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William Godley House

205 Cumberland Street, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, B0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/01/08

William Godley House, Old Town Lunenburg, Cumberland Street elevation, 2004; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture & Heritage, 2004
Cumberland Street elevation
William Godley House, Old Town Lunenburg, Kempt Street elevation, 2004; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture & Heritage, 2004
Kempt Street elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/12/21

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The William Godley House, built in 1880, sits high on a steep slope, at the intersection of Cumberland and Kempt Streets in the Old Town Heritage Conservation District of Lunenburg, NS. It is a two-storey wooden house, with typical Lunenburg Vernacular features such as bay and dormer windows and a steeply pitched roof. Its wide veranda, walkways and bays make it open to both of the streets it borders. Designation includes the building and the surrounding property.

Heritage Value

The William Godley House is valued as an example of late nineteenth century Lunenburg architecture and as a key part of the surrounding streetscape. The house was built and first owned by local builder William Godley in 1880, and has had few exterior changes since that time.

Built on a sloping corner lot, the house has many interesting features that are typical of Lunenburg homes of the late nineteenth century, such as a front dormer with a bell cast roof and heavy bracketing under the eaves. The house sits fairly high on the slope of Cumberland Street, making it a prominent part of the streetscape and a point of interest for tourists and locals.

Source: Heritage Designation File 66400-40-39, Town of Lunenburg.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the William Godley House relating to its nineteenth century architecture include:

- location of the house on a corner lot, high on a hill, with detailed features on both street fronts;
- two south-facing projecting bays on the Cumberland Street façade, one of which includes the main entrance door;
- an extended dormer on the Kempt Street side, with a bell cast roof and projecting window bay;
- bracketing, eaves returns and cornerboards, adding to the building's sense of height;
- later additions on the sides and rear that are compatible with the original design;
- one east-facing projecting bay, originally matched by a second one placed symmetrically on the same façade, where a small octagonal window is now placed;
- detailed ornamentation on the window lintels, surrounds and bays;
- small triangular hooded attic window on the south side gable end.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



William Godley

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

W. Plaskett, "Lunenburg: An Inventory of Historic Buildings" (Lunenburg: Lighthouse Press, 1984)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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