Heritage Register
Victoria West

424 Langford Street

Built 1902
Heritage-Designated 2000

For: Mrs. J.N.V. Cooper

424 Langford


This modest Queen Anne house has a steep truncated hipped roof, possibly missing its widow’s walk or cresting. There is a pedimented gable over an angled bay extending from the main roof. There are two gabled dormers, on the front and the right side; the front dormer has been added since 1973. The recessed porch has two chamfered posts and one pilaster, with square balusters. The original balustrade, which was replaced after 1969, was Eastlake style. The front of the porch was brought forward, and the Eastlake balusters were replaced with taller turned spindles. The house is clad with drop siding with decorative shinges in the gables. There is V-joint T-&-G covering the foundation level. The house was triplexed in 1966.


Owners: 1902-03
: Mrs. J.N.V. Cooper had the house built and paid assessments. J.V. Cooper is listed as retired and living on Langford in the 1902-03 city directories. 1903-40: Mary Grant (née Drysdale, b. Quebec, 1866-1944) and James Key (b. Blythe, ENG, 1866-1940) married in Victoria in 1896. Jim was in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines before emigrating to Canada in 1891. He worked as a Rocky Mountain guide, then came to Victoria in 1893. He was a steward at the Union and Pacific Clubs, then managed the Dallas Hotel in James Bay c.1912-14. Jim rejoined and served in the Royal Navy during WWI, on HMS Edinburgh Castle and on coastal motorboats patroling the English Channel. He became a Canadian Immigration guard on the liners coming to Victoria from 1918 until retiring in 1933. He was a member of AF&AM. The Keys lived in the Dallas Hotel and elsewhere over time, but lived in 424 Langford again from c.1922 until James’ death. Their daughter Dorothy Jean Elizabeth was a steno, in 1921 with Immigration, and later with Mac & Mac & Prior. She married electrician Joseph Bell in 1933 and they moved to Ruskin, BC. When Mary Key died, she lived in Ruskin, BC, with their son, electrical power dispatcher Edmund Francis, who had married Mona Clague McCombe in 1919. Edmund and Mona’s son Clifford Key served in the RCN during WWII.


Tenants: 1914
: Herbert Sidney and Eleanor Mary McCall married in Victoria in 1913. Herbert, a bartender at the Dallas Hotel, in September 1915 signed up for the CEF and WWI; he had trained with the 50th Gordon Highlanders local militia for a year. His attestation papers are stamped by the 16th Canadian General Hospital at Orpington, England, “Invalided to Canada for further medical treatment” with no date. For 30 years until retiring in 1947, he was a clerk in the provincial game department.

1917-21: Scottish-born Margaret “Maggie” (née Fraser, b. Berwick upon Tweed, SCT, c.1862-1946) married seaman Murdoch MacLachlan (b. Killin, SCT, c.1867-1896) in New Westminster in 1891. He died in Nanaimo after falling down the hold of the SS Costa Rica. Maggie was still residing in Vic West when she died.

1941-72: Yarrows guard James Bell and Eleanor (née Clark, b. Cumberland, ENG, 1896-1972); James was chief guard by 1951. The house is listed under Mrs. Eleanor Bell by 1965; Eleanor was a widow when she died.


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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