Description of Historic Place
18 West Street or West End House as it is commonly known, is a wood framed, Georgian inspired building. It features a symmetrical facade with a hipped roof and an oculus window. It was originally located at 2 Kent Street across the street from its current location, but was sold and moved to its current location in the mid 1870s. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of West End House lies in its Georgian influenced architecture; its association with various prominent Charlottetown residents; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Merchant, David Wilson, built West End House in 1839-1840. It was constructed across the street, near the riverbank where Beaconsfield Historic House now stands. Although Wilson owned the building, he rented it to a number of prominent residents such as Hon. William Swabey, Chief Justice Jarvis and Captain Beazeley. Later owners or occupants include Stephen Swabey, Lieutenant Governor and merchant, J.S. Carvell, Mayor Thomas Heath Haviland and shipbuilder and merchant, James Peake. It was Peake who sold the home in order to build his own mansion, Beaconsfield on the West End House's former site. In later years, Professor Samuel Earle's family lived at West End House. Professor Earle was the organist at St. Paul's Church and his family was known locally for their musical talents. Their household was remembered fondly for its music and laughter.
West End House was inspired by the Georgian tradition. The Georgian style is one of the most common architectural styles on Prince Edward Island. It emerged from 18th Century Britain and was intent on expressing confidence, order and balance. The home's Georgian inspired features include a hipped roof, symmetrical massing and simple mouldings. Although the windows and doors have been changed, the home retains its overall proportions.
According to newspaper ads and John Lawson's "Letters of Prince Edward Island" (1851), the property's original features included a flower garden and a pure water spring. The home included a drawing room, a dining room and a study on the first floor, approximately five bedrooms on the second floor as well as servants' rooms, nursery and kitchens.
Although now an apartment house West End House has retained its symmetrical massing. Standing among a number of grand homes, it helps to support the West Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Georgian influenced character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of West End House:
- The overall square massing of the building
- The two storeys
- The hipped roof with a centre gable
- The wood exterior with shutters painted in a contrasting colour
- The symmetrical facade
- The style and placement of the windows, particularly the symmetrically placed second floor sash windows and the oculus window with spokes in the gable
- The size and centre placement of the door with sidelights
- The porch with its centre pediment and columns
- The size and placement of the chimneys
- The location of the building on West Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape