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The Bell House

21, Oxford Street, City of Guelph, Ontario, N1H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/01/19

This image displays the windows and bracketed eaves found on the two-storey tower.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
21 Oxford Street Façade (Northwest view), 2007
This image offers a view of the picturesque veranda, as well as the 19th-Century cast-iron steps.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
21 Oxford Street Façade, 2007
The low-hip roofline, characteristic of Italianate architecture, is portrayed in this image.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
21 Oxford Street – North Façade, 2007

Other Name(s)

The Bell House
21 Oxford Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/07/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bell House is located at 21 Oxford Street, on the north side of the road, between Dublin Street North and Norfolk Street, in the City of Guelph. This two-storey yellow brick building was designed in the Italianate Tuscan Villa style, by architect Victor Stewart and was constructed in 1875.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, for its historic and architectural significance, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act through By-law (1987)-12376.

Heritage Value

The Bell House was originally built for William Bell of the Bell Organ Company. The house was designed by architect Victor Stewart, who was also responsible for the design of the nearby Wellington Hotel, located at 147-159 Wyndham Street. The mason, David Kennedy and the plasterer, William Day not only applied their fine skills to the Bell House, but they also contributed to the high quality of craftsmanship found in many of the stone buildings within the area. In 1927 the property was bought by Senator Robert Gladstone, whose family lived there until 1983.

This handsome yellow brick structure is a fine example of the Tuscan Villa style. The Bell House boasts a picturesque tower with Italianate windows, wide overhanging eaves and elaborately carved roof brackets. The main portion of the house features an attractive entrance and veranda with several bay windows. In addition, an elegant set of 19th century cast-iron carriage steps lead up to the front entrance.

Sources: City of Guelph By-law 1987-12376; Designated Buildings and Structures of Architectural and Historic Interest, in the City of Guelph 1977-1994.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of The Bell House include its:
- original portion of the present structure
- front entrance, veranda and 19th century cast-iron carriage steps
- two-storey tower and the windows on the front and east side
- one-storey solarium
- various roof forms




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1987/01/01 to 1987/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Victor Stewart


David Kennedy

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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