Heritage Register

137 Gorge Road East
(ex-66, 67, 141 Gorge Rd E)
The Dingle, Dingle House, Chapman Point

Built: 1885
Heritage Covenant 1995

For: Charles & Matilda Thomson

137 Gorge


This 2-storey Italianate house has a full-width front verandah. The arched, recessed central entrance retains its finely panelled arched entrance door and has sidelights and conforming transom. The entrance is flanked by 2-storey angled bays and topped by an elaborate bracketed cornice. The portion of wall under the verandah roof is finely panelled. The verandah posts are plain square, but with a panelled effect achieved with moulding. The rest of the exterior is finished in drop siding with corner capping decorated with mouldings. Each corner of the house has a corbelled brick chimney and each side of the hipped roof has a finely bracketed dormer. Originally the roof was likely surmounted by cast iron cresting along the ridge. The back façade has a projection at one side that does not disturb the symmetry of the front. In 1885, this residence cost $9,000. In the 1980s the house was turned to face Gorge Rd instead of the water, and moved closer to the road; it now contains three condo units.

Known for many years as Dingle House Restaurant, it was attributed to John Teague, although there is no supporting evidence that he was the architect. It was built for Charles William and Matilda Ringler Thomson, who lived in it until their deaths in 1916. Charles, or “Gasworks Thomson” as he was affectionately called, was born in London, England, in 1827. He left in 1859 for the California goldrush, ended up on Vancouver Island, and became a mule merchant, providing pack animals in the Cariboo. In 1860, Charles married Matilda Midwinter in San Francisco. Matilda was born in Kent, England, in 1823. The couple came to Victoria and Charles became secretary and eventually manager of the newly-formed Victoria Gas Co (502 Pembroke St, Burnside). He had other interests as well, including real estate and finance, becoming a partner in the BC Loan Co. Charles and Matilda both succumbed to bronchitis during the bitterly cold winter of 1916. The $1 million estate went to Charles’ sister Janet Ringler Thomson, who left the house vacant for nearly two years.


Josiah Ryland, a poultry farmer, rented the house briefly until 1921. Ownership passed to the Drummond-Hay family, who lived here nearly 20 years. Charles Drummond-Hay (1856-1926) was born in Bombay, India, to Scottish parents. His father, Col Robert Thomas Drummond-Hay, served with the Black Watch in India. Charles grew up in St. Helena, which was governed by his uncle, Sir Edward Drummond-Hay. When his father became Commandant of Edinburgh Castle, Charles returned to Scotland for his education, then served with the Cape Mounted Rifles in South Africa. In 1880 he came to Canada and lived in Manitoba before retiring to Victoria in 1918. His wife, Alena (Cropley, 1869-1952) was born in Forest City, NB. She lived at this residence with daughter Doreen until the late-1930s.


By 1939 Ernest Llewellyn and Alice Maude Cotton ran an elderly invalid home here, and lived on Dallas Rd. Ernest Cotton (1887-1958) came to Victoria from Devon, England, in 1913. He was a dairyman when he married Alice Carradice in Vancouver in 1916. He later went into real estate until retiring in 1954. Bruce and Gladys Passmore purchased the house in 1947. Merton Beatty bought the property in 1949-50, but nearly burned down the house after accidentally setting the greenhouse on fire.

Retired Col Joseph Pierre Joachim Godreau (1901-1954) bought the house by 1951, and was granted permission to build the Redwood Motel on the 12-acre property. He died shortly after its completion. Joseph was born in Montmagny, QC, where he lived most of his life. He served with the 24th Victoria Rifles of Montreal during WWI, and the Montmagny Regiment in WWII. He came to Victoria in 1950 with his wife, Jacqueline Waddington.

*Partial credit to Paul G. Chamberlain, The Dingle House: A Century of Ghosts, Kings & Celebrities, Dingle House Press, 2000.


• Map of Victoria Heritage Register Properties

• Burnside History

• Burnside Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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