Heritage Register
Victoria West

1135 Catherine Street

Built 1890; 1908
Heritage-Designated 1978

For: Andrew & Mary Elizabeth Gray

Architect: George F. Barber, Design No. 60
Builder: Thomas Catterall

1135 Catherine


, one of Victoria’s most ornate Queen Anne residence, is sited overlooking the Gorge Waterway. The house cost $4,000 in 1890 and is a pattern book design by George F. Barber, who built a house of the same design for himself in Knoxville Tenn. The roof is steeply-pitched and cross-gabled. There is a jerkinheaded gable on the north side with a witches-cap tower to its left. [Twin houses by architect E.H. Fisher at 1133 & 1141 Fort St, Fairfield, in the related Eastlake style, also have jerkinheaded gables.] Between the gable and the tower on the second floor is a small inset balcony and below it is a wider one on the first floor. On the second floor on the west side is an exterior balcony under the cat slide roof. There is a wrap-around verandah on the west and south sides, sheltering the main entrance on the west. The house is clad in drop siding on the first floor and decorative shingles above. In 1908 a $1,000 addition on the east side included a new dining room with bedrooms above, and a lantern on the roof.


1890-1953: Marine engineer Andrew Gray (b. Uddingston, SCT, 1852-1923) and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” (née Jack, b. Uddingston, SCT, 1865-1953) married in Scotland in 1889. After an apprenticeship in iron and steel in Glasgow, Andrew first came to Canada in 1870. From the family iron works he brought with him steam tractors for Barnard’s Cariboo Express (1462 Rockland Av, Rockland). Andrew fell in love with BC and used his return fare to establish himself here. After surveying for the CPR on the mainland, he came to Victoria and worked as a pattern maker and machinist. Beginning as a draughtsman with Albion Iron Works, he rose to be manager of the firm. In 1886 he returned to Scotland to study shipbuilding and the chemistry and practical analysis of metals, then returned here in 1887. In 1898 he founded Victoria Machinery Depot (VMD) with Charles Spratt (548 Lotbinière Av, Rockland), but left when A.J. Bechtel (1385 Rockland Av, Rockland) entered the firm. He then established Marine Iron Works at 515 Pembroke St, retiring in 1921 when son James became manager. Andrew was an Oddfellow and charter member of the Pacific Club. True to his Scottish roots, he was an angler and golfer, and died suddenly after a game of golf. The Colonist said of him when he died: “Mr. Gray...was keenly concerned with industrial effort, and never showed any hesitation in reinvesting the money which he had earned by hard work in local industry...He always had the courage of his beliefs in the future of this community.”

The 1891 Census records one servant who slept in the attic, Maggie Aitken from Scotland and Presbyterian like her employers. By 1901, there were two servants: Minnie Florence Auld, a Methodist from Prince Edward Island, who left in 1902 to marry a ranchman and Wong Buck, 36, a Buddhist from China, who remained as gardener for over 35 years. He also cared for two horses, a cow and chickens.

The Grays’ sons all served in WWI: Lieut. Andrew “Jack” Gray (1890-1970) was an original member of the 50th Regiment (Gordon Highlanders) militia in 1913 under his neighbour, Col. Arthur Currie (1114 Arthur Currie Ln). He signed up in September 1914 as a commissioned officer with the 16th Battalion, CEF. He lost an arm in the fighting at Festubert in May 1915 and was invalided home. Jack was a mechanical engineer and became the salesmanager of Marine Iron Works. James “Jimmy” (1891-1983) and George Robert “Robin,” (1898-1917) joined the Royal Flying Corps. Robin left for England in April 1917, made record time in his training and arrived in France in early October. Flight-Lieut. Robin Gray, RFC, was shot down over the north of France on 31 October 1917, taken to the German prison camp at Limburg, and died of injuries to his chest and arm in December. His family heard he was dead, then alive, and then dead again. He was buried in Tourcoing, Pont-Neuville Cemetery. Jimmy returned home and became an engineer, the secretary of Marine Iron Works, and proprietor of the Challoner Building.

In 1924 the Grays’ daughter Annie Elizabeth “Betty” (b.1900) married Maj. Laughlin Macleod Hughes, CA, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Brigade. [Note: He was the son of Gen. Wm. St. Pierre Hughes, whose brother wasGen. Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of the Militia and Defense for WWI 1914-16.] Betty and Laughlin Hughes’ son William A. Hughes trained at Royal Roads RCN College in 1944-46 and rose to Rear-Admiral in the RCN.

The Grays often entertained with dinner parties, dances, tea parties, garden parties and boating parties on the Gorge. They held an annual open house on the Queen’s birthday and the Gorge Regatta was viewed by family and friends from the lawn of Roslyn. After Andrew’s death, Lizzie became the president of Marine Iron Works. She lived in this house with a companion, spent time tending her garden, and was an active member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Scottish organizations.


1953-73: Three months after Lizzie’s death, the estate was auctioned, and won by Capt. Frederick Warren and Violet (née Horton) (516-18-20 Selkirk St, Vic West). After Fred’s death in 1955, it was known as the Warren Tug Property and Violet rented it to employees.

1974: With encouragement from the newly-formed Hallmark Society, the City purchased the two acres of property and this house for $240,000, thus preventing its demolition. Part of a waterfront acquisition program, much of the property became city park. The house was designated heritage and restored. The City installed industrial arts and woodwork teacher Paul Condon in the house, rent free in exchange for restoration work. This he did with the help of handpicked students over a period of years. Paul purchased the house; it has been his family’s home for over 35 years.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Statement of Significance (Canadian Register of Historic Places)

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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