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Ridley Office

Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/04/27

View of front facade of Ridley Office, Harbour Grace, NL. ; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2005
Ridley Office (Point of Beach, Harbour Grace, NL)
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Ridley Office is a two storey stone building with a gable slate roof. Built in 1838, it is located in Harbour Grace, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Ridley Office is designated because of its aesthetic value and historical associations.

The building has aesthetic value as it is a rare example of early nineteenth century stone craftsmanship in Newfoundland and Labrador. Constructed in 1838, its walls are two feet thick and consist of inner and outer stone layers with a rubble fill. The inset windows are trimmed with brick and the structure is topped with a slate roof. It is one of the few remaining stone buildings in the Harbour Grace area and one of the few on the waterfront to have survived the disastrous fire of 1844.

The Ridley Office has historical value because of its association with Newfoundland’s mercantile history. The building served as the business premises of one of Harbour Grace's best-known, and most notorious, merchants. From 1820 to 1870 Thomas Ridley was one of the most important fishing/sealing merchants in Newfoundland. Known for his stubbornness, he faced opposition in the community because of his business practices. He encountered similar difficulties during attempts to become elected to the House of Assembly in 1836 and 1840. Eventually he was elected in the district and served on the Executive Council from 1843 until 1848.

Because of their wealth and power, the Ridley family were involved with several "firsts" in Harbour Grace. In 1854 Thomas was the first to use gas lighting and in 1866 he was the first to use a steamship in the annual seal hunt. Thomas Ridley's son, William, was one of the founders of the Harbour Grace Water Company, the Harbour Grace Railway and the local grammar school.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property designation file, Harbour Grace - Ridley Office

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's 19th century stone design including:
-stone walls;
-gable roof;
-purple slate roof shingles;
-number of storeys;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-exterior brick trim on windows and doors;
-main entrance on front facade;
-transom window above main entrance;
-chimney style and placement; and,
-dimension, location and orientation of building.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 1 Springdale Street St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

Harbour Grace Registered Heritage District

Harbour Grace Registered Heritage District

The Harbour Grace Registered Heritage District stretches from Point of Beach to the Roman Catholic Cathedral, along Water Street and surrounding areas and within the Town of…


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