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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Beaconsfield Inn is a two-storey wood frame Edwardian Tudor Revival mansion located on the northwest corner of Vancouver Street and Humboldt Avenue in Victoria's Fairfield neighbourhood.
The Beaconsfield Inn, built in 1908, is valued for its architecture, its architect, its original owner, and as an example of Victoria's strong heritage conservation movement.
Beaconsfield Inn is valued as an outstanding example of an Edwardian Tudor Revival mansion. Revivals of previous architectural styles were prominent in the early twentieth-century as property owners sought to allude to the stability and glory of a former age. In Victoria, this style can be seen on residential buildings ranging from small cottages to large opulent houses. Characterized by prominent half-timbering, strong masonry foundations and tall ornate chimneys, the Tudor Revival style is closely associated with the Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts & Crafts styles. The half-timbering found on this type of house is derived from Elizabethan England, where heavy timber structural frames were infilled with masonry panels. This building type became popular in Vancouver and Victoria between 1900 and the 1930s, particularly because of political and cultural ties to Britain.
The historic place is also valued as an example of the work of Samuel Maclure. Born in New Westminster, BC, he became the foremost domestic architect in British Columbia from 1890 to 1920 and established a building style that gave Victoria and parts of Vancouver a distinctive Canadian West Coast flavour. His works, a very personal interpretation of the shingle style and half-timber facade treatment, influenced a generation of British Columbia architects throughout the province. Maclure's influence on BC building design was so pervasive that into the 1940s government buildings and schools throughout the province continued to emulate his early half-timbered commissions. This historic place is a particularly well executed example.
There is cultural value in the identity of the original owners of the historic place. Gertrude Rithet, the daughter of Robert Patterson Rithet, Mayor, Member of the Legislative Assembly, and one of Victoria's most successful businessmen, married Lawrence Genge, then Treasurer of her father's company. This house was constructed for them - as a wedding present - on land just down the road from that of her parents. Lawrence later became the President of the family firm, thus becoming one of the City's business and social leaders.
There is also historical value in the rescue of this building from demolition. Through the efforts of local heritage preservationists, the building was saved and acquired by a sympathetic owner. Within two years, he had painstakingly restored the mansion to a Bed and Breakfast Inn, named the Beaconsfield Inn after a posh London hotel. The name further solidifies the 'Englishness' of both the building and its style. The building stands today as a landmark to the perseverance of the heritage movement.
Sources: City of Victoria Planning Department
The heritage character of the Beaconsfield Inn is defined by the following elements:
- characteristics of the Edwardian Tudor Revival Style, including Boston hipped roof, large porch with columns and balcony above, high-contrast half-timbering used as cladding and applied to gable ends, wood siding, wood shingles, flared brick chimneys, windows in groups of three or more, with stained glass and leaded lights, and upper dormers
- stone wall on Humboldt and Vancouver Streets
- corner location
- setback from street on both Humboldt and Vancouver Streets
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection