In 1859, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) planned to build Fort Berens on a sage brush-covered river bench across from Lillooet. The fort was intended to serve as a trading post and supply outlet for the miners flooding north through the Fraser Canyon, as a trading post for the local aboriginal people and as a “fishery post for collection of salmon…the bread and butter of the interior posts.” Although the land was allocated and building supplies were hauled onto the site, the trading post was never completed and, in 1861, as the gold rush collapsed, the post was decommissioned and the lumber, pickets and other construction material removed.
The short-lived Fort Berens was named after Henry Hulse Berens, who served as deputy governor (1856-1858) and governor (1858-1863) of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Henry Hulse Berens (1804-1883) was born in Kevington House, Kent. He was appointed a member of the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833, becoming deputy governor in 1856 and governor in 1858, a position he held until 1863. Berens' connection with the HBC followed a long family tradition, as his great-grandfather, Herman Berens, his grandfather, Joseph Berens, Sr., and his father, Joseph Berens, Jr., were all members of the HBC's Governor and Committee. Henry Hulse Berens was also a director of the Bank of England from 1849 to 1880. He married Ellinor Stone in 1841, and they had one daughter, Ellinor Frances. Berens died in Sidcup, Kent on 23 August 1883.