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Commissariat House

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

Formally Recognized: 1974/08/13

Commissariat House, St. John's, NL, south facade, 1975.; Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Commissariat House, St. John's
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1818/01/01 to 1820/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/06/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Commissariat House Provincial Historic Site is a nineteenth century Georgian building constructed by the British Military Engineers to house both the office and residence of the Assistant Commissariat General. The designation includes the house, a reconstructed stable and the surrounding grounds. The house is situated within its original cultural landscape and stands at the center of the property.

Heritage Value

The Commissariat House is one of the oldest wooden buildings still standing in Newfoundland and Labrador and is one of the best surviving examples of nineteenth century Georgian architecture in the province. Built by the Royal Engineers between 1818 and 1820, and located in an area once referred to as the “barrens”, the house reflects the simple design and layout of the late Georgian style and the functional conservative ideas of the British Army; it is one of the few surviving buildings which formed part of a larger eighteenth and nineteenth century military infrastructure in St. John’s. It is an excellent example of an early nineteenth century upper class St. John’s residence and for a short while served as a hospital. For almost one hundred years it served as rectory for nearby St. Thomas' Church serving as a focal point in the private and public lives of generations of citizens of St. John’s until 1969.

Source: Listed in the Newfoundland Gazette and officially recognized as a Provincial Historic Site on August 13, 1974

Character-Defining Elements

All those environmental elements that suggest the early nineteenth century land layout, including:
-the site in its original defined boundaries from 1818-1820; and
-the surrounding grounds and trees which border the property.

All those original exterior features of the house that represent late Georgian architecture, including:
-exterior cellar entrance;
-rubble stone foundation wall, with a veneer of yellow brick and capped with red slate water table;
-hipped roof with wooden shingles and 2 chimneys;
-two-storey porch on south end and one-story porch on north end with lead-covered elliptical roof;
-6-bay structure with additional door on east end and 4 dormers on the north and south ends of the house;
-brick nogging of exterior walls enveloped by wood clapboard; and
-6/6 sashes with fixed upper part on all 30 windows on the first and second floors with sash cord pulleys and weights. 3/6 sashes in the dormers.

All those interior elements of the late Georgian period house that suggest upper class wealth, and those which indicate the use of the house as both a residence and commercial property, including:
-typical Georgian central layout with servants staircase from kitchen to 2nd and 3rd floors;
-lath and plaster wood walls with plaster outer coating;
-fan light over south side door way and fan light and side light of interior door on south side of house;
-floor and paneled closet in dining room;
-interior cellar hatches;
-brick/plaster wall separating the main office from the rest of the house;
-the military chest with original brick floor and plaster walls;
-interior shutters; and
-all plaster cornices.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Office or office building

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Culture and Heritage Division, Historic Sites Unit, Confederation Building, St. John's, NL

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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