Heritage Register

528 Trutch Street

Built 1907

For: Alexander & Nellie Gillespie

Designer/Builder: Kendrick Sharp

528 Trutch


This 1½-storey shingled Edwardian Vernacular A&C house has a front-facing gable, a recessed corner porch to the right and a cantilevered box bay to the left. The front-facing entrance has steps to the side which turn to the front. Simply capped square posts support a spindled balustrade. The front box bay has a large tripartite window with a leaded transom spanning the full width. Multi-pane windows enclose the porch. The main gable has a bank of three double-hung sashes, multi-pane above, single-pane below, flanked by half-timbering and capped by a bracketted course under a shallow pediment. The apex is shingled. Both sides have a large gabled dormer. There are two tall corbelled red brick chimneys.


The original owners Alexander, (1880-1948) and Rose Ellen “Nellie” (Todd, 1885-1980) Gillespie, lived here for about four years. Alexander was the son of Florence Adelaide Hebden and Bank of BC manager George Gillespie of Highwood at 1021 Gillespie Pl (Rockland). Nellie was the daughter of Rosanna Wigley and pioneer merchant Jacob Hunter Todd. By 1911 they were living on Moss St. In 1931, Nellie inherited 423 Chadwick Pl (Gonzales) from her mother, and lived there with Alexander until his death.


Michael (1852-1928) and Helena (Humphrey, 1855-1934) Sweeney bought the house in 1912 and it remained in the family for the next 20 years or so. Born in Newfoundland, Michael and Helena came to Victoria in 1890, after living in Boston, MA, and London, ON. Shortly after his arrival, Michael established Sweeney Cooperage Co, barrel manufacturers, and was president until a fire destroyed the plant in 1923. The company then amalgamated with several others as Canadian Western Cooperage Co.

Two of the Sweeney children lived here. Maria Agnes married Robert T. Colquhoun in 1923 and moved to Vancouver. Michael Leo Sweeney (1886-1977) was educated at St. Louis College, and started in his father’s business in 1900. By 1940 he was able to purchase the company and change the name back to Sweeney Cooperage Ltd, based in Vancouver. In 1920 he married Mary Margaret Gregory in Vancouver. Although they moved out of the house briefly, they returned in the early 1920s and remained here until shortly after his father died in 1928.

Helena then married widower William Baylis (1861-1949) in 1929 and they lived in this house until her death in 1934. Throughout her time in Victoria Helena was an active member of the Catholic Women’s League, the Altar Society and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She died suddenly after cataract surgery.

Born in Coventry, England, William Baylis came to Canada in 1889 and Victoria in 1901. He was a hotel owner, then chief steward of the Badminton Club, later the Union Club. After serving overseas during WWI, William came back and entered the grocery business. At the age of 78 he tried to enlist in WWII, but was turned down. So he travelled to England, where he was again refused, at which point he entered civil defence in the fire guard in London. After Helena died, William married again.

The Michaux family bought this house in the mid-1930s and lived here with their daughter Louise. Born in Belgium, Emile (1873-1960) and Floriante (Malanion, 1883-1976) Michaux came to Victoria in 1912. Emile was a hotel keeper and retired in 1930. Louise sold the house after her mother died in 1976.


• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

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

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