Heritage Register
Victoria West

230 Robert Street

Built 1899-1900
Heritage-Designated 1980

For: Duncan & Ursula McBeath

Architect: Thomas Hooper
Builder: Duncan Gillman McBeath

230 Robert


This one-storey, asymmetrical Queen Anne cottage has a steeply-pitched hipped roof sprouting with pedimented gables and a front roof dormer. There are two gables on the left: the front gable caps a square bay attached diagonally to the corner of the house; the rear gable sits above an angled bay. There is also an angled bay under the gable on the right side. At the front to the right of the verandah is an inset angled bay. All the angled bays are bracketed. The large front gable extends over the wide verandah, and has the only finial on the house. The symmetrical verandah has five square fluted posts with elaborate capitals and heavy brackets above each post, separated by many small brackets. The balustrade has intricately sawn balusters between heavy square piers; the fleur-de-lys in the balusters mimic that at the top of the finial. The stairway balustrade repeats that of the verandah, with ball-shaped finials on the piers. Queen Anne glass appears throughout the house. There are decorative shingles in the gables and on the dormer, and drop siding on the body of the house. The foundation is brick.


Owners: 1900-15+: Duncan Gilbert and Ursula Dixon McBeath (see 614 Seaforth St) had been living since the mid-1880s at the SW corner of Robert St and Seaforth St. They hired Thomas Hooper and he designed this finely detailed Queen Anne cottage for them, which was built down the street closer to the harbour. Ursula, however, didn’t like the house, and hence the McBeaths rented it out.


Tenants: 1900-02:
Charles Bishop Innes (b. Dulwich, ENG, 1872-1924) and Roberta Elizabeth “Berta” (née Wolfenden, b. Victoria, 1870-1973) married in St. Paul’s Church, Esquimalt, in April, 1900. Charles worked for the E&N. “The honeymoon is being spent along the line of the E&N Railway. Upon their return Mr. and Mrs. Innes will take up their residence in a pretty bungalow on Robert street, Victoria West.” VDC 18.4.1900 Berta taught at Angela College and played the piano well. [Note: Charles’s father James Henry Innes had been Civilian Manager of the Dockyard and the first Logistical Officer of the Base, in charge of Naval and Victualling Stores and Accounting, HM Dockyard, Esquimalt. The brick house, now called Admiral’s House, was built as his residence in 1885. Berta’s father was Lieut-Col. Richard Wolfenden, a Royal Engineer, and Queen’s, then King’s, Printer for BC. Her half-sister Madge Wolfenden, who married J.H. Hamilton, was a renowned local historian and Assistant Provincial Archivist.]

1902-06: E&N conductor Albert Homan and Bertha “Bertie” Bostock married in St. Saviour’s, 310 Henry St, Vic West, in 1899. In 1906 they moved into their new house at 529 Springfield St, Vic West. Albert’s mother Harriet Bostock (521-523 Springfield) resided with them in the house until her death in 1902.

1908-65: The next tenants were Bertie Bostock’s sister Marion “Mamie” (née Wood, b. Derbyshire, 1878-1965) and her husband Henry Martin “Harry” Austin (b. Departure Bay, BC, 1879-1944) who eventually purchased the property. They, too, married at St. Saviour’s in 1899. Harry, who had been a prospector in Nanaimo, was an E&N engineer and drove the first train into Port Alberni. In 1901 the Austins and Bostocks had lived beside each other in Wellington, BC. After her mother died, Mamie emigrated in 1898 with her father, retired stationary engineer William Wood (1845-1918), one brother Robert, who was killed on the E&N, and four sisters. William worked for Victoria Pottery Co, and was living with Mamie and Harry when he died in 1918, aged 72. Mamie was an avid lawn bowler with the Vic West and CPR Lawn Bowling Clubs. She loved to go fishing and hunting in men’s clothing with Harry, and she also loved entertaining children. Harry enjoyed the races, poker, and Victoria Cougars hockey; he was at the game when they won the Stanley Cup. He was a member of AOF, AOW and AF&AM. Mamie left the house to her niece Marjorie (Lorenz) Ross.

1965-2012: Marjorie was the daughter of Mamie and Bertie’s sister Emily “Emmie” (1873-1949), who in 1899 married Capt. Ernest Louis August Lorenz (b. Hamburg, GER, 1864-1911). He managed hotels after his sealing and whaling career ended. [Note: Ernest managed a hotel in Victoria in 1901 for Captain Voss, when Voss left on his epic voyage around the world in the Tilikum. Their son, Ernest Lionel Lorenz, was shot to death at 21 in 1923 on Redfern St in Victoria.] The Lorenzs’ daughter, stenographer Marjorie Grace (b. Port Essington, BC, 1907-2000), married Donald Ross (b. Ousdale, Caithness, SCT, 1897-1973) in 1933, and they moved into 230 Robert after Mamie’s death. Donald worked for many years at the Ritz, a residential hotel on Fort St, and the family lived there until 1945, then in an apartment at 1021 Cook St; Emmie lived with the Rosses. Their daughter Cynthia Diane remembers Fort St as a fascinating street to grow up in the 1930s and 40s. Donald then worked as a civil servant at HMC Dockyard until 1965. Cynthia married Charles Mooney in 1957, and she inherited the house in 2000 after her mother’s death.


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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