Heritage Register
Victoria West

1014 Catherine Street

Built 1891; 1904; 1998
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Letty Ann & John Cherry

1014 Catherine


This was initially a small one-storey side-gabled Queen Anne Cottage, assessed at $200 in 1893, that received a major addition for $500 in 1904 for Peter Steele. Features that date from the earlier house include front and side bracketed cutaway bays with decorative shingles in the pedimented gables. The remodeling converted the house into 1½ storeys with a heavy front gable with recessed sleeping porch. There are now two gabled roof dormers on the left and right sides. The inset main porch, which appears to have been unaltered, has Classical Revival round columns and stepped balustrade. The body and balustrades are all shingled. In 1998, another major alteration raised the house 23 inches.


Owners: 1891-99: This was built for the Cherrys on land from Letty Ann (née Oldershaw) Cherry’s parents (715 Catherine St). In 1899 the Cherrys built the large house, 1020 Catherine St, to the north.


1902-05: 1014 Catherine was owned by Minnie and Peter Steele, Jr, although city directories didn’t list them here until 1905.
Tenants: 1904: William John and Bessie Eliza Ledingham. Bessie Brooks’ family came to Canada from England in 1874, and she married William in Victoria in 1891. William was a blacksmith and partner in the firm Ledingham Bros Carriage Builders with his brothers George and Robert. William was a member of the Victoria Lacrosse Club. [Note: George’s daughter Lt.-Cmdr. Eula Winifred Ledingham, RRC, RCN, was Matron-in-Chief of the naval nursing services. She resigned in 1948 to marry Lt.-Cmdr. John E. “Jack” Wolfenden. When Eula died in 1954 she was accorded the first full naval honours funeral in Canada for a woman, with 36 men in the gun carriage party and the band of HMC Naden in attendance.

Owners: 1905-46
: Peter Steele, Jr. (1872-1946) and Mary Theresa “Minnie” (née Rex, 1876-1945) married in Victoria in the early 1890s. Minnie came here from Chicago c.1885. [Note: Peter’s father Pete Steele came from Montreal in 1863 and entered the retail liquor trade, although he was a teetotaller. Peter’s mother, Sarah “Sophia” came from Ontario c.1872. After several earlier saloons, Pete opened Steele’s Saloon on Bastion St in the early 1880s. He did well on his investments, principally in real estate. Pete and Sophia lived for many years in Vic West, at 13 Robert St and then on Craigflower Rd: when Pete died in 1902, among other items auctioned by Hardakers was a standing crop of hay on seven acres within Victoria city limits. Pete was a member of AF&AM, IOOF Lodge #1, and the BC Pioneer Society; he was accorded a Masonic burial.]

Peter Jr was a bartender and kept saloons and hotels for years, but did not take over his father’s saloon [it was purchased by Old Jinks of the Old Flag Inn in Nanaimo.] Peter retired as a news stand agent c.1930. The Steeles raised five children in this house: Peter predeceased his parents. Thelma Margaret married bank manager Arthur Little in 1926. Rex Joseph moved to North Hollywood, CA. Laurraine (b.1909) was a student at Victoria College in 1934-35. She became a stenographer and lived with her parents.

1929-74: The Steele’s daughter Beatrice Helen (1899-1980) and her husband Alexander Cross Roberts (b. Madoc, ON, 1884-1974) lived in the house, at first with her parents. They married in 1922 and lived with his parents in James Bay until moving to 1014 Catherine. Until his retirement c.1927 Alex was a shipping agent. During the latter part of WWII he went back to work, at VMD.


• 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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