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Heritage Register
Victoria West

614 Seaforth Street

Built 1911
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Duncan G. & Ursula D. MacBeath

Architect: Hoult Horton
Builder: Duncan Gillman McBeath

614 Seaforth

ARCHITECTURE:

This is one of Victoria’s most attractive versions of the Colonial Bungalow style. The expansive wrap-around verandah accentuates the symmetrical façade capped by a balconied dormer set in the bellcast hipped roof. All the peaks had short, square finials. There are dormers on all sides; the front and rear have balconies with columns and sawn balusters. There is a box bay on brackets on the left to the rear. The verandah has paired Classical columns which sit on a shingled balustrade. There are paired brackets in the eaves above the columns and a dentilated frieze. The stairway has a solid stepped balustrade. All the leaded glass in the verandah has been removed. The body and dormers are shingled, the foundation is clad in double-bevelled siding. Hoult Horton’s major existing work in Victoria is the Belmont Building at Government and Humboldt Sts which he designed in partnership with Paul Phipps. This house was divided into many small apartments by later owners.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

The McBeath family had lived on the SW corner at 240 Robert St from the mid-1880s. They built 230 Robert St in 1900, but Ursula didn’t like it, so they continued to live in 240 (now demolished) until building this house on Seaforth at the back of their property.

1911-26: Duncan Gillman McBeath (b. Perth, SCT, 1849-1926) and Ursula Dixon (née Modeland, b. Seaforth, ON, 1854-1924). Duncan came to Seaforth with his family in 1861. In 1879 he took the Union Pacific Railway to San Francisco, then the City of Chester to Esquimalt. A carpenter by trade, he was foreman for Muirhead and Mann for 25 years, then with Joseph Sayward and the Canadian Puget Sound Lumber Co. He was also a house builder (223 & 230 Robert St), a firefighter, a member of AOUW and of Dominion Lodge No.4 IOOF for 52 years.

1926-66: The McBeaths had two sons, John Duncan “Johnny” (b. Esquimalt, 1886-1973) and Leslie Walter Alfred (b. Victoria, 1892-1966), who were both married at Breadalbane (1177 Fort St, Rockland). Leslie married Elsie Marie Meredith (b. Oklahoma, 1897-1948) in 1923, and they lived at 614 Seaforth from 1926 until their deaths. Elsie came to Canada in 1905 and to Victoria in 1920. Leslie was an electrician and a marine engineer with J.H. Todd & Sons (1041 St. Charles St, Rockland) for 40 years, until retiring in 1958. He was drafted in 1918 to serve in WWI and was a member of IOOF Victoria Lodge No.1.

Johnny McBeath married Dorothy Adellis “Dot” Fisher in 1920. He apprenticed in shipbuilding with Victoria Machinery Depot (VMD), and became a pattern maker for Victoria Brass and Iron until it closed, then went back as an “expeditor” with VMD. Duncan and Ursula gave Johnny and Dot a California Bungalow at 423 Durban St, Fairfield, as a wedding gift. Their eldest son Jack Darwin, who was born in 1923 in the back bedroom at 423 Durban, was still living there in 2012.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• 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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