Links and documents
1847/01/01 to 1848/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Newman Building is a two and one half storey 19th century Georgian Revival style office building located at 1 Springdale Street, St. John’s. This building is associated with and located next to the Historic Newman Wine Vaults on Water Street. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Newman Building is designated for its historical and architectural values. It is historically valuable for several reasons. The present Newman Building was constructed in 1848, though another Newman premises sat on the site and survived the Great Fire of 1846. The building is associated with the Newman family and their companies and the building is named for them. The Newman family were merchants from Dartmouth who, in the fourteenth century established themselves in the import and export trade, chiefly in cloth and wool though the firm purchased everything from train oil to seal skins and supplied everything from wine to a fire engine.
By 1503 Thomas Newman was importing wines by exchanging fish and salt. Thus began the Newfoundland fish trade relationship with the Newman family. By the seventeenth century, John Newman controlled the whole process of catching and marketing the fish. By the middle of the fifteenth century the Newman family and the fishery were inseparable.
The Newman Building was home to this, one of the oldest England-Newfoundland merchant firms which engaged in trade with the world from this site. In the autumn of 1679, a vessel from Portugal laden with port wine and sailing for London was sighted by French privateers. In the attempt to outrun the pursuers, the vessel was driven off course, damaged by storms, and subsequently put into St. John’s for the winter. In the spring when the ship arrived back in London it was found that the cool dampness of the winter in St. John’s, and the voyages out and back had added very pleasant new dimensions to the wine. Until the late 1990s the Newman’s sent their port to Newfoundland for ageing. The provincially designated wine vaults are located next to the building, on Water Street. The Newman Building was the home and offices of the business and it became the residence of the company agent, Mr. Morry.
The Newman Building is also historically valuable because of its numerous tenants following the Newman Company. It was the home of Lewis Tessier, a partner with his brother, Peter, in the large merchant firm of Tessiers, a fishery supply business in St. John’s. Both brothers became involved in politics, and Lewis represented St. John’s West in the House of Assembly for some years.
The Newman Building was the home of Henry E. Hayward, a local wholesaler and retailer of wines and spirits during the late 19th century. It was a club house for the West End Club at the turn of the twentieth century. It housed the offices of The Plaindealer, a small local newspaper that once printed articles written by William F. Coaker, before he formed the Fisherman’s Protective Union (FPU), and Joey Smallwood, former Premier and the last Father of Confederation. This building was also the home of The Press Club, a local drinking establishment formed in the early 1950s. It was open to all employees of newspapers, magazines, radio and television in public affairs. The Newman Building is currently owned by the provincial government and it houses the offices of the Museums Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Arts Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Newman Building is aesthetically valuable because it is a good example of 19th century vernacular Georgian Revival style. This building has a symmetrical façade, with five bay openings. The windows are 2/2 and have a small sill on the second floor and a heavier shaped trim on the main floor. The main entrance has a classical pediment with small columns supporting it. The steeply pitched gable roof has a single chimney cut through the ridge. Parged in concrete, this building is otherwise devoid of decoration, and stands as a testament to the time and purpose for which it was built.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5V5
All those elements that embody the 19th century vernacular Georgian Revival style, including:
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-chimney cut through the ridge;
-size, style and fenestration of windows
-five bay façade;
-classical pediment with small columns;
-concrete parging; and
-location and proximity to historic Newman Wine Vaults.
Newfoundland and Labrador
City of St. John's
City of St. John's Act
City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection