicholson.  The obituaries are currently managed by Archives volunteer Maureen Attridge.  We are now able to share an alphabetical list of the obituaries we hold for individuals who passed away to the end of 2021.

Obituaries can be accessed free of charge by visiting the Shawn Lamb Archives.  Alternatively an electronic copy of an obituary can be emailed for $10 per obituary.  Please contact the Archivist at for enquiries.

Obituary List

City of Nelson Records

Touchstones Nelson is the custodian of many City of Nelson records.  Among the most important are property land assessment tax records that date from 1898-1979 and building permits from 1955-74; and 1985-88.

We also have around 5,000 plumbing permits for Nelson properties dating from 1897 to 1981.  These permits have recently been indexed in a project led by volunteer Elizabeth Wallach.  Plumbing permits can reveal many details about a property including ownership, building function and details of work carried out.  They may also reveal when a property was built, who the occupiers were and perhaps the name of an architect.  They also often have a plan showing the layout of rooms in a house.

Plumbing permits usually record a property’s specific location by legal description (District Lot, Block and Lot) rather than by civic or street address.  Legal descriptions can be found by doing a BC Assessment Search 

We have arranged our plumbing permits in two ways.  First they are arranged by plan number which is usually chronically starting in 1897 and running through to 1981. Secondly we have arranged the same plumbing permit data as best we can by building address.

Plumbing Permits by Plan Number 1897-1981

Plumbing Permits by Street Address 1897-1981

We hold over 3,000 Nelson building permit records in our Collection. These provide insightful information on a building construction and renovations. Our building permit record date from 1954-1974 and 1985-1988 and have recently been catalogued by our volunteer team.

Building permits by Permit Number 1954-1988

Building permits by Street Address 1954-1988

We also hold over 1,700 Nelson building permit census records that date from 1939-1965. There provide a simple summary of work carried out to Nelson buildings. Touchstones volunteer Joy Gillender has recently completed the cataloguing of these records:

Census of Building Permits 1939-65

Plumbing and building permits can be accessed free of charge by visiting the Shawn Lamb Archives.  Alternatively an electronic copy of the permit contents can be emailed for $15 per permit.  Please contact the Archivist at for enquiries.