Description of Historic Place
Cluneleigh is a two-storey, wood, Edwardian home with spacious lawn frontage, built in 1911 on Queen Street in St. Andrews.
Cluneleigh is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with past owners Edward and Nan Smith and for its association with highly distinguished marine scientist Alfred Needler.
Cluneleigh was built circa 1911 for Edward Atherton Smith and his wife Nan MacPherson Smith. Edward Atherton Smith was president of the Smith Brokerage Company of Saint John but was best known for his sporting abilities. A year before his passing, he won a golf trophy at St. Andrews and was once president of the St. Andrews Curling Club where he won many trophies and designed the club emblem. He was best known for his shooting ability on the rifle range and traveled to England with the Bisley team for Commonwealth’s highest shooting competition in 1890. He was a captain of the Saint John Rifle Company and later of the 62nd Fusiliers. He held more trophies, medals, and badges for exceptional skill in the use of the rifle on the range than any other citizen of Saint John. Mr. Smith passed away at Cluneleigh in 1925.
Edward’s wife, Nan MacPherson Smith, was one of Canada’s outstanding leaders in women’s activities. She was a leader of patriotic, philanthropic, and cultural projects in New Brunswick. She appeared frequently on lecture platforms and, on numerous occasions, gave the story of the Passion Play. She held offices in the National Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, the National Council of Women, the Canadian Club, and was president of the Women’s Canadian Club of Saint John. Nan Smith was also known for her work during the First World War. She was largely responsible for equipping and sending overseas of a band with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Nan Smith passed away at Cluneleigh in 1940.
Alfred Needler occupied this home from 1941 to 1955 while he was director of the Atlantic Biological Station in St. Andrews. He is in the Atlantic Salmon Federation Hall of Fame and has been described as one of Canada’s most distinguished marine scientists and the best negotiator this country ever had in international fisheries matters. He was Deputy Minister of Fisheries for Canada and chairman of the International Commission for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries during negotiations to save the Atlantic salmon. He was instrumental in establishing research for estimating large migratory marine fish populations from small samples. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The CCGS Alfred Needler, an offshore fishery science vessel operated by the Canadian Coast Guard constructed in 1982, is named in his honour. Mr. Needler sold this home in 1955 to another famed fisheries researcher, John L. Hart, who remained here until his death in 1973.
Architecturally, the home is a good example of Edwardian residential architecture. This style is evident in such details as symmetrical proportions, a central entranceway, a hipped roof and tripartite windows. Two unique aspects of this home are the asymmetrical display of windows on the side facades and the unique decorative band of projecting wooden blocks between the two storeys that extends around three sides of the house.
Source: Charlotte County Archives – Old Gaol, St. Andrews, New-Brunswick – St. Andrews Historic Places File, “Cluneleigh”
The character-defining elements of this Edwardian home include:
- two-storey rectangular massing;
- window placement and proportions;
- shingle cladding;
- wood-framed windows;
- large tripartite windows with multiple muntins;
- central entranceway flanked by fluted pilasters;
- handsome wooden door with glass panel;
- wide stairway on front-facing veranda;
- posts for veranda roof covered by decorative fluted pilasters;
- dormer with sloping roof and dual horizontal openings;
- sloping roof with modillions;
- paneled soffits below roof on underside of roof over-hang;
- tripartite window in upper level with arched head;
- windows flush with frieze;
- asymmetrical display of windows on side façades;
- unique decorative band of projecting wooden blocks extending around the three secondary façades.