Description of Historic Place
The Elsie Perrin Williams Estate is located at 101 Windermere Road and is situated on the south side of Windermere Road, west of Western Road, within the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, in the City of London. The property consists of a two-storey stucco residence that was constructed in circa 1915, a gate house, that was constructed in circa 1895 and forested parkland.
The property was designated, by the City of London, in 1985, for its architectural or historical value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act By-law L.S.P.-2834(a)-312.
The large, naturalized grounds surrounding the two distinguished buildings of the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate, reflect the previous owners' wealth and prominence, in the City of London.
The Elsie Perrin Williams Estate is one of the few surviving estates built by wealthy Londoners in the 19th and 20th centuries. Over the years, the estate was under the ownership of many prominent Londoners, including the Middlesex County sheriff and founder and president of the Agricultural Savings and Loan Company, William Glass. The estate was sold to Daniel Simmons Perrin in circa 1893. The well-respected Perrin family owned a very well-known and successful biscuit bakery in London, D.S. Perrin Biscuit Bakery, and used the estate as a summer house. On Elsie Perrin's marriage to Dr. Hadley Williams, in 1903, her father gave “Windermere” to them as a wedding present. The previous house was torn down and replaced by the existing structure. On her death, in 1934, Elsie Perrin William, willed the estate to the City of London, to be preserved as a public park. The house served as the residence of Harriet Corbett, Mrs. Williams' servant until her death, in 1979. Dr. and Mrs. Williams are buried in a family plot on the estate grounds.
The Elsie Perrin Williams Estate consists of two buildings, both of which are of architectural and historical significance: the gate house and the main house. The Victorian Style gate house was designed as a summer house by Elsie Perrin Williams, in 1895, when she was 15 years of age. It was later converted into a residence for the groundskeeper.
The 1916 main house is a unique example of Spanish Renaissance Revival architecture, in the City of London. Based on Elsie Perrin Williams' original sketches, which were influenced by her frequent trips to California and Florida, John Moore, known for his red-clay roof houses, designed the house to replace the existing residence on the estate. Typical of this architectural style, the main house features traditional red clay-roof tiles, stucco walls, wrought iron balconies and beamed ceilings. The 1924 addition of the Great Hall, to the rear of the house, the kitchen extension and the breezeway to the garage, are also believed to have been designed by Moore.
Sources: City of London, By-law L.S.P.-2834(a)-312; and
City of London, Letter from City Clerk October 8, 1985.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate include its:
- siting of the main house and its relationship between the gate house
- siting on a large naturalized landscape with pathways
- location on the south side of Windermere Road within the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, in the City of London
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate include the main house and its:
- symmetrical and balanced design of the façade and south elevation
- stucco wall construction
- red clay roof tiles
- wrought iron balconies
- beamed ceilings in the main rooms
- greenwood trim
- glazed tile fireplaces
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate include the gate house and its:
- bell-cast cross gable roof
- imitation half-timbering
- cornice frieze on three elevations
- projecting front gable supported by two large turned posts with ornamental shingle brackets
- exterior wall sheathing in headed tongue and groove boards