Heritage Register
Victoria West

1317 Arm Street

Built 1913
Heritage-Designated 1989

For: Joshua & Agnes Smith

1317 Arm


This large two-storey front-gabled Arts & Crafts Craftsman house has wide eaves, exposed rafter tails, and finials on all gable apexes. There are knee brackets in the gables which are stuccoed and half-timbered. The first floor and foundation are clad in double-bevelled siding; the second floor is shingled. The house has a through-the-roof wall dormer on each side, the right one over a balcony on top of a box bay. The building permit in June 1913 valued the house at $3,150. The Smiths soon enclosed the porch with windows.


1913-48: Joshua “Josh” Smith (originally Smyth) (1876-1979) was born in Lahard, Co. Cork, IRL, the son of Irish farmers. He came to Victoria in 1902 with the Royal Navy. A stationary engineer, he settled in Esquimalt and bought his way out of the navy c.1903. By 1904 he worked at Victoria Brick Co Ltd, by 1913 at BC Pottery, then as chief engineer with Cameron Lumber Co. By 1921 he was with Victoria Steam Laundry, later New Method Laundry, where he worked until retiring c.1947.

Bridgit “Agnes” Collins (1873-1960) was born to a farming family at Six Mile Bridge, Co Clare, Ireland. In 1898 she joined her sisters in Bayonne, New Jersey. Bridgit came to Victoria as a nanny with the William Douglas Robertson family from Montreal. He was a minerologist with the BC government. She went to Seattle as a cook, and began to call herself Agnes. She came back for a visit and met Josh through a friend in Esquimalt. They married in 1904 in St Joseph’s Church. Agnes was active in St Mary’s Catholic Church on Langford St until it closed in 1929, then Our Lady Queen of Peace on Old Esquimalt Rd. About 1949 Josh and Agnes moved next door to a new house they had built in 1934 at 1323 Arm. After Agnes died, Josh moved between his three children, spending summers with his daughters Esther Speller in Victoria and Mary Genest in Vancouver, and winters with his son Cornelius in California. In 1962, Josh and Esther travelled to Ireland, his only trip back to his homeland, as Agnes had never wanted to return. Josh died at 103; he was 4th degree Knights of Columbus.


: Cmdr. Martin Edward Doyle (1913-1997), RCN, and his wife Mary I. (née Shaw, 1908-1993). Martin joined the RCN Volunteer Reserve in 1941 as a writer, became a Pay Sub-lieutenant in 1943, and transferred to the RCN in 1945. The Doyles moved to Fairfield Rd. Cmdr. Doyle was posted elsewhere after 1957. He retired in 1963 and died in Ottawa. He and Mary are buried in Perth, ON. [Note: Mary Shaw’s ancestors founded Shaw’s of Perth, one of the oldest businesses in Canada still operating in its original store front; the 1840 building is designated heritage.]


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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