Heritage Register
James Bay

203-05 Government Street

Built 1928
Heritage-Designated 1999

For: Cordelia Walford-Gosnall

203 Government


This California Mission Revival-style structure was built diagonally on the corner of Government and Simcoe Sts, on land subdivided in 1924 from the Carr family property (207 Government St). It was originally designed as a garage and gasoline or filling station in one of the styles then-popular for such strcuctures, which were new to residential neighbourhoods at the time. However, George Jennings Burnett (606 Niagara St, James Bay) led the neighbours in opposing the commercial garage. They won the battle and it became a dwelling.

It is a stuccoed, one-storey structure on a concrete foundation. A metal parapet surrounding the flat roof has a Spanish Mission arch centred on the front of the parapet and faux-towers on the front corners. Just below the parapet is a wide pent roof clad in metal tiles. The pent roof returns on the left side to shelter a door, but continues along the right side of the house. The pent roof was originally clad in shingles but the present owners replaced shingles with tiles appropriate to the style and period. The casement windows and front door are multi-paned. The garden is very private, screening the house from the street.


Owner: Cordelia Isabel Fuller (b. Ramsgate, Kent, ENG, 1864-1945), daughter of Gen. Charles Bowdler Fuller, married Capt. John Desborough Pearson Walford-Gosnall (b.1858-1932) in 1888. In the 1890s they lived in a Georgian country seat, Mount Maskall (Grade II heritage listed), Boreham, Chelmsford, Essex, ENG, but in 1909 Cordelia sued for divorce, and in 1910 John declared bankruptcy. Cordelia lived at 628 Toronto St, James Bay, in 1927-28. John died in Britain, Cordelia in Campbell River, BC.


Residents: 1929-31: Mervyn and Mary (née Kelway) Oliver married in 1921. Mervyn was a cashier at the customs office. He died in 1976 at 89.
1932: Albert Brinkman was a cashier with CN Express. 1933-34: the house was vacant during these years of the Great Depression. 1935: Frederick and Olive Frazee; Frederick, a naturopath, died in 1966 at 73.

1937-42: Harold V. and Sheila (née O’Neill) Bassett married in 1931 in Seattle. Sheila was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital before her marriage. Harold was a BC Government statistician, a member of the Kinsmen Club, and was well-known in local music circles.

1943: Hugh Pattinson, a surveyor, and his wife Laurie.
1944-46: Charles and Genevieve Ellis. Charles, born in Dublin, IRE, in 1884, came to Vancouver in 1908 and married Genevieve Reid in 1914. Charles was an electrical engineer and served with the 6th Field Company, Canadian Engineers during WWI. The Reids came to Victoria in 1926. Charles, a member of Prince Edwin’s Lodge, AF&AM, died in 1958. Genevieve died in 1968 at 80.

1947-48: Ernest Gilmour Cummings (b. Belfast IRE c.1908-2002) and Margaret (née Swan, b. Winnipeg, MB 1911-1995); they were proprietors of James Bay Hardware at 20 Menzies St. The Cummings subdivided the house in 1947-48, and rented out 205: 1948-55: Miss Ethel Gertrude Saunders (b.Victoria 1880-1955) trained as a nurse and worked for a number of years at St. Joseph’s Hospital (850 Humboldt St, Fairfield ). In 1915 she enlisted in London, ENG, with the Canadian Army Medical Corps for service as a Nursing Sister in WWI. By 1921 it was the Royal CAMC and Ethel was living at the Barracks in Esquimalt. She died at the Home for the Aged in Coquitlam, BC, but her permanent address was still listed as 205 Government St. [Note: Ethel’s father Henry Saunders was a grocer whose 1890 store at 561-563 Johnson St, Downtown, is a prominent heritage landmark on that block. He came to Victoria from ENG in 1862 when he was 24. Ethel’s brother Ernie married Stella Rumsby, 308 Douglas St, ].

1954-55: tenants Edwin Neville Trueman (b. Belfast, IRE, 1893-1980) and Phyllis Edith (née Wilkinson, b. Surrey, ENG 1899-1981).

203: 1949-51-54-55: Miss Elsie Florence Richardson (b. London, ENG 1890-1966) came to Canada in 1910 and Victoria in 1920. She worked for 40 years for the Bank of Commerce in the Foreign Estate Dept until her retirement, and was living in Mount St. Mary Private Hospital (999 Burdett Av, Fairfield) at her death.
1950: Miss Helen M. Lawson, a teacher with the school board.
1953: Lawrence Arthur Mainwaring (b. Winnipeg, MB 1910-1970) and Enid Vere (née Windsor, b. NSW, AU 1918-1984); Lawrence was an electrician with the Canadian Government. They still lived in Victoria at their deaths.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay

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