Heritage Register

2226 Shelbourne Street
(ex-168 Devonshire; North Pembroke; 1642 Pembroke St; 2126 Ida; 2226 Ida)

Built c.1883
Heritage-Designated 1996

For: Henry & Cecilia Spofford

Builder: W. Henry Spofford

2226 Shelbourne


This unusual shaped house has two symmetrical gabled wings set at 45-degree angles to the central entry. It is two storeys with a flat-topped, shallow hipped roof. The two gables are pedimented with rectangular Palladian windows over projecting box bays. The central entry has a full-width pent roof which separates the upper box bay from the open porch below. There are stained glass panels on the side walls of the entry hall. Behind the right gabled wing is a jerkinheaded extension and a lower flat-roofed addition. The gables and the little roofs are shingled, the rest of the house has been stuccoed. The house faces towards Pembroke and originally had large grounds. In 1948 it was converted to five apartments.


1883-1938: Carpenter William “Henry” Spofford (b. Markham, ON, 1860-1937) and Anne “Cecilia” (née MacNaughton/McN, b. North Sydney, NS, 1862-1938) built this house on land leased, then purchased from Benjamin W. Pearse. A 1933 interview with Cecilia states that they had lived all their married life in this house, and they married in 1883. Cecilia’s family came to Victoria in 1876, by train to San Francisco, then north on the sidewheel steamer Dakota. In 1881 Cecilia, the first teacher at West Saanich School near Keating, was boarding with two bachelor farmers. Henry came to the area in 1877 and became a pioneer member of 1st B Battery, under Major Dupont (1539 Elford St, Fernwood). In 1881 he lived on a farm north of Victoria with his family. During WWI he served as a S.Sgt. at Work Point Barracks, despite being over 50. Henry was a deacon of First Baptist Church for many years. He and Cecilia were childless, but for many years ran the Children’s Aid Home in their large, rambling house, with Cecilia managing it alone during WWI. By 1920 the Home had moved to 919 Vancouver, but Cecilia served on the board until her death.

Cecilia Spofford was of United Empire Loyalist stock and a pioneer feminist leader in Victoria, along with her mother Jane MacNaughton and sister Florence Clyde. Cecilia particularly advocated women in public office. In 1877 at 15 she was a charter member of the First Baptist women’s group and in 1883 a founding member of the BC Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She was on the board of the WCTU refuge home for fallen women that once stood across Ida/Shelbourne from this house. In 1929 she was president of the BC Baptist Convention, and then the Women’s Baptist Convention. A founder of the Local Council of Women during Lady Aberdeen’s visit in 1893, she served on the executive until her death. She was on the executive of the Women’s Canadian Club, and was president in 1928-29. She was a long-time member of the Liberal Women’s Forum, a school trustee in 1919-21, and was appointed by the BC government to the Social Welfare Commission and the Minimum Wage Board.

For Cecilia’s and Henry’s 50th anniversary, the city’s women’s organizations banded together and held a reception at the Empress Hotel. The couple died two months apart still residing in this house. Besides Victoria City Council, 15 prominent religious, women’s, political and educational organizations sent representatives to Cecilia’s funeral. In the patronizing language of the time, the four Baptist ministers who presided at the service paid tribute to her as a “gallant little warrior.” (VDT 22.02.1938 pg.11). In 1987, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the granting of women’s suffrage in BC, the Victoria Council of Women presented a plaque to the BC legislature honouring Cecilia Spofford and Maria Grant; they had lead the fight for over 30 years to achieve votes for women.


1939-40, still 1642 Pembroke: chemical engineer Valentine Devine and Lydia S. Nalty. Valentine, who came to Canada in 1914, retired in 1945 from Canadian Industries Ltd (CIL).
1940-41: the house became 2126, then 2226 Ida St.
1940-47: VMD estimator, then draftsman Noel W. and Jane H. Barker. 1948-51: 2226 Ida was five apartments owned by George N. and Mayme Sweetman, retired, who lived in #1.
1949-54: #4, the renter was nurse Miss Kathleen E. Grinyer; she became a supervisor at Royal Jubilee Hospital.
1950-55: #3, the renter was masseuse Miss Murtie Taylor.


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

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

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