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Heritage Register
Rockland

1004 Terrace Avenue (ex-4 Terrace Av)
The Eyrie

Built 1898; 1912-13
Heritage-Registered

For: Janet & George Mesher; Arthur Vowell

Architects/Contractor: George C. Mesher & Co (1898);
Samuel Maclure (1912-12)


1004 Terrace

ARCHITECTURE:

This Queen Anne cottage was originally designed with a gable-on-bellcast-hipped roof with half-timbering in the peak, and a wraparound verandah with turned supports. This typical turn-of-the-century construction would appear consistent with the home having been built by architect/contractor George C. Mesher. The house was sold in 1901 to A.W. Vowell who dubbed it The Eyrie, likely because of its perch on a knoll. In 1912-13 Vowell employed architect Samuel Maclure to complete some renovations to the home that included exterior alterations to provide a more modern Arts & Crafts design style. A portion of the verandah was enclosed for use as a conservatory and the Victorian supports were replaced with square posts. Surviving drawings indicate repairs to the foundation, and reconstruction of the chimneys with more elaborate corbels and the addition of an extra stack.*

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

1898-1901: Janet Elizabeth Mesher (née MacDonald1870-1946) was the original owner of this property. She and her husband, George Charles Mesher (1860-1938) lived at 154 South Turner St, James Bay, when this house was built.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

1901-18: Arthur Wellesley Vowell (1839-1918), the earliest recorded resident, was born and educated in Ireland, and served two years in the Irish Militia. Arthur arrived in Victoria in 1862 and sought gold in the Cariboo. Unsuccessful, he returned to Victoria and worked as a labourer until joining the Civil Service in 1864. From 1866-72 he was chief constable at Big Bend, BC, where mine riots were frequent. During the 1870s and 1880s, Arthur served as Gold Commissioner, Stipendiary Magistrate, and Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works throughout the BC interior. He had a brief stint as MLA for the Kootenay District in the mid-1870s. In 1889 Arthur entered the service of the Dominion Government as Superintendent of Indian Affairs and later Reserve Commissioner for BC. He resigned from this position in 1910 and retired to Victoria. Shortly after commissioning Samuel Maclure to complete the renovations to his home, he also commissioned him to design a new and larger Arts & Crafts Bungalow which was never built.* In 1918 Arthur shot himself in this house, after a long and painful illness which he described as “worse than 40 deaths.”

1921-24: David Leeming (b. Manchester, ENG 1876- 1939) and Amy Theresa (née McKenzie, b.Victoria 1881-1958) married in 1908. David came to Victoria in 1894, and he worked in real estate and customs. In 1922-23 he was a member of Victoria City Council, then served as mayor from 1931-36. David was for many years president or a director of the Victoria & Island Publicity Bureau, an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and was president of the Victoria Real Estate Board at the time of his death. 1925-45: Lt.-Gen. Sir Percy Henry Noel Lake (b. Wales 1855-1940) was educated at Uppingham School, Rutland, ENG. Joining the militia in the early 1870s, he served in the 1878-79 Afghan War. His first Canadian appointment was as Quartermaster-General of the militia in 1894-98; from 1904-08 he was Chief of General Staff. He became Chief of General Staff for India in 1912, and by 1916 was commanding the army in Mesopotamia. Percy retired in 1919 and came to Victoria in 1923 with his wife Lady Hester Fanny (née Woodyer, 1852-1945).

1948-51: The house was converted to suites, and Aeta and Thomas H. Irving lived here until 1951.

1949- 60s: Retired Commander Charles Taschereau Beard (b. Ottawa 1890-1950) and his wife Kathleen Adele (née Kemp). Kathleen remained in the house many years after Charles’s death. Charles was sent to England in 1897 to get a maritime education. He returned to Canada and joined the RCN in 1910, and served overseas during both World Wars. In 1922 he became Senior Naval Officer, Esquimalt, and Captain of Naden. Later he held various posts at RCN Headquarters, including Director of both Naval Reserves and Naval Operations. He returned to Naden as Commanding Officer in 1936. In WWII, Charles commanded the HMCS Prince Robert, stationed off the coast of Mexico, where the vessel captured the enemy ship Weser. After retiring, Charles represented Esquimalt in the BC Legislature for six years.


*Maclure research & writing by Jim Wolf

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Rockland History

• Rockland Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands


© VICTORIA HERITAGE FOUNDATION (VHF) 2014
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