Heritage Register
James Bay

624 Avalon Road (ex-10 Avalon Rd)

Built 1904
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Frederick & Christina Widdowson

Architect: Samuel Maclure

624 Avalon


This Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts (EVA&C) house, designed by Samuel Maclure, is similar to one that he designed c.1900 at 1807 Oak Bay Av (demolished). It is a characteristic 1½ storey, steeply-pitched front-gabled house with a symmetrical upper storey over an asymmetrical main floor. The front gable is separated from the main floor by a denticulated belt course. The main floor consists of a cutaway angled bay to the right of a recessed entry porch. The porch has three square chamfered posts and a closed balustrade. Unusual for EVA&C, the house has a gabled full-height wing on the right side with a cutaway angled bay on the main floor; on the left side is a through-the-roof wall dormer with offset windows. Most of the windows on the house are six-over-one double-hung sashes with horns. The gables are shingled and the main floor is clad in bevelled siding. There are two corbelled brick chimneys. Maclure designed this house to have only one finial in the front gable.


Frederick Widdowson was a “trimmer” at the City Electric Light Station, and belonged to the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Like his good friend and brother-in-law, Fred Jackson (619 Avalon Rd), he was a baseball player and a member of the JBAA rowing team. At various times he rowed bow for JBAA’s famous “Big Four” which won the seniors in the North Pacific Association of Amateur Oarsmen from 1895 to 1900.

Before marriage, Christina Lorimer taught many years at South Park School, where sister Elizabeth (619 Avalon Rd), sister-in-law Elsie and her daughter Jean Lorimer (122 South Turner St, James Bay) also taught. She began her career as a monitress at Kingston St School.

The Widdowsons were born in Victoria. Fred’s father, Fred, died when he was young; his mother Annie remarried, to George Logan (634 Avalon Rd). Fred and Christina, at the time of the 1901 census, were newlyweds on Toronto St with a 20-year-old Chinese servant, Way Kee. In 1904 they built 624 Avalon, next to Fred’s mother. Christina died in 1931 at 60. Fred Widdowson lived here, then on Quebec St at the time of his death in 1945 at 76.


1943-45: Mildred W. (née Kelly) and Frederick Dixon, a steel checker at Yarrows Shipyard. Mildred was born in Greenbush, SK, Fred was from London, England. They lived in Bjorkdale, SK, then came to BC in 1942. They were living on Colville Rd, Esquimalt, near Fred’s work when Mildred died in 1945 at 36. Fred remarried, to Caroline Campbell, and was living on Pine St in Vic West when he died at 54 in 1953. He had retired at 50 when he was found to have a brain tumour.

By 1948 the owners were Kate (née McMullen) and Edward McAleese, a watchman at BAPCO Paint factory on Laurel Point in James Bay. Daughter Eileen was a waitress for Kresges on Douglas St, son John a carpenter. Kate and Edward, born in Northern Ireland, came to Canada in 1929. Farmers for twelve years during the “Dirty Thirties” in Clandonald, AB, they came to Victoria in 1941. They died in Victoria, Kate in 1970 at 80, Edward in 1971 at 78.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay

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