Heritage Register

1416 Fort Street (ex-98 Cadboro Bay Rd)

Built 1895

For: Thomas & Elizabeth Rolfe

1416 Fort


This front-gabled, 1½-storey Queen Anne cottage has gabled bays on the front and right sides, and a flat-roofed dormer on the left. There is a shallow square bay on the right. The bases of both front gables are shallow pent roofs. The right lower gable is above a cutaway, bracketed bay. There are brackets below the pediments and around the right side to the square bay. To the left of the front bay was an inset porch with turned posts, spindled frieze and sawn balusters. It has now been filled in. The house has decorative shingles in the upper gable. The body has drop-siding and the foundation is of stone. (see photo page 12)


1895-1944: Thomas Neil Rolfe (b. London, ENG, 1854-1944) emigrated with his father, John Hambrook Rolfe (b. Dover, Kent, ENG, c.1824-1901) to Ontario in 1876, and married Elizabeth “Emma” Stilwell (b. Newcastle, ON, 1858-1927). The three came to Victoria in 1890. Tom and John worked as building painters and Emma as a dressmaker. By 1901 Tom was a paper hanger with Melrose Paints, then an electrician with Jameson & Willis, distributors of Studebaker & Gray Dort Motor Cars; his son Victor was foreman of the electrical department. In 1921 Tom worked for Victor’s Rolfe Electric & Battery Co. Tom was a member of AF&AM, and sang with St. John’s Anglican Church choir for over 50 years. Emma died suddenly after working at the church’s annual bazaar.

Victor McNaughton Rolfe (b. Newcastle, ON, 1887-1979) lived here until his marriage, as did his sisters: Elizabeth Eugenie “Bessie”, a dressmaker at David Spencer’s department store, married painter and decorator Robert “Charles” Blackbourn in 1905. Teacher Lillian Margaret married teacher Donald Manson McGregor in 1923. Melrose stenographer Flora Beatrice married Melrose timekeeper Irving Archer in 1909. [He was named Irving after the Victorian actor/manager Sir Henry Irving, of whose company Irving Archer’s father had been a member.] Flora died of complications from childbirth in January 1917. Broken-hearted, Irving left their three children with Flora’s brother Victor, and signed up with the CEF in WWI in the BC Cyclist Platoon. He was killed in August 1918 and is buried in the Bouchoir New British Cemetery near Amiens.


1945: Victor and his wife Nettie Rolfe inherited the house and converted it to four suites. However, they lived at 1213 Montrose Av from the early 1920s until their deaths. In 1913 Victor married Janetta “Nettie” Jeeves (b. Bedfordshire, ENG, 1886-1969), whose family came to Victoria from England in 1887. Victor and Nettie Rolfe raised the Archers’ three children (see above) and two of their own. Victor apprenticed at Marine Iron Works, became a partner in Jameson & Rolfe Motors, the owner of Rolfe Electric & Battery Co c.1921-24, and then a mechanic for Plimley Motors. He was later the electrical inspector for Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt, then an inspector for the Provincial Electrical Energy Inspection Dept. He was president and an honorary life member of the Electrical Inspection Association of BC, a past master of Vancouver-Quadra Lodge No.2 AF&AM and a member of CNIB. Nettie served as Worthy Matron of OES, Victoria Chapter No.17, a member of the White Shrine of Jerusalem and the Order of Amaranth Mizpah. She was also a member of the BC Centennial Pioneers’ Association. She and Victor were life members of St. John the Divine Church.


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West

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