Robert Thomson Residence
2 Mecklenburg Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Robert Thomson Residence is a two-storey, brick, Queen Anne Revival home with and off-centre entrance and a round tower with a conical roof. It is located on Mecklenburg Street in the Trinity Royal Heritage Preservation Area of Saint John.
The Robert Thomson Residence is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with its former occupants.
Built in 1890, the Robert Thomson Residence is recognized for its elaborate architecture and for being among the fine residences that surround Queen Square. The streets that surround Queen Square boast some of the finest residences in Saint John. The Robert Thomson Residence is a good example of brick Queen Anne Revival resdiential architecture from this era in Saint John.
Heritage value is also recognized though its association with Robert Thomson. Robert was born in 1842, the son of William Thomson, founder of the firm of William Thomson & Company, well-known ship owners and agents of Saint John. William started the business as a ship broker. In 1862, Robert entered his father's office while acting as the Imperial German Consul. In 1870 he was admitted into partnership with his father. By 1882 his father had retired and Robert, along with his brother, John, took over the management of the firm and the business grew to even greater successes. This firm had built 14 ships and barques, three steel ships, nine steel ocean steamers, and their vessels were in ports all over the world. They were agents for the Allen Steamship Line, the North German Lloyd, the Hamburg-American, the Head Line, and the Furness Line. After the turn of the 20th century, trade conditions were not as favorable and they began selling some of their steamers to concentrate more on brokerage insurance. Robert was the popular commodore of the Royal Kennebicasis Yacht Club for many years and much of its success was due to his patronage and support. Robert Thomson was more widely known through his business connections than perhaps any other man in Saint John, and the firm became the most successful and best known of all Maritime Province shipping firms. He filled a prominent place in the commercial and social life of Saint John. His enterprise and that of his firm gave the city worldwide prominence. Robert died at this residence in 1914. Robert's daughter, Mabel G., was inducted into the New Brunswick Sport's Hall of Fame as a golfer. Mabel was a champion golfer at many golf competitions throughout Canada.
Source: Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John
The character defining elements that describe the Robert Thomson Residence include:
- asymmetrical two-storey massing;
- brick exterior walls;
- round tower with conical roof and detailed frieze;
- detailed brickwork in the pilasters and the frieze of the entrance;
- detailed brick lintels over 2/2 vertical sliding wooden windows of the tower;
- continuous moulded brick sills on the second storey;
- windows of different styles and sizes on the Mecklenburg façade;
- most window openings are segmented arch;
- brick foundation.
Local Governments (NB)
Local Historic Places Program
Municipal Register of Local Historic Places
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John
Cross-Reference to Collection