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Heritage Register
Fairfield

825 Fort Street

Built 1911-12; 1913; 1925; 1946-47; 1968; 1987
Heritage-Designated/Commercial

For: BC Hardware Co

Architects: Jesse M. Warren (1913); Ralph Berrill (1925)

825 Fort

ARCHITECTURE:

The 3-storey building at 825 Fort St has a tall ground floor level with wooden transom windows above large plate-glass shop windows, with an inset front entrance. The shorter upper floors have wood sash windows in pairs, each composed of transom over large pane, and each pair separated by pilasters with unusual capitals. The building retains its wooden pivot windows and pressed metal cornice.


ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

It was built as a store and warehouse for BC Hardware Co. The company first appeared in the Victoria city directory in 1908, located at 631 Yates St on the corner of Broad. A building permit for 825 Fort St was issued in October 1911 and in 1912 BC Hardware moved to their new building. In 1913 BC Hardware amalgamated with Island Hardware Co and the new company moved to 717 Fort St.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

After alterations by Jessie M. Warren, the building re-opened as the Borden Hotel, with proprietor George Sproule in residence.

825 Fort St appears to have been vacant from 1922-25 when, after further alterations by Ralph Berrill, Home Furniture Co moved here from 809 Fort St. John Bartholomew & Sons (1195 Fort St, Rockland) opened Home Furniture Co in the early 1920s. Son Frederick W. Bartholomew (Ilford, Essex, 1902-Victoria 1982) arrived in Victoria in 1912 and ran the company until he retired in 1973. He married Olga Harriet Hare in 1931 and they lived on Beach Drive in Oak Bay for many years.

Until 1947, Home Furniture occupied 825 Fort and 823 Fort, the 2-storey building to the west. Then a $75,000 Moderne-style addition designed by Eric Clarkson was built on the east side, creating a frontage of 120 feet (this section is not designated heritage.) This, according to a November 1947 Daily Colonist article, created “one of the largest and most modern furniture stores in Western Canada.”

In 1968 the front of the original 3-storey building was altered to create “The Gallery,” a special department of Home Furniture. However, by 1974 the store had closed.

The Cunliffe family later bought the property and in the late 1980s restored the 3-storey building back to its original appearance, in the process winning a 1989 Hallmark Society award for the restoration.

Retail tenants of 825 Fort St. from then to the present have included an antiques shop, a book shop and a carpet shop, with many business offices in the two top floors.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Four: Fairfield, Gonzales & Jubilee


 © VICTORIA HERITAGE FOUNDATION (VHF) 2013
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