Description of Historic Place
The William Richards carriage barn is a large, wood framed, single gabled building. Clad with wood shingles, several rows with elaborate patterns, the building also has two ornate dormers.
The William Richards carriage barn is valued for its association with the shipbuilding history of Prince Edward Island, its elaborate architecture and its association with the William Richards family. In 1854 William Richards had taken over the Bideford Shipyard, which was founded by William Ellis. In 1864, Richards had a house and carriage barn constructed where he would live with his wife, Susannah (Yeo), and their three children, James, John and Isabel.
Richards was a prolific and innovative shipbuilder, adapting his vessels to new trends, and exporting large amounts of produce to Europe. From 1866 to 1892, Richards had 94 vessels built on P.E.I, 40 of which were built at the Bideford Shipyard.
Richards was a Conservative politician in the 1870s, promoting the building and use of the Island Railway, while maintaining his shipbuilding success. For many years, he was the Island's largest exporter of oats to Great Britain and Europe, shipping almost all of the cargo in his own vessels. Richards was also president and part owner of the Charlottetown Steam Navigation Company.
James Williams, the eldest son of William and Susannah, entered business with his father after studying at St. Dunstan's College in Charlottetown and in St. John, New Brunswick. James was also very prominent in local politics, serving for 33 years in the PEI legislature and in Ottawa at the House of Commons.
John Richards, William's second son was also a part of the shipbuilding industry with his father and brother, and took special interest in agriculture. John resided in the family home during his time as a politician, and in 1914 he was the leader of the PEI Liberal party. After his death in 1917, the estate was sold outside the Richards family.
While owned by the Richards family, the carriage barn was the site of many picnics and community gatherings. The barn was also able to stable multiple horses. The barn has survived largely unaltered, however sometime between 1980 and 2000 the roof was replaced with asphalt shingles, and one of the four over four windows was replaced.
The William Richards Carriage Barn continues to be an important component in the landscape of Ellerslie-Bideford.
Source: Heritage Places records, PEI Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture, Charlottetown, PEI
File #: 4310-20/W8
The heritage value of the barn is shown in the following heritage character-defining elements:
- the overall massing of the carriage house
- the two dormers with round headed, hood moulded windows and ornamental medallions
- the wood shingle cladding with rows of decorative cut shingles
- the original doors and windows
- the wood framing
- the four-over-four paned windows