Description of Historic Place
The East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District is located east of downtown London and is bounded by Adelaide Street on the east, Queens Avenue on the south, Maitland Street on the west and Central Avenue on the north, in the City of London. The 154,000m² area consists of over 150, primarily, residential buildings, in a large block of eight parallel and intersecting streets, that were constructed between 1850 and 1950.
The district was designated, by the City of London, in 1993, as a Heritage Conservation District, under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law L.S.P. – 3179-68). A number of properties located within the East Woodfield District were previously designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
The variety of architectural styles and difference in building massing within the East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District create interesting and attractive streetscapes. Though the styles and composition of the buildings differ, a cohesive neighbourhood flow is achieved through attention to detail, quality materials and construction. A high level of care has been taken in the maintenance of the properties. Additionally, the wide and tree-lined streets contribute to the feel of the district.
The East Woodfield area, of the City of London, was originally settled in 1827 by Major Ira Schofield, who built a log house on the untamed land, east of the downtown. Traditionally, the area west of a city was settled by the more prosperous citizens. However, London's west area, then Petersville, was prone to flooding and the land to the east was more desirable. A significant expansion of the East Woodfield area took place in 1840, which is attributed to the arrival of the British Military, to the city. Prior to that, the area consisted solely of the first house erected by Schofield and a dwelling built between 1839 and 1842 by Bishop Benjamin Cronyn called “The Pines”. By 1855, three large mansions dominated the area: “The Pines”, “Lauriston” and “Bleak House”. East Woodfield, anchored by the three prominent mansions, soon became the most desirable neighbourhood in the city.
The East Woodfield area continued to grow and evolve over the course of a century to include a wide diversity of architectural styles. This is reflective of prosperous times, in the City's history, most significantly, the period following the laying of the railway line, from 1853 to 1857, and the oil boom of 1857 to 1880.
The East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District was home to numerous prominent citizens, of the City of London. These citizens include: Benjamin Cronyn, the first Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Huron; Samuel Peters, surveyor of the East Woodfield land, for whom Peter Street is said to be named; Thomas Carling, founder of the Carling Brewery; Richard Ivey, neighbourhood advocate and developer of the Richmond-Central corner, whose family built a home in the area; and Sir Adam Beck, “father” of hydro in Ontario and one time inhabitant.
The East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District displays a diverse and visually-pleasing mix of architectural styles and building massing. The architectural styles of the homes within the district include: Vernacular, built of local materials with regional conventions; Gothic Revival, characterized in Ontario by a centre gable; Italianate, which typically features low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves and square cupolas or towers; High Victorian Gothic, with slate roofs and carved woodwork; Second Empire, which normally exhibits a mansard roof and decorative window and door mouldings; Queen Anne, distinguished by a steeply-pitched irregular roof and a Palladian window; Prairie/Craftsman, typified by deep porches and solid masonry piers; Four Square, which features a simple square or rectangular plan; Tudor Revival, characterized by false half-timbering and stucco infill; and International, which displays flat rooflines and undecorated walls.
Sources: City of London, By-law L.S.P. – 3179-68; City of London, East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District Study: Heritage Assessment Report; City of London, East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District Study: Heritage Conservation District Plan.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of East Woodfield Heritage Conservation District include its:
- variety of architectural styles
- variety in building massing
- attention to detail, quality in construction and materials and care in maintenance
-wide, tree-lined streets with generous setbacks
- siting northeast of downtown London
- location surrounding the historic homes, such as the Pines, Lauriston and Bleak House