Heritage Register
Victoria West

402 Raynor Avenue (ex-402 Jessie St)

Built 1891

For: William & Jemima Houston

402 Raynor


This small Queen Anne cottage has a complex hipped roof with two asymmetrically placed bays on the front and left sides. There are four gabled roof dormers on the rear and right sides. The identical cutaway bays are capped by blind, pedimented, through-the-roof gables. The pediments are clad in diagonal V-joint T&G and are supported by two ornate brackets. The small inset corner porch was enclosed and stuccoed. A fishtail shingled frieze with corner brackets surrounds the house, which is clad in drop siding.


1892-1901: Engineer William Houston (b. Dunfermline, SCT, 1861-1921) and Jemima (née Russell, b. Kincardine-on-Forth, SCT, 1854-1919) came in Victoria in 1891 and 1887, respectively. A fireman machinist for Spratt & Gray (Andrew Gray - 1135 Catherine St, Vic West), William rose to be superintendent of ship building for the successor firm, Victoria Machinery Depot (VMD). They moved to 19 Work St in 1901, then 340 Bay St across from VMD until their deaths. In 1908 Jemima’s niece Jemima Ure Russell Dick came to live with the Houstons as a housekeeper. In 1920 after his wife’s death, William married her niece. William and his first wife Jemima are buried in the family vault at Ross Bay Cemetery.


1902-28: William Henry Armstrong (b. Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, IRL, 1868-1925) and Margaret “Maggie” Georgina Berry (née Campbell, b. Chesley, ON, 1882-1923) married in 1899. William came to Canada in 1889 and Victoria c.1893. They had two daughters, Irene Mary and Ethel Jane. The family lived at 28 Niagara St in 1901, and William, a mechanical engineer and master mechanic, worked at the power house. He was then foreman of the BCER train car barns for many years. According to his Times obituary, William died suddenly in 1925 of a seizure while eating dinner at his daughter Irene’s summer camp at Shawnigan Lake. His graveside service was conducted by the Worshipful Master of Victoria Columbia Lodge No.1, AF&AM, of which he had long been a member. Delegations at Maggie’s funeral came from the BCER, the Women’s Progressive Club (she was a charter member), and the Order of Eastern Star, who sang their funeral ode at her graveside.

1926-28: Ethel and Irene continued living in the house. Irene taught school in the City and Ethel was a cashier.

1930-31: Empress Hotel accountant Albert and Mary Carolyn Whyte married in 1927 in Vancouver; at the time, Albert was a widower and Mary a milliner. Albert signed up for the CEF in 1916 in Calgary, where he was living with his mother.
1935-41: Henry “Harry” Shaw (b. Yorks, ENG, 1875-1973), an accountant at HMC Dockyard until retiring in 1940, his wife May (née Broughton, b. Lancs, ENG, 1881-1969), and their son Herbert an apprentice at Just-Rite Photos. The Shaws came from England in 1907.

1942-43: Helen Scott Portingale (née MacDonald, b. Glasgow, SCT, 1873-1954) whose husband William Robert Portingale (b. Melbourne, AUS, 1877-1961) was on WWII active service. Robert had been a post master in South Africa for 22 years until 1924.
1944-45: VMD bolter and shipyard labourer Peter and Annie Woloschuk.
Retired saddle maker Ernest Boardman (b. Glossop, ENG, 1883-1963) and Mary (née Chesters, b. ENG, 1880-1974).


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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