Heritage Register
Victoria West

1127 Catherine Street

Built 1906-07
Heritage-Designated 1985

For: Capt. Thomas & Florence Brown

Architects: Thomas Hooper & C. Elwood Watkins

1127 Catherine


This is an Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts house. It has a recessed corner entrance porch with five columns and a second-storey recessed balcony. The balcony, located in the front gable, has two corner columns and a protruding balustrade supported on many tiny brackets. There are leaded glass windows on the lower left beside the porch. A roof dormer is on the right. The balcony on the rear of the house, which was missing for a number of years, was restored by owners Peter and Diane George c.2004. The original shingled siding was covered with stucco many years ago.


1907-10: Master mariner Capt. Thomas Henry Brown (b. Scatarie Island, Cape Breton, NS, 1866-1942) and Florence Jane (née Nisbet, b. North Sydney, Cape Breton, 1873-1937) married in 1894. They then boarded with Florence’s parents, Philip and Catherine Nisbet (1115 Catherine St), who brought their family to Victoria in 1888. Tom Brown joined the crew of the Annie C. Moore and sailed around the Horn from Nova Scotia to Victoria in 1887. He was a captain of sealers, whalers and steam boats. For many years he was captain of the Victoria harbour dredge vessel Mudlark. For his last 20 working years until 1939, Tom was an agent for Great West Life Insurance Co. He was a member of Victoria Columbia Lodge No.1, AF&AM, and of the Merchants’ Service Guild.

After living in 1127 Catherine for just four years, they built an almost identical house at 518 Selkirk St (Vic West) on waterfront property. Both were designed by architect C. Elwood Watkins, who married Florence’s sister Lill in 1905. The Browns moved back into 1115 Catherine c.1924 to help Florence’s parents. They had one son, James (1115 Catherine St).


: Charlotte Larissa Pope (née Buck, b. Oregon, 1853-1944), the daughter of Oregon Senator W.W. Buck and widow of Dr. Stephen Daniel Pope, LLD (b. Tennessee, 1842-1910). They owned 648 Niagara St, James Bay, in 1897-1900. [Note: From 1876 Stephen Pope was principal of Victoria High School, then BC Superintendent of Education 1884-99. He received the honorary degree of doctor of laws for his contributions to the department. From 1904 until his death, Pope ran the private school, Queen’s Academy at 2715 Rockland Av. His discipline was revolutionary for the time, as he did away with the strap and instead reasoned with his students and put them on their honour.]

1920-21: Master mariner Robert James Ross from St. Andrews, NB.
1926-27: Nona Maude Sheridan Norris, widow of Victoria newspaperman William Frederick Norris, her daughter Hueneme Palfrey Norris and son William G. Norris of the Colonist.

1931-71: Thomas Henry Cave (b. Liverpool, ENG, 1883-1974) and Maude Joanna (née Slade, b. Halifax, NS,1876-1940) married at St. Saviour’s, 310 Henry St, Vic West, in 1905. Tom volunteered for the CEF in 1915 and became a WWI pensioner. He was a J.R. Watkins salesman. Maude was president of Esquimalt Women’s Institute, worthy mistress of Capital City Lodge of True Blues, and women’s auxiliary member of the Solarium and the IODE. Tom married Annie Cummings after Maude’s death and continued to live in the house.


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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