Heritage Register

1286 Pembroke Street (ex-56 South Rd)

Built 1884
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Benjamin & Jane Turner

1286 Pembroke


This is a simple, 1½ storey, front-gabled Homestead house. It has a pair of round-arched windows in the front gable above a hip-roofed porch. The gable has returns on the ends of the bargeboards, typical of the Homestead style. There are faux quoins on the front upper corner boards. The full-width porch has three chamfered square posts and a solid balustrade. The windows are tall and narrow. The upper floor has drop siding, and the lower is still covered in asbestos shingles over the original. The upper floor was covered in asphalt shingles for many years. The top of the casings on the round windows, the quoins and the corner boards are plywood. The house, which has a brick foundation, is one of the oldest in Fernwood.


Owners: 1884-88:
Benjamin Turner and Jane (b. Leeds, ENG, c.1861-1885). Ben was a bricklayer, living on Pioneer (North Park St) in 1884, then Spring Ridge until 1887. Jane died of typhoid fever. Ben then had their children William and Emma christened in St. Johns Iron Church.


1889 & 1893-94: Clara Haggerty (1140 Fort St, Fernwood) paid the taxes. 1890-92: Capt. Daniel McLachlan (b. Ontario 1841-1915) and Clara (née Crogan, b. Victoria 1859-1944) married in 1880. Daniel came to Victoria c.1862; in 1880 he was a limeburner, living in the San Juan Islands. He and Clara resided at 1032 Mason St for 25 years until his death.

Owners: 1895-1901: Eliza Robbins (b. Leeds, ENG, 1847-1908) came to Canada in 1884. Eliza, the widow of grocer Alexander Turner, in 1888 married Moses Riley Robbins (b. Missouri, USA, c.1838-1916), a widower and watchmaker from Indiana. Moses had left by 1901 and she was head of the household, farming in Colwood with her two sons: Albert Turner, a bricklayer who built and owned 1149 Dominion Rd, Vic West, and Arthur Turner a labourer, contractor and farmer.

1901-37: Arthur Turner (b. Leeds, 1881-1950) owned this house but lived frequently at 730 Craigflower Rd. He married Evelyn Kaye (b. Oxon, ENG, c.1883) in 1909 and they lived here in 1909-11 and in 1924-37. In 1935 Arthur was a helper at Ramsay & Adams, and their offspring were: Arthur Jr, a deckman for Canada Western Cooperage; Clara M, a bookkeeper; Doris Eveline, a maid for Earl W. Clarke at 1461 Pembroke St; and Lucy Ellen, a BC government stenographer - see 1938-50 below.

Tenants: c.1889-92: Alfred Howell (1833-1915) and Jane (née Ablitt, 1836-1912) were from Cowes, Isle of Wight, where Alfred worked in the manufacture of boots and shoes for the Royal Navy and others. He measured and fitted many famous men, including King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, Kaiser Wilhelm II when a lad, and prominent international yachting figures during the Cowes races. Alfred and Jane immigrated to Guelph, ON, in 1883 and came to Victoria in 1889. Alfred and Jane were listed as gardeners in the 1901 census. Five of their children were working when they lived in this house: Benjamin Ernest, a plumber; Harry Ablitt, a clerk; Bertram Archer, a messenger for David Spencer’s dry goods store, then an electrical machinist, and a Sgt. in the Forestry Depot, CEF, in WWI, remained single and lived with his sister Ellen; Ellen/Helen, a dressmaker with James Hutcheson & Co, remained single, looking after her parents at home until they died; Kathleen “Lena” Gertrude, a painter and photographer’s assistant with Hastings art studio.

The Howells were founding members of Victoria’s Congregational Church (1600 Quadra St, North Park) and held the first Sunday School in this house. Alfred was a deacon for many years, a long-standing member of the Young Men’s Club and Men’s Own Bible Class, the YMCA’s men’s camp, and Pride of the Island Lodge No. 131 of Sons of England Benevolent Society. The couple were married for 55 years. Their grandson Percy Howell lived in 1458 Begbie St, Fernwood, in 1929.

Tenants: 1895: Expressman/teamster Arthur Croghan (b. Colwood, BC, 1854-1928) and his wife Nellie.
1903-08: Augustine Joseph Lucas (b. Coventry, ENG, 1868-1939) and Elizabeth (née Brakes, b. Birmingham, ENG, 1868-1942) came to Canada in 1897. Joseph was a bartender in the Osbourne Saloon when they lived here; by 1909 he was proprietor of the Commercial Hotel at 1600 Douglas St and they lived in the hotel.

1912-13: Carpenter Harold and Marie Paver came from England.
1914: Robert (Howard?) Evans, a teamster with Oliver Johnson (1439 Pembroke St).
1917-18: Clara Maude Kay, the wife of LCP Frederick Kay, who was on WWI active service from Sept 1915. He was a carpenter and they married in Victoria in 1895.

Owners: 1924-37: Arthur and Evelyn Turner - see above. 1938-39: The Turner offspring Lucy, Doris and Arthur Jr still lived in the house, but their parents had left Victoria. Arthur Sr died in New Westminster, but was buried with his family in Ross Bay Cemetery.
1940-42: Lucy Ellen Turner and her husband Torey Sigfrid Johnson, a “cutoffman” for McCarter Shingles and a millworker in the logging industry. 1943-50: Doris Eveline Turner (1910-1987) and her husband, plasterer and stone mason Leonard James Clifford (b. Newsham, ENG, 1905-1982).


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

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

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