Heritage Register

1449 Pembroke Street
(ex-119 North Pembroke St)

Built 1891
Heritage-Designated 1997

For: John "Harry" & Elizabeth Adams

Builder: John Henry Adams

1449 Pembroke


This is a good example of the cubical Italianate house dressed up with millwork and mass-produced by builders at the end of the 19th Century. It is two storeys high with a shallow hipped roof, and has a kitchen extension on the right rear. There are single sandwich brackets in the main eaves, with smaller versions under the eaves of the lower bay and the front porch. The upper floor windows have hoods which are also bracketed. The front has a peaked hipped roof over a two-storey angled bay on the left. There is a flared, shingled pent roof over the lower bay. A shallow porch to the right has a square flared shingled roof with cresting which forms a small balcony. The porch has arched brackets between the chamfered square posts and pilasters. The porch balustrade has solid drop siding and the landing and steps have square balusters. The cladding is drop siding and the foundation is brick.


1891-97: Carpenter John Henry “Harry” Adams (b.Worksop, Notts, ENG, c.1863-1952) was the son and brother of bricklayers. His father was prominent stonemason Fred Adams (1215 Pembroke St), contractor for the new Parliament Buildings in 1893. The family moved around England as his father travelled to new construction projects. Harry was born deaf, but was thought to be slow in school, so left after the third year. When they were living in Yorkshire he was asked to be a playmate to the future King George V. The family came to Perth, ON, likely in the 1880s, then to Victoria in 1889. John was still single and living with his parents in 1891. The British Colonist mentioned in March 1892 that Harry and his brother Fred (1215 Pembroke St) were visiting Perth. Possibly on that visit he married Elizabeth Dudgeon (b. ENG, died c.1930-31); her family had been farming at Port Elmsley, Pike Falls, ON, near Perth, for some time. Harry and Elizabeth had a daughter, Annie Gertrude, in 1893. In 1895 she died from the shock of scalding after pulling a boiling pot off the stove. Harry was the only one around, and couldn’t hear her screams.

This happened just months after Harry’s father Fred drowned in a ship wreck off Trial Island. In May 1896 his mother Sarah and brother Fred Jr. were drowned when the Point Ellice Bridge collapsed. Harry and Elizabeth were going to get on the streetcar, but it was full, so they let Sarah and Fred go, planning to meet them later. In 1897 they and Harry’s other brothers and their families left Victoria. Harry and Elizabeth returned to Ontario, where he worked as foreman of a factory in Perth which made boxcars for the Grand Trunk Western Railway. He was a photographer with a shop selling stationery and confectionery when he retired. After Elizabeth’s death, Harry lived with his daughter Evelyn, her husband James “Olin” Currie, and their family in Smith Falls, ON.


1898-c.1905: Contractor and customs clerk George Noot (b. WAL, 1852-1909) and Harriet (née Roch, b. ENG, 1847-1921) emigrated in 1882 with four young children from Tenby, Pemb, Wales. In 1901 they all lived at home: student William, grocer John Roch Upton, jeweller and watchmaker Percival Gladstone, and Elizabeth Sarah “Lolla”. By 1912 only Percy remained in Victoria.
1908-10: Frederick Elias and Margaret Clarke married in Nanaimo in 1903. Fred was a butcher at 1308 Gladstone Av.

May 1911:
Baptist minister William Stevenson married Leonard Carlow and 17-year-old Winnie Downard from 1444 Pembroke St (1116 Catherine St, Vic West) in the house and listed it as the Baptist Manse. 1911-15: Harry Alexander Stewart (b. Perth, SCT, 1874-1956) and Edith Annie (née Branch, b. London, ENG, 1878-1927) came here in 1911. Harry worked for 68 years as a barber. 1918: Ellen Leadbetter, whose husband Arthur was on WWI active service. In 1917 she lived at 1211 Pembroke St.

1920-53: John Bell Nixon (b. Cumberland, ENG, 1860-1931) and Elizabeth, who lived in the house until 1953. John was a City employee for many years, retiring in 1928. He died of a heart attack while out for his weekly stroll one Saturday morning.


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

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

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