Heritage Register
James Bay

43 Lewis Street

Built 1928
Heritage-Designated 2014

For: John A. Playfair

43 Lewis


The simplicity of this box form with ridged, hipped roof, the simple porch, and the three-over-one casement windows is referred to as “the 1920s Bungalow.” This includes rough stucco siding, open soffits with wide eaves, which are British Arts & Crafts elements. All windows are original wood frames, most with original glass; basement windows are multi-paned. On the right side are two cantilevered box bays with double windows, and a multi-paned piano window. Side-facing steps with a solid stepped balustrade lead to the front door. There is a modest corbelled chimney.

The earliest house in this area, known as Gladys Villa was built in 1876 on two acres of land. In 1911 Playfair, Playfair & Cramer (PP&C) acquired Gladys Villa and much of Block 15, comprising the north end of Lewis St and adjacent lots on Menzies St. Since Gladys Villa stood in the middle of what is now the dead-end of Lewis St, it was moved west and re-numbered 66 Lewis St. PP&C divided the remainder into 12 lots. From 1912-29 they constructed more than 20 houses, one or two houses each year, with a gap during WWI. These modest houses of $2-3,000 began with Edwardian styles and evolved into late-1920s simplicity with Arts & Crafts features. 43 Lewis St is important as one of the few intact examples of the 1920s style in the area. The house has much in common with 48 Menzies St, which backs on to it, and shares the same lot and many of the same details. Two of the other houses, 60 Menzies St and 53 Lewis St, are also now heritage-designated.

The Playfair brothers John Andrew (b. Lanark Co, ON, 1867-1941) and George William (b. Lanark Co, ON, 1869-1925) and their cousin George Cramer (see 50 and 53 Lewis St) started building houses on Wark, Bay, Taunton, Cambridge & Thurlow Sts in 1910-12. John Playfair lived in 51 Lewis St with his wife Gladys.


Owner: 1928-44: Retired schoolteacher Phoebe Boden (b. ON, 1856-1947) taught in the township of Uxbridge, ON, and by 1911 in Saskatchewan. From 1932-37 she rented the house out while she lived in various apartments in the city. She returned to 43 Lewis St from 1938-44. By the time of her death at age 90, she was living at the Churchill Hotel on Government St.


Tenants: 1932-37: When Gerald Morton Perkins (b. Barbados, BWI, 1898-1983) and Olga Grace (née McDougall, Victoria, BC, 1900-89) married in Victoria in 1930, Olga was a stenographer. Gerald worked as an accountant at Beatty Bros, and later at Yarrows shipyard.

1945-49: Beatrice Lowe (née Murfin, ENG, 1881-1967) and William Ernest Wheeler (b. ENG, 1880-1984) arrived in BC from England in 1927 and moved to Victoria c.1938. William was a baker working for Small’s, then Arnold’s Bakery. He lived to be 103. Their son Ernest (b. Rotherham, ENG, 1908-92) was also living with them and worked as a technician at Young’s Radio. By 1950 the Wheelers lived at 3038 Washington St.

1951-75: Thomas Young Grant (b. Blanchory, SCT, 1898-1965) and Blanche (née Robertson, b. Newmilns, Ayreshire, SCT, 1896-1992) arrived in Victora c.1948 after Thomas retired after 30 years as a police officer in England. By 1953 he was working as a doorman at the Empress Hotel. He was still employed as porter at the Empress at the time of his death. Blanche remained in the house until 1975.*


• Map of Victoria Heritage Register Properties

• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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