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Grenfell Cottage Registered Heritage Structure

Battle Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/11/07

View of main and side facades. Photo taken 2008.; HFNL 2008
Grenfell Cottage, Battle Hr., Labrador
View of Grenfell Cottage within its setting. Photo taken before restoration of building.; HFNL 2008
Grenfell Cottage, Battle Hr., Labrador
View of side facade. Photo taken 2008; HFNL 2008
Grenfell Cottage, Battle Hr., Labrador

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Grenfell Cottage is an early twentieth-century English Cottage with a steep gable roof and a central peak. This building has a variety of uncommon decorative elements that make it stand out in the community of Battle Harbour, Labrador. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Grenfell Cottage has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure for its historic and aesthetic values.

Grenfell Cottage is associated with Sir Wilfred Grenfell. Grenfell was a noted medical missionary and philanthropist who came to Newfoundland in 1892 as a part of the National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen to investigate the living conditions associated with the Labrador fishery. The appalling levels of poverty endured by the fishermen and local population shocked him, particularly because there were no medical resources in the area. The following year he returned with a team of two doctors and two nurses. It was the beginning of Grenfell's lifetime of service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. With the assistance of the Newfoundland government, he established the first hospital on the Labrador Coast at Battle Harbour. The Grenfell Cottage was constructed for the doctors, nurses and hospital staff. The cottage eventually was used by the managers of the Baine, Johnston and Co. Ltd. until it was abandoned when those managers moved to the RCMP detachment.

Grenfell Cottage is aesthetically valued as a wonderful example of an English pre-fabricated house kit. Shipped to Battle Harbour partially assembled, this building stands alone in style in the community. A steep gable roof with finials is punctuated by two central peaks on the main and rear facades. A large chimney rises from the center of the roof. Arched, 6/1 wooden windows are set inside rectangular frames and they are set off by narrow and wide mouldings and sills. The wood-shingled roof ends in a wide moulding with a cornice, while the gable ends are ornately decorated with curved bargeboard. A dormer in the central peak is accentuated by a long, three-paned window and curved bargeboard.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Grenfell Cottage is the sunroom, located on the main facade, and through which the main entrance is accessed. The use of a sunroom, or conservatory, along the front facade, though unique to outport architecture at the time, was not unique for early hospital construction. Since this house was associated with medicine and improved well-being the sunroom reflects Grenfell’s attitudes. Exposure to sunshine was thought to have healing qualities. Battle Harbour is located on the coast of Labrador, in the Labrador Sea (North Atlantic Ocean). The extreme weather often associated with this locality shows another purpose of the sunroom; to glean as much sunshine throughout the year as possible.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Minutes #62

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which characterize the English Cottage architecture, including:
-wooden construction;
-narrow wood clapboard;
-arched wooden windows set in rectangular boxes;
-multi-paned wooden windows;
-main facade sunroom;
-finials on roof peaks;
-single peak on main and rear facades;
-steep pitch gable roof sheathed in wooden shingles;
-ornate bargeboard in gables;
-wide and narrow mouldings;
-wide mouldings on eaves with cornice; and
-central chimney.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Group Residence

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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