Description of Historic Place
Built circa 1860, the Britt Residence is a wooden one-and-a-half storey, Maritime Gothic residence with a side-gabled roof, a centrally-located cross-gable and entrance in a three-bay front façade. It is located on Princess Royal Street in the Town of St. Andrews.
The Britt Residence is designated as a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with the Britt family and for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in the Town of St. Andrews.
The Britt Residence is recognized as a good example of Maritime Gothic residential architecture. This style is characterized by the centrally-located cross-gable. The property has a three-bay front façade with a central entry. This residence, like many Maritime Gothic buildings from this era, contains some Classic Revival influences, such as the large eave returns, wide corner boards and frieze band.
The Britt Residence is also recognized for its association with the Britt family, the first family to occupy the home. Capt. Patrick Britt had this home built circa 1860. Capt. Britt is associated with a local shipwreck that occurred off the coast of Deer Island, Maine. He and a crew of six men, including his 16-year-old-son, Thomas, loaded the “Riverside” with turnips en route to Boston. The ice was heavy and the winds threatened to capsize the ship into the icy waters. In an attempt to run the schooner ashore, they hit a ledge. Lowering the life boat, they struggled unsuccessfully to reach shore and opted to stay in the lea of the ship. Captain Britt reported to the press that his crying son, broken hearted that he would never see his mother again, spotted the rescue ship. When they were discovered, the crew was nearly half frozen. Capt. Patrick Britt passed away intestate in 1903 and this property remained with his children. Capt. Thomas Britt, born in 1869, continued to sail with his father and later became a captain of his own ship, sailing to New England ports. In 1917, he retired from sailing ships, moved to Boston and was employed with the Boston Elevated Company, a private company formed to build elevated railway lines to the suburbs of Greater Boston. In 1944, he returned to this home and died in 1952. His sister, Annie Britt, remained at this residence until her death in 1953. Thus, the property was owned by the Britt family nearly 100 years.
The Britt Residence is also recognized for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in St. Andrews. St. Andrews has one of the best collections per capita of heritage buildings in Canada that range from the early thriving loyalist days of the late 1700’s to the Maxwell designed homes of the town’s early tourism era in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. As of 2001 the population of St. Andrews was less than 2,000 inhabitants. Much credit is due to the inhabitants of the town for maintaining this collection and preserving the town’s serene and relaxed atmosphere.
Source: Charlotte County Archives, Old Gaol, St. Andrews, N.B.
The character defining elements of the Britt Residence include:
- rectangular side-gable massing with centrally-located moulded cross-gable;
- window placement and proportion of the openings;
- simple window entablatures;
- three-bay front façade;
- centrally-located entrance with transom and sidelights;
- wide corner boards and frieze band;
- eave returns.