Heritage Register

943 St. Charles Street

Built 1912

For: Harry & Katherine Beasley

Architect: Samuel Maclure

943 St Charles


This is a two-storey, shallow-hip-roofed house with wide eaves. It is almost Foursquare, but has a centrally-located, front facing box bay on the verandah roof. The left side has two box bays on the main floor under the overhanging hipped roof. The right side has a box bay and an angled bay, both on the main floor. The hip-roofed back porch is attached to an extension on the right rear. A deep, full-width, front verandah has grouped square posts and pilasters, and shallow arches supporting a wide hipped roof which wraps around to the left over the box bays. The posts sit on concrete-capped, random stone piers. the stairway has stepped stone balustrades. The upper floor is clad in smooth stucco and half-timbering, the main floor in roughcast stucco, and the high basement walls are random stone. The house has strong horizontal lines reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School style of the Midwest. The family converted it to a duplex in 1947.


1912-53: Harry Exeter Beasley (1862-1943, born in Hamilton, ON, came to BC in 1885. He worked for the CPR, and from 1898-1900 was the first CPR superintendent of the Kootenay District, west of the 942-944 St. Charles St, garden & front facades, 2000 VHF/I. Henderson Rocky Mountains. He was living in Donald, BC, in 1898 when he married Katherine Griffith (1868-1953) who had come from North Wales in 1889. They lived in Nelson and Vancouver, where Harry was CPR superintendent. They moved to Montreal, and Harry became office manager for CPR President Sir Thomas Shaughnessy. For health reasons he asked to be transferred back to BC after one year. In 1909 Harry was appointed superintendent and then director of E&N Railway, which the CPR bought from the Dunsmuirs. This brought him to Victoria, where he retired in 1928.


1912-76: The Beasleys had four children, Harry Burkholder (1892-1972) who married Gertrude Keating in 1915, Percy Exeter (1894-1976) who remained a bachelor; Ellen (Helen) Beatrice (1896-1912) who was a student at St. Margaret’s School when she died at home of rheumatic fever, and Arthur Griffith (1899-1977), a champion local golfer who married Maud Monteith (1890-1983) from an old Victoria family. Percy Beasley lived in this house whenever he was in Victoria until he died. Born in Donald, BC, Percy and his friend from 933 St Charles St (now 1501 Laurel Lane,) Ken MacDonald, son of The Hon James A. MacDonald, chief justice of the Court of Appeal, earned pilots licences at the Wright Brothers flying school in Ohio and were among the first 400 pilots to train there. He and Ken went overseas when WWI began and joined the Royal Naval Air Service. While flying one day, Percy’s plane crashed, but he walked away unhurt. Percy was transferred to England as CO of the Marine Observers School of Bombing & Gunnery. After the war, he bought a sawmill in Shawnigan Lake, but it burnt to the ground. He went into up-island mining, for gold and other minerals; like his brothers, he loved the outdoor life. Percy served another four years during WWII with the RCAF.

1976-2001: Harry “Hal” Beasley was a champion
sprinter and represented Canada in the 1912 Olympics in Sweden. In his 20s he was Victoria manager of Union Oil Co of CA. Hal and Gertrude had one daughter, Gladwyn Helen (1919-2014), and when they separated in the late 1920s, Gladwyn came to live with her grandparents in this house. In 1943 she met Naval Lieutenant Jean Paul Robitaille from Montreal, and they were married in 1944. They moved to Montreal; his family had come from Normandy to Québec in 1670. Jean Paul dealt in surgical supplies and pharmaceuticals. When Percy Beasley died and Gladwyn inherited the house, the Robitailles moved back to Victoria. Jean Paul died in 1993. Gladwyn sold the house in 2001.


• 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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