Heritage Register

423 Chadwick Place (ex-1972 Fairfield Rd)
The Leasowes, now Ballinard

Built 1910

For: Rosanna Todd

Architect/Builder: George C. Mesher & Co.

423 Chadwick


At first this house seems modest, but it has many distinctive features. It is cross-gabled, and although technically 1½ -storeys, it is really 2½. The main floor has a cantilevered angled bay on the front. Above it is a projecting, cantilevered gable which has a charming inset sleeping porch with its own projecting, cantilevered railing. Although all three levels are covered with shingles, there are few flat or plain surfaces. A dramatic 5-light curved window element on the southwest façade has a cantilevered gable above it, with modillions. Even the smaller windows project, with miniature modillions and small, curved hoods. Many of the windows have art glass or leaded features of elongated diamond panes. And the front entry is approached by side-facing steps with a 180º turn.


This house was built for Rosanna Todd (Wigley, 1839-1931), widow of pioneer merchant Jacob Hunter Todd (1827-1899). She previously lived at 1525 Shasta Pl (Rockland) built by her son Bert Todd (721 Linden Av, Rockland). Jacob was the founder and head of J.H Todd & Sons, canners of Horseshoe brand salmon and financial agents. Born in Brampton, ON, he first came to BC in 1862 and spent 10 years in the Cariboo. His first wife was Anna Fox (1833-1866). Jacob was also a member of City Council and President of the Board of Trade.

Born at The Leasowes in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England, after which this house was named, Rosanna came to Ontario to teach at 22 years of age. She married Jacob in 1873 and came to Victoria with him, where he was already established. Jacob had two children from his previous marriage, Charles Fox Todd (1041 St Charles St, Rockland) and Sara Holmes Todd (638 Rockland Pl, Rockland). Rosanna and Jacob eventually added seven more children to their family, but three died in infancy. Rosanna was very active in the charity community and was a long time member and officer of St. John’s Guild. She was also a keen gardener.

Several tenants shared this house with Rosanna during the 20 years she lived here, including Murray A. Miller from 1915-20, and Dr. David Stanley MacHaffie in 1921.

Rosanna’s daughter Rose Ellen “Nellie” Todd (1885-1980) and her husband Alexander Gillespie (1880-1948) inherited the house and lived here until 1948. Alexander’s brother Hebden and Nellie’s sister Mai lived next door at Windyhaugh, 1968 Fairfield Rd. Alexander was the son of Florence Adelaide Hebden and Bank of BC manager George Gillespie of Highwood, 1021 Gillespie (Rockland). He and Nellie married in Victoria in 1907. In his younger days, Alexander was a prominent athlete in rugby and cricket. He worked for the Bank of Montreal from 1898-1902, and then as a land surveyor from 1907-13. After a farming stint in East Sooke, Alexander joined the real estate company of Gillespie, Hart & Co, founded by his brother-in-law John Hebden. John Hart (1961 Fairfield Pl, Gonzales) was one of the partners. Alexander became manager of the company in 1932.

Nellie was a dedicated volunteer for a variety of charitable organizations. During the Great Depression she and Mai set up a thrift shop and sewing room on Pandora St, to allow destitute women to sew and sell articles they made. During WWII, Nellie volunteered with the “Ladies in Blue,” an auxiliary of the St. John’s Ambulance, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. She was also an active member of the Victorian Order of Nurses, and the CNIB. Nellie left this house after Alexander died, and moved to Windyhaugh, where she lived for a number of years.

Nellie and Alexander’s eldest daughter Sheila and her husband Dr. James William Anderson lived in this house until 1953. They married in Hong Kong in 1931. Their son David Anderson is a prominent BC politician, and a former federal cabinet minister.

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