Heritage Register

1052 Amphion Street

Built 1892; 1896
Heritage-Designated 1988

For: John Clayton

1052 Amphion


This interesting house appears to have been built in two stages: A tiny, country cottage, with a substantial two-storey addition. Documentation is thin, but if we go by assessments, it would appear that the cottage was built in 1892 by Clayton, in a new subdivision which didn’t exist in 1891. He then sold the lot to Mason & Oddy, who built the 2-storey house in 1896, and it became this large Homestead Vernacular structure, with its strong angled bay, modest porch hood, and segmental arch in the peak. Other decorative elements include handsome sandwich brackets, and decorative fishscale shingles.

The cottage on the right is side-gabled with a sweeping roof faintly Quebecois in form. The bargeboards have returns, and dentil-like blocks. The simple porch has square brackets, and spindles. (The posts are all chamfered as if they originally had handrails.)


Born in Leicestershire, England, John J. Clayton (c.1842-1910) arrived in Bella Coola in 1863 to work for the HBC as manager from 1875-82. Shortly after retiring from the HBC, Clayton bought the trading posts at Bella Coola and Bella Bella, and continued to operate them until the early 1900s. Clayton also established a salmon cannery at Bella Coola. He returned to England in 1890, married Elizabeth Cross Orton (1861-1941), and they returned to Bella Coola. Clayton made frequent trips to Victoria to buy stock for his business, and presumably engaged in speculative real estate during these visits.


In 1893 he sold the property to Charles Dubois Mason (1845-1929) and Benjamin Scarfe Oddy (1855-1925). Oddy, an insurance agent, came to Victoria in 1890 from Yorkshire, England. In 1898 he married Florence Watson Moody, daughter of Janet McAuslyn Watson and lumberman Sewell Prescott Moody, who established Moodyville in present North Vancouver (1020-22 St. Charles St, Rockland). In 1901, Oddy was living on Croft St in James Bay.

Mason lived in this house until the mid-1910s. He was born in London, England, and came to Victoria in 1885. A barrister and solicitor, he was for many years a member of the law firm of Mason & Mann. Mason was a widower by 1901, and was living with his brother Henry and sister Lydia in this house, according to the 1901 Canada Census. Also listed as resident in the house were his partner, Watson Gormie, a mining broker, Jane McWillie, a domestic servant, and guest Winifred Walker and her baby daughter Beatrice. Mason also owned a property in Oak Bay, on Prospect Pl, although he never lived there, and was living at 2078 Goldsmith St when he died in 1929.

The next known occupant of this house was James W. Morrow in 1921. Then followed several years of vacancy until 1929, when Joseph L. Courville, a waiter with the RCN lived here, and in 1931, pipefitter James Allen. Clarence Garnet (1898-1971) and Julia (Patuchie, c.1897-1938) Steverson were living here by 1933. The Steversons were Victoria natives; Clarence was in the logging industry for 55 years and retired in 1951. Clarence left the house after Julia died in 1938.

William Robert Gibbs (1886-1968) and his wife Dora Elizabeth (Barrett, 1891-1973) bought the house by 1941 and lived here for the next several years. William and Dora were born in London, England; he came to BC in 1909 and she in 1911. They married in Cranbrook in 1912 and came to Victoria in 1925. William was a painter with the BC Department of Public Works from 1940-52. He was also a 50-year honorary member of Henderson Lodge, No. 8, AF&AM, BCR, and a retired sergeant of St. John’s Ambulance Brigade No. 65, Victoria.

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