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James House

12 Queen Street, Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, B0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/12/29

Rear Perspective, James House, Bridgetown, 2005; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture  and Heritage, 2005
Rear Perspective
Side Perspective, James House, Bridgetown, 2005; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005
Side Perspective
Front Elevation, James House, Bridgetown, 2005; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)

James House
Elms Tea Room
James House Museum

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1835/01/01 to 1836/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/05/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

James House is a two and a half storey, five bay façade, Neo-classical style house with Regency style elements. The house was built in 1835 and is located on a main street in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. Both the building and its surrounding property are included in the designation.

Heritage Value

The James House is valued for its association with Bridgetown merchant Richard James, for its blend of Neo-classical and Regency styles, and as a landmark on one of Bridgetown's main streets.

James House is valued for its association with merchant Richard James. Born in England, Richard James moved his wife and eight children to Bridgetown, NS in 1834, and had James House built a year later. Prior to his arrival in Nova Scotia, James was a merchant, had a brief military career, and was involved in establishing the Benevolent Orphans’ Society in India, an organization sponsored by the British army to shelter war orphans. After coming to Bridgetown, James established a small tobacco and general store on the north side of the ground floor of the James House. He also served as a Justice of the Peace in the late 1840’s. He and his family lived in the other portion of the house.

James House is also valued as an architectural landmark within the Bridgetown area. Built in 1835 the house represents both the Neo-classical and the Regency style. The two and one half storey house is structurally asymmetrical. There are two distinct structural systems for each side of the house, from the basement construction to the two entrances and staircases at the north and the south ends. It is most likely that the house was built in two sections and the Regency style flared eaves and balcony were added with the second section.

The building is now the James House Museum, operated by the Bridgetown and Area Historical Society.

Source: Notice of Registration of Property as a Provincial Heritage Property, Provincial Property Heritage File no. 234.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of James House include:

- asymmetrical structural plan;
- clapboard exterior;
- large first floor bay windows;
- rubble stone foundation;
- all Neo-classical elements, including two and a half storey and five bay façade;
- all Regency style elements, including second storey covered gallery with balcony; five storm doors, each with six panes of glass, on the doors of the covered gallery; medium pitched gable roof with flare bellcast eaves of the front roof slope.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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