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Niger Reef Tea House

1 Joes Point Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, E5B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/30

This photograph shows the front façade of the building, 2007; Town of St. Andrews
Niger Reef Tea House - Front Façade
This photograph shows the side that looks over St. Andrews Harbour, 2007; Town of St. Andrews
Niger Reef Tea House - Rear view
This photograph shows part of the mural painted by Lucille Douglas, 2007; Town of St. Andrews
Niger Reef Tea House - Murals

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1926/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/08/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Niger Reef Tea House is a small one-storey log cabin located on the shore of St. Andrews Harbour.

Heritage Value

Niger Reef Tea House is designated a Local Historic Place through its association with the Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) and the building’s benefactor, Mrs. Florence Ayscough and for its architecture.

Florence Ayscough, well known author and authority for Chinese customs, leased this property in order to construct a Chapter House for the Passamaquoddy Chapter of the IODE. The IODE is a Canadian women's charitable organization founded in 1900 during the Second Boer War in patriotic support of the British Empire. Mrs. Ayscough took a personal interest in the construction of this building and on June 24th 1926 she presented the Chapter House to Mrs. W. F. Todd, president of the provincial chapter of New Brunswick IODE and wife of the Lieutenant Governor. The building was operated as a tea room by the members during the summer season and served as a meeting place during the milder months of the year. Proceeds of the tearoom went towards scholarships, bursaries, book prizes, and awards, as well as pursuing other philanthropic and educational ends. The tea house was a popular spot for many of St. Andrews’ wealthy summer residents and catered to private parties, afternoon bridge clubs and other leisurely activities. During WWll, it became a work room for the many programs that were undertaken during the war efforts.

Niger Reef Teahouse is also recognized for its simple architecture and serene setting for the leisure of locals and visitors. The 1920's were a decade in which entertainment, travel, and leisure were readily sought after and the tea house represents this leisurely period. Built in 1926, this log cabin with unpeeled logs and rustic waterside deck stands near the old St. Andrews Blockhouse, erected as a fortification during the War of 1812. The building's simple one-storey massing and use of natural materials exemplify rustic architecture from an earlier era.

A significant characteristic of this property rests in the interior and heritage value is exemplified through murals painted by Lucille Douglas. Exquisite paintings on the wall were painted by Lucille Douglas, a popular painter and friend of Florence Ayscough. Florence Ayscough was an expert on Chinese customs and wrote many books about China and her books were illustrated by Lucille Douglas. Like her books, Miss Douglas illustrated Mrs. Ayscough’s tea room. The collection of murals Lucille Douglas painted in this building were treescapes and rocky landscapes appropriate to the Atlantic Coast, but they were influenced by her experiences in the Orient. She created them in the style of Chinese panels with strips of wood laths separating and dividing the panels. There are 4 murals, one on each wall. Miss Douglas had used water-based paint on beaverboard about a centimetre thick.

Source: St. Andrews Civic Trust - Charlotte County Archives, St. Andrews. NB

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe Niger Reef Tea House include:
- interior and exterior with strong personal associations with Florence Ayscough and Lucille Douglas and their experiences in the Orient;
- rectangular one-storey massing;
- construction of unpeeled logs;
- rustic waterside deck;
- location bounding on the National Historic Site of the St. Andrews and facing the historic Niger Reef;
- mural collection including treescapes and rocky landscapes resembling the Atlantic Coast but influenced by her experiences in the Orient;
- style of Chinese panels with strips of wood laths separating and dividing the panels.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Community Planning Act

Recognition Type

Local Register

Recognition Date

2007/04/30

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Building Social and Community Life
Social Movements
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment

Historic

Leisure
Tourist Facility
Community
Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Charlotte County Archives, 123 Frederick Street, St. Andrews, NB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1370

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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