Heritage Register
James Bay

117 Oswego Street (ex-104 Oswego St)

Built 1892
Heritage-Designated 1992

For: George & Mary Maidment

Builder: attributed to George Maidment

117 Oswego


117 Oswego St is one of two remaining Victorian vernacular workers’ cottages. 117, 119 and 121 were built by carpenter and builder George Maidment in 1892, but 121 Oswego St was demolished in 1970. The 1903-09 Fire Insurance Plan shows that the three houses were virtually identical in size and footprint, but 121 had a full-width front porch. This 1½-storey, front-gabled house has a scrollsawn front bargeboard, a decorative finial, and a pair of long one-over-one, double-hung windows high in the gable. It has a small offset front porch on the right with a shed roof on ornate brackets. Faux brick asphalt siding was removed to reveal its original drop siding. The corbelled brick chimney sits on the ridge of the roof.


1892-95: George Maidment (b. Dorset, ENG c.1840-1916) and Mary (b. Kent, ENG c.1831-1903) came to Canada in 1871 and Victoria c.1889.


1896-1900: Strawberry Vale Syndicate.

1904-08, 1911-12: Isabella (née McLean, b. Aberdeen, SCT 1841-1917) McGavin, widow of George, came to Canada c.1890, and here in 1900, likely as a widow. She lived with her daughter and son-in-law Francis and William Clack at 106 Oswego St, now 115. The 1901 census says that Isabella was a grocer.
Tenant: 1901-11: Ellen Gilles Fox (née Deans, b. Victoria 1855-1922) married Charles Chester Fox (b. New York c.1854) in 1879. He was a milkman, then a hotelkeeper by the late 1890s. Ellen was listed as a widow in the 1901 census, but Charles was still alive in 1911. Ellen moved to 221 Howe St in 1912, and their daughter Minnie married Malcolm Blackstock of 251 Howe St, Fairfield, in 1914. Ellen was buried in Ross Bay Cemetery; Charles was not. [Note: Ellen’s parents George and Annie Deans came here in 1853 on the Norman Morison to work for Kenneth MacKenzie at Craigflower Farm.]

1913-16+: Mary (née Greenhalgh, b. Lancs, ENG 1876-1948)) and John Ranns b. London, ENG 1871-1925) came to Victoria in 1900 and lived in Esquimalt. John was a general labourer. In 1921, a rare double wedding ceremony was held at St Paul’s Church in Esquimalt for daughters Mary and Rose to Chester Middleditch and Capt. Archibald Henderson. After John’s death, Mary remarried in 1927 to James Quinn, a retired skipper. Mary was an IODE standard-bearer and involved with the Naval Veterans.

1926-29: Andrew Lindores “Harry” Durham (b. Cowdenbeath, Fife, SCT 1897-1985) and Martha “Dolly” (née Leckie, b. Worthington, ENG 1901-1981) married in Victoria in 1922. Andrew was BC government steam engineer. Dolly worked for Clarke Printing Co and was living at 649 Government St when they married. She resided at The Priory (729 Pemberton Rd, Rockland) when she died.

1930-34: Rosalie “Rose” Augusta Norman (née Gildermeister, b. Ottawa, ON 1888-1949) lived here with her offspring from 1931-34. She came here c.1890, and married fireman Joseph Harold Norman (b. Cumberland, ENG 1879-1953) in 1907. After serving in WWI, Joseph was a millwright from 1924-34. 1935-61: John Rolleston Martin (b. Watford, ENG 1876-1961), a miliary veteran and a well-digger, and Edith (née Westlake, b. London, ENG 1878-1955) came here in 1918 and married in 1919.

In 1990 owners Mikal Williams and Melinda Seyler won a Hallmark Society Award for their restoration of this house. They later bought 119 Oswego St and restored it as well.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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