Lim family with a small monkey at Petticoat Lane Market - FAR2018-006.3_1


Lim family with a small monkey at Petticoat Lane Market

Maker: Y.B. Ng
Medium:Gelatin silver print
Geography: London, England
Date: c. 1961
8.9 × 13.9 cm (3 1/2 × 5 1/2 in.)
Object number: 2018.35.3
Credit Line: Gift of Sandra Lim and Elizabeth Bolton Lim
Not on view

This is a photograph of the Lim family on one of their weekend outings to Petticoat Lane Market around Christmas. In this image, Ngi Yong Lim holds his son, Robert, as his wife, Eli Alice, holds a small monkey wearing a Christmas costume. Eli Alice remembers trips to this market fondly. She recalls that there was a man at a booth who always had a monkey. On this occasion, the man passed the animal to Eli Alice to hold. The photograph captures Robert’s delight on this happy occasion. Robert wears a sweater and hat that was knitted by his Norwegian grandmother. This image was taken by a close family friend, who was an avid photographer and often accompanied the Lims on their day trips. It is considered one of the most special photographs in the Wilhelmsen/Lim family collection representing a fond memory for Eli Alice and an interesting part of the family history for her daughters who were born in Canada years later. The Lim's display a copy of this image in a frame at home.

This is a photograph from the Wilhelmsen/Lim family collection. Eli Alice Wilhelmsen is of Norwegian descent and was born in the small Arctic town of Gryellefjord, in Norway. She studied nursing at Ulevoll in Oslo, and later moved to London, England, where she worked as a nurse in Surrey. While in England, she and her friends frequented an international club, where they danced and socialized. She met her husband, Ngi Yong Lim, in London in 1958. He was born in Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia, studied architectural (now civil) engineering in the United States at Washington State University, briefly worked in Chicago, and moved to England at the encouragement of his close friend, Hoon Kun Lok. He was an avid photographer and swimmer, and like Eli Alice, he enjoyed social events. Ngi Yong and Eli Alice were married in 1959. For several years, the couple lived in London with their first-born son, Robert Geir Harald. In the early 1960s, Ngi Yong immigrated to Canada for an employment opportunity, followed shortly after by Eli Alice after the birth of their son, Timothy. Both of their sons were born in Norway during extended visits, so that Eli Alice could be close to family and benefit from the healthcare that her Norwegian citizenship allowed. While in Canada, the family lived in Niagara Falls where Ngi Yong worked for a prominent engineering firm H.G. Acres. There they had their first daughter, Sandra, before moving to Burlington. Their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was born in Burlington. As a mixed-race family growing up in Canada, the daughters remember how both they and their brothers experienced racism in their earlier years. Their family photo collection includes an album of photographs from Ngi Yong’s high school days in Malaysia, an album of his time spent at Washington State University, an album of snapshots from Ngi Yong and Eli Alice’s life in London, and an album that documents their early days in Canada. Three photographs from this collection were donated to the ROM.

This object is part of The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum, which includes photographs and oral histories, among other objects from family photo collections.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.