51 Oswego Street (ex-130 Oswego St)
For: Peter & Martha Shandley
Builder: attributed to Peter Shandley
This 1½-storey Homestead Vernacular is one of a pair with 55 Oswego St, built by the Shandleys for $1,800 each. They began life as identical twins, but have matured independently. This house has suffered a few indignities, but could be brought up to the standard of its sibling.
This is front gabled, and shades of the Greek Temple can be seen in the cornice returns and brackets on the corner-boards, to resemble column capitals. A pent roof with sandwich brackets is the salient feature, linking an octagonal bay with cutaway corners on the left, and a front porch on the right. Shingles on the pent roof match those in the gable. The house is clad in drop siding and has its original corbelled chimney, but has lost its roof cresting and finials, its original porch pillar and brackets. Unusual dormers interrupt the roofline to provide extra light to upstairs space and Queen Anne glass in the lower side window sheds colourful light into the front hall. Window and door trim includes applied half-round decorative elements, typical of other houses on the street.
The Shandleys lived here from 1892-98. Peter was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, England, in 1867 and came to Victoria in 1889. Martha Hallwood arrived in 1890, and that year married Peter. Two of their three sons, twins Frank (130 Government St, James Bay) and Charles (645 Pine St & 929 Catherine St, both in Vic West) were born in this house in 1897.
Peter worked at Esquimalt dockyard, then started a paint contracting business. According to his obituary, he “carried out the decoration of many of Victoria’s finest homes and buildings.” From 1905 he worked in various departments of Canada Customs with son Frank’s wife’s uncle, John Newbury (140 Government St, James Bay), until retiring in 1933. He was a member of the Thermopylae Club. Peter and Martha were active members of the Church of Our Lord, and Peter helped build Bishop Cridge Memorial Hall in 1929. Martha died in 1937 at 71. From c.1940-45 Peter lived with Charles, then with Frank at 582 Marifield and 614 Dallas until his death in 1953 at 87.
Thomas and Harriet (Horne) Nelson lived here from 1899 to 1902. Thomas was a confectioner for M.R. Smith & Co, then a janitor at the Legislature. He died in 1920 at 65. The Daily Times reported that his body was found floating in the waters near Holland Point, with an envelope addressed to himself “probably for identification purposes.” A member of OES, and active in Metropolitan United Church, Hattie died in 1934 at about 72.
Clarke and Florence (Wright) Tickle lived here in the 1920s. They came to Victoria from England in 1919. Florence died in 1945 at 53. Clarke was a clerk for Canadian Pacific Express for 43 years, and a member of the Veteran’s Guard. He died in 1968 at 80.
Herbert and Florence (Russell) Coleman were here c.1929-31. Herbert was born in Sussex, England in 1877. His family came to Canada in 1879, and resided in Cranbrook, BC, then moved to Victoria c.1933. Herbert was a gardener at St. Ann’s Academy (835 Humboldt St, Fairfield), and from 1936-46 a janitor with the BC Government. He died in 1951 at 73. Florence later left Victoria and lived in Duncan when she died in 1970 at 94.
By 1937, the residents were Hugh James and Elspeth Robertson (Bone) Burnett, who married in Vancouver in 1927. They lived here until 1945. Hugh was a seaman.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:
• James Bay History
• James Bay Heritage Register
• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives
• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay