Heritage Register

1521 Montgomery Street (ex-1520 Despard Av)

Built 1928

For: Gilbert & Millicent Fraser

Architect: Ralph Berrill

1521 Montgomery


In-fill has virtually obscured this late example of British Arts & Crafts Tudor Revival genre. This is further complicated by the Montgomery address, though it faces and is approached from Despard. This is a two-storey house; the roof is gabled and steeply hipped with side gables and exposed rafter-tails. There are two front-facing gables, the right proud of the left, each with half-timbering and banks of five windows. A shallow, hip-roofed box bay on the main floor left has a bank of five casement windows with transoms. The front porch on the right has three Tudor arches on a rubble stone balustrade. There’s a gabled, half-timbered garage on Montgomery. The cost for the 10-room house and garage was $15,000.


This property was originally part of the Joseph Despard Pemberton estate. The house was built for Victoria businessman Gilbert Goodwin Fraser (1885-1957), who lived here with his wife, Millicent Greasley (Newby, 1880-1951) until 1941. Gilbert and Millicent were both born in Liverpool, England; Gilbert came to Victoria in 1897, Millicent in 1886. After completing his education, Gilbert entered the family firm, Walter S. Fraser & Co, wholesale hardware dealers. In 1935 he became an agent with the Royal Trust Co, until retirement in 1955. Gilbert and Millicent married in 1910. Her father, Capt John Newby, for years sailed ships to Japan and China and later became head of pilotage here. The Frasers then moved to 1860 Crescent Rd where they lived for many years. Daughter Marianne Millicent, born in 1912, died there in 1970.


Lt-Gen Ernest Charles (1873-1956) and Helen Margaret (Weir, 1874-1960) Ashton lived here after Ernest retired from the Canadian Army in 1941. Born in Brantford, ON, Ernest served in the military for 47 years. He married Helen in 1905. The Ashton Armoury and Museum at 724 Vanalman in Saanich was named for him. He trained in medicine at Trinity University, Toronto, graduated in 1898, and practised in hospitals throughout Ontario until 1915. In the early 1890s, when he was a member of the Dufferin Rifles of Canada, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by 1907. He commanded that regiment for five years, before being transferred to the Reserves in 1912. When WWI broke out, he was given command of the 36th Battalion, and later commanded the Reserve Canadian Brigades in England. In 1917 he was promoted to Brigadier-General, and given command of the 15th Canadian Infantry Division. He returned to Canada as temporary Adjutant-General, with the rank of Major General. In 1939, Lieut-Gen Ashton was given a special appointment to re-organize the Medical Services and that same year was made Inspector General for the Military Forces. His decorations included the Order of Bath, Order of St. Michael and St. George, Volunteer Officer’s Decoration and Colonial Forces Long Service Award. The Ashton Armoury and Museum at 724 Vanalman Av in Saanich is named for him.

By 1949, William Frederick (1893-1967) and Marion Larose (McKittrick, 1893-1972) Pinfold were the occupants. Born in Massachusetts, William came to Canada in 1912, and married Marion in Winnipeg, MB, in 1923. They came to Victoria in 1926. William was a Victoria alderman 1949-56, and a member of the Rotary Club for 40 years. He lived here until his death in 1967, and Marion left soon after.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Rockland History

• Rockland Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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