Home / Accueil

Bishop's Palace

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/09/25

Exterior photo of the main facade of Bishop's Palace, St. John's, NL, 2004.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2005
Bishop's Palace, Bonaventure Avenue, St. John's, N
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bishop’s Palace is a three storey stone and concrete building built in the Neo-Classical style of architecture. Commissioned by Archbishop Roche in 1923, the Bishop’s Palace replaced a previous Palace on this site. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Bishop’s Palace is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its architectural, historical and environmental values.

The Bishop’s Palace is architecturally valuable as a noteworthy example of the neoclassical designs of New York architectural firm Delano and Aldrich. The firm of Williams Adams Delano and Chester H. Aldrich are also credited with the design of the King George V Building. This building is constructed with the typical Delano and Aldrich material of stone. In particular, this exterior stone is bluestone quarried at Signal Hill. Moreover, the clarity and simplicity of the design is representative of the firm’s work. The building features many Neo-classical elements such as the portico supported by Doric columns, the pedimented central window and the symmetrical three bay façade on the front and the four bay façade of the other three sides.

The Bishop’s Palace is also architecturally valuable for its association with well known St. John’s architect John E. Hoskins. While the designs of the building were from the firm Delano and Aldrich, the construction was supervised by Hoskins and built by contractors Pidgeon and Murphy.

The Bishop’s Palace is historically valuable as a symbol of the affluence of the Roman Catholic Church during this period. Built adjacent to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the Bishop’s Palace is the second such building on this site. The first building, built in 1856 by Bishop Mullock burned in 1921. The current building was built in 1923, under the direction of Archbishop E.P. Roche. Archbishop Roche played a central role in the social and political history of Newfoundland. Roche was associated with many important events including the opening of St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in 1922 and the Catholic pro-Responsible Government movement in the 1940s. Roche's private opposition to confederation with Canada was based upon his fear that the systems of education found in Canada would be different and would challange Newfoundland denominations' rights in education, which had existed from the 1830s, and he articulated and maintained this same position from 1916 onwards. Nevertheless, the Catholic newspaper, The Monitor’s editorials prompted some confederates to claim that the Church had attempted to influence voters in the confederation referenda of 3 June and 22 July 1948. This building stands as a symbol of one of Archbishop Roche’s many works during his episcopacy.

The Bishop’s Palace is environmentally valuable for its location in St. John’s. The Bishop’s Palace is located in the centre of the city and is one of a larger number of buildings that create a complex of ecclesiastical buildings in this area.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property file: St. John’s-Bishop’s Palace

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's Neo-Classical design, including:
-symmetrical facade;
-use of locally quarried bluestone;
-use of imported freestone for building trim;
-window and door trim;
-Classical portico and details;
-square floorplan;
-eaves brackets;
-window and door openings; and
-orientation, location and dimensions.

All those environmental elements that define the building's purpose and use, including:
-location within a larger complex of Roman Catholic buildings; and
-location within the Ecclesiastical District of St. John's.



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



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

John E. Hoskins


Pidgeon and Murphy

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

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

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places