Description of Historic Place
294 Richmond Street is a three storey brick building originally constructed as a private residence. It features a flat roof with a unique bowed facade. The windows have stone lintels and sills. Located on the corner of Richmond and Weymouth Streets, it is in an area with a high concentration of heritage properties and overlooks Hillsborough Square. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 294 Richmond Street lies in its unique architectural style which exhibits some Georgian influences; its association with Edward Jarvis Hodgson (1840-1911); and its role in supporting the streetscape.
The building shows elements of a Georgian influenced urban house with its facade of symmetrical projecting bays - stacked three storeys high. The ornamentation is subdued, limited to some dentil decoration.
Lawyer, Edward Jarvis Hodgson had the home at 294 Richmond Street built just before 1867. His father, Daniel Hodgson had owned the property for many years, which was just across the street from his own home. Edward Hodgson named the home at 294 Richmond Street Hillsborough House, the same name that family friend, Judge John Barrow had christened his home on the corner of Dorchester and Hillsborough Streets.
In 1892, Hodgson, who was now a Judge of the Supreme Court and Master of the Rolls, added a new wing to the east side of his home. He hired prominent architect, William Critchlow Harris to design it and the talented, Lowe Bros. to build what would become his private library. In his will, because he had been the second chancellor of King's College from 1897-1911, Hodgson directed that the Kings College Library of Windsor, Nova Scotia would receive the contents of his library. It appears that he wanted certain works of fiction to be weeded from his collection because they were "unfitting to be placed in a college library." Works by Charles Dickens were cited as an example of such books!
Hillsborough House has had an interesting history, which included an unofficial visit by Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and Lady Macdonald in 1890. The Macdonalds' held a well-attended reception at the home. During their visit, the Caledonian Club assembled at 294 Richmond Street to present an address. Many prominent residents of Charlottetown visited the Macdonalds' including Charlottetown City Council, the Lieutenant Governor, and Member of Parliament, William Welsh.
After Judge Hodgson died in 1911, William Snodgrass Stewart (1855-1938), County Court Judge, Provincial Politician and Mayor of Charlottetown, became the owner of the home. At the time of its sale, 294 Richmond Street was described as containing a drawing room, morning room, kitchen, pantry and ten bedrooms, in addition to the large library finished in walnut and oak. In August of 1938, it was advertised for sale as the home of the late Judge Stewart. Mention was made of the large library used by the late Judge Hodgson as a student lecture room. Unfortunately, the home did not sell and was auctioned off in October of that year. The 26 October 1939 edition of the Guardian newspaper, reported that the quarters of the No. 6 District Signals were located in the former residence.
In 1947, newspapers reported that a fire had damaged the building which was then owned by E.S. Blanchard and had been divided into three apartments. Hillsborough House remains an apartment building to this day. A well maintained home, with a rich history, it helps maintain the heritage character of the area. Located among a number of late 19th Century homes overlooking the Hillsborough Square, it supports the Richmond and Weymouth Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 294 Richmond Street:
- The overall irregular massing of the building
- The three storeys
- The flat roof
- The brick exterior with three stacked projecting bay windows of the west side of the home
- The stone lintels and sills
- The symmetrical Weymouth Street facade
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the symmetrically placed two over two sash windows, the bay window of the north side of the home and the windows of the library and porches
- The dentil decoration
- The size and placement of the doors, particularly the Richmond Street door with its transom and sidelights
- The size, shape, placement and brick exterior of the former library addition
- The two storey wooden porches
- The size and placement of the chimneys
- The location of the building on the corner of Hillsborough and Richmond Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape