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Heritage Register
Victoria West

1114 Arthur Currie Lane
(ex-1114 Alston St; 215 Raynor Av)

Annesley

Built 1892
Heritage-Designated 1984

For: Jane & Orland Warner

Builder: attributed to Orlando Warner

1114 Arthur Currie

ARCHITECTURE:

This Queen Anne cottage has a hipped roof combined with three asymmetrically placed cross-gables, over a front cutaway bay, an inglenook bay on the left side, and an angled bay on the right side. A angled stairwell with sawn balustrades leads to an inset front porch, which has turned posts, a spindlework frieze, and decorative brackets. Other features include a bracketed cornice, pedimented gables, and narrow paired one-over-one windows. An exterior chimney on the inglenook wall bisects the pedimented gable. Two small gabled roof dormers exist on the front and left side.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

Owners: 1892-1911: Jane (b. IRL, 1836-1911) and Orlando Warner (b. Pugwash, NS, c.1841-1899). Jane came to Nova Scotia in 1852; Orlando was a ship carpenter or shipwright and may also have built houses. The 1871 Canada census recorded that they had been married for more than a year and were still living in Pugwash, although Orlando was absent in California. By 1873 they were living in Victoria. Orlando built and repaired schooners and steamships, and from 1886-91 was proprietor of the Star Ship Yards on the Songhees Reserve with Edward Kermode and Samuel McCully Smith. Orlando built their new house up on the heights at the NE corner of the new suburb of Victoria West, overlooking the reserve. He was a Victoria City Councillor in 1885, and with his neighbour Beaumont Boggs (1140 Arthur Currie Ln), organized and chaired community and political meetings between Vic West residents and the city in the 1890s. He owned shares in various mining companies in the BC interior during the 1870s-90s. A longtime member of the fraternal order, Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW), in 1892 he was a founding member of the new BC Grand Lodge. Unfortunately, he forgot to make his last dues payment before the 28th of the month previous to his death, and his widow was therefore not legally entitled to the full relief payment of $1000. He was highly regarded, so the Grand Lodge asked for $2.50 from each member throughout the province to make up $200 for his widow.

In 1875 the Warners adopted Lucy Sophia Musters (1875-1969), whom they called Lillian or Lily. Her parents William Musters (1839-1906) and Lucy Sophia (née Byron, 1838-1875) homesteaded in the Comox Valley in 1864. When Lucy died two weeks after Lily was born, William returned to England with their five older children, leaving the baby with a neighbour, who gave her to the Warners in Victoria. Lily later adopted her father’s middle name of Chaworth as part of hers.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

Owners: 1911-1928: In August 1901 Lily was married in St. Saviour’s to Arthur William “Art” Currie (1875-1933), who called her “Lil.” Art was born on a farm at Napperton near Strathroy, ON, to William Garner Curry (c.1847-1891) and Jane (née Patterson, b.1848). His name was changed to Currie in 1893. After briefly attending the University of Toronto and earning his teaching certificate, Currie came to Victoria in 1894 to board with his maternal great-aunt, Jane Warner. He taught in Sidney for two years, and from 1896-99 at Boys’ Central School in Victoria. He then went into insurance and real estate with Raymond Power, as Currie & Power.

The Curries had two children: Marjorie Chaworth-Musters Currie (1902-1971) married Alexander Tilloch Galt Durnford in Montreal in 1932, and Garner Ormsby Currie (1910-1987) married Marion Catherine Ekers in Ste Agathe, QC, in 1940.

In 1897 Currie joined the local militia, and by 1909 had risen to command the local militia as Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1913 he was offered command of the newly formed 50th regiment “Gordon Highlanders.” In the same year the collapse of the land bubble found Currie badly overextended financially, and that difficulty plagued him until after the war. At the beginning of WWI Currie was sent to Valcartier, QC, as one of the three top Canadians to train the first Canadian troops, and then take them to Europe (Lil and the children followed). He earned many honours including a knighthood for his leadership in many major battles of WW I including, but not limited to, Ypres in 1915, the Somme 1916, Vimy Ridge 1917, Fresnoy 1917, Hill 70 in 1017, Passchendale 1917, Arras 1918, and Mons 1918. He insisted on detailed preparation, planning and drill, was a brilliant tactician who used his skills to reduce casualties, and is credited with accelerating the end of the war. By 1917 Brig.-Gen. Sir Arthur Currie KCMG, GCMG, KCB, VD, was in charge of the entire contingent of Canadian troops, and upon return to Canada in 1919 was promoted to General, the first Canadian to ever hold that rank.

In 1920 Currie was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University where he served until his death in Montreal in November 1933.

It was rumoured that Jane Warner gave the house to Arthur and Lily as a wedding present, and lived with them until her death. However, the 1909 plumbing permit lists Mrs. O. Warner as owner, and A.W. Currie as her agent. In 1914 Lily inherited the property from Jane’s estate. She owned it until 1928 (her tax account was in care of their neighbour Beaumont Boggs, 1140 Arthur Currie Ln), although the Curries never lived in Victoria after 1914.

Tenants: 1915-20: Patrick James Sinnott (1866-1934) and Bella (née Paterson, 1868-1945). Patrick was the manager of James Thomson & Sons, wholesale dry goods at 1109 Langley St, and later a commercial traveller. They came to Victoria from Inverness, Scotland, c.1910. Patrick was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s medal for life-saving in 1898, and was a life member of the Masonic order. Their son Patrick John Paterson Sinnott (b. Inverness, 1889-1978) lived with them. A barrister, he was renowned for his humour and colourful court cases.

1921-25: Sgt. Lionel Swift (b. Hornsey Rise, Middlesex, ENG, 1884-1970), Corps of Military Staff Clerks (CMSC) and his wife Hannah Maureen “Patricia” (née Purcell, b. Wexford, IRL, 1885-1954). Lionel came to Canada in 1909, and was a real estate broker in Saskatoon in 1911, then a hotel clerk in Winnipeg when he signed up for WWI in 1914. He served until March 1916, when he was seriously wounded. While recuperating back in Canada Lionel trained as an accountant and married Patricia. He re-signed in Regina with the CEF in 1917, for the CMSC. By 1919 Lionel was in Victoria with Military District No.11, CA. He retired in 1941 after 26 years of service.

1926: CPR electrician William and Eliza Kidd Hemphill, and their daughter Catherine, a stenographer. William retired in 1948 after 40 years with the CPR.

Owners: 1928-43
: Norman St. Clair Fraser (b. Windsor, ON, c.1874-1943) moved to BC in 1876 with his family. He began working for the CNR in 1891 and came to Victoria in 1909. He was a bachelor, and from 1934, Alice Maud Barker (née Clegg, b. ENG, 1880-1948) was his live-in housekeeper. The widow of CPR telegraph operator Robert Barker (1875-1931), Alice came to Ontario with her family in 1890. She and Robert lived in Vancouver for many years, and she returned to Vancouver to live with her daughter Charlein after Norman’s death. Alice inherited the house from Norman and sold it for $1,500.

1943-81: Bernard Sherritt Taylor (b. Leytonstone, ENG, 1889-1981) and Dorcas (née Taylor, b. Cork, IRL, 1874-1963) had lived next door at 203 Raynor Av since 1940. Bern moved to Glasgow, Scotland, in 1908, then in 1911 emigrated and established a homestead at Bowmantin, near Medicine Hat, AB. His cousin Dorcas came to Alberta the same year and married Bern. When the farm failed they came to Victoria and Bern worked as a shipwright at Yarrows Shipyard, his old Glasgow firm. After several years the family tried farming near Carstairs, AB, but again were forced to return to Victoria and Yarrows. In 1943 Dorcas planted the laurel hedge around three sides of this house, in memory of her family’s estate in Ireland. Dorcas’s brother George and Bern’s sister Helen “Nellie” also came to Alberta and were married. They came out to live with Bern and Dorcas in 1957 to help Bern look after Dorcas, who was suffering from dementia, and then moved into 217 Raynor Av. Bern was living in a nursing home when he died. His great-nephew Bruce Mitchell lived in the house from 1978-81.

1981: Willem Oudshoorn (1111-15 Catherine St, Vic West, 352 Moss St, Fairfield) bought the property. He later sold to Douglas Behiels. Douglas restored the exterior in the 1980s-90s, including reconstruction of the front stairs, which had been missing for many years.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Statement of Significance (Canadian Register of Historic Places)

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

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


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