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Heritage Register
Victoria West

242 Robert Street
Huntingdon Cottage

Built 1888-89; 1978
Heritage-Designated 1979

For: William Losee

Builders: William Losee & Henry Serrick

242 Robert

ARCHITECTURE:

This Queen Anne house with its flat-topped hipped roof has a large front dormer, an octagonal tower on the right, and a square bay on the left rear. Originally there was probably a widow’s walk on top. The dormer has a square Palladian window and scrollsawn bargeboards. The verandah has paired turned posts and square balusters, with scrollsawn arches and brackets between the posts. There were originally arches between the bases of the paired posts. Huntingdon Cottage was moved here in 1978 from 621 Seaforth St to make way for a highrise.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

1888-96: William Ernest Losee (b. Coburg, ON, 1862-1944) who came to Victoria c.1887, bought this lot in January 1888 for $450 from the Russells (see 505-07 Springfield St, Vic West) and began work on the house. He took out two mortgages for $1,000 each with the Vancouver Island Building Society and completed the house, without the tower, in 1889. The VDC of 1 Jan 1889, “Improvements for 1888” states: “Victoria West: W.A. Losee, cottage residence, Henry Serrick, builder, $1,700.” Nothing else is known about Serrick. Losee married Rebecca Peveritt (b. Mount Clenance, Michigan, 1863-1936) in Victoria in 1891. He established the Shawnigan sawmill in 1889 but sold it to Theophilus Elford (1436 Elford St, Fernwood) in 1890, then was a carpenter, lawyer, car-builder, and contractor. For many years he was superintendent of BC Cement at Tod Inlet for Robert P. Butchart. William was a member of First Presbyterian (now United) Church for over 50 years. His family was United Empire Loyalist, and he was a member of the local chapter. He died on Saltspring Island after a boating accident.
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OTHER OCCUPANTS:

1896-98:
Ida Teresa (b. Trenton, ON, 1857-1914) and Samuel Barclay Martin (b. Alabama, USA, 1850-1931). Losee paid off his mortgages in 1896 and the Martins purchased the house for $1,567. Samuel came to Canada in 1877 and worked as a canneryman. The family moved to New Westminster.Owners: 1902-08: Charles Watson Kirk (b. Ontario, 1860-1929) and Lucy May (née Handley, b. Manchester, ENG, 1863-1954) bought the house for $1,850 and built the tower. Charles came to BC in 1884, Lucy to Canada in 1880. Charles was manager of Victoria West Coal Co, wood and coal, which became Kirk Coal Co. They were living on Esquimalt Rd in 1911 with their seven children, and the eldest sons, Charles and Alfred, were in the business with their father.

Owners 1908-29: Retirees Duncan Stewart (b. Quebec, 1835-1917) and Eliza (née Kaine, b. Ireland, 1843-1929) came here from Winnipeg in 1908 and bought the house for $3,500. It is thought they had previously lived in Seaforth, ON, and requested that Andrew St be renamed Seaforth, although the McBeath family (614 Seaforth St) also came from Seaforth, ON. The Stewarts named the house Huntingdon Cottage after Duncan’s Quebec hometown. Duncan was a carpenter. 1929-53: The house passed to their son John Albert Stewart (b. Huron Co, ON, 1872-1952) and his wife Jessie C. (née MacLaren, b. Crookston, MN, 1885-1962) who operated Stewart’s Cash Grocery on Esquimalt Rd for many years. John was a charter member of Confederation Lodge, AF&AM, and a member of the Canadian Order of Foresters and First United Church.

Years later, the house was twice slated for demolition to make way for apartments. The Hallmark Society urged City Council to designate it heritage and it was moved in 1978 to Robert St. Norman Pearson bought it, restored it and converted it to four suites. In 1983 Norm received a Hallmark Society Award for his four years of work.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register


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


 © VICTORIA HERITAGE FOUNDATION (VHF) 2014
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