614 Seaforth Street
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The McBeath House at 614 Seaforth Street is a one-and-one-half storey Colonial Bungalow-style wood frame house in Victoria West neighbourhood, a block north of the Inner Harbour, across the water and west of the downtown area of the City of Victoria.
The McBeath House, built in 1911, is valued architecturally as a fine example of the Colonial Bungalow style in Victoria, and for its architect, Hoult Horton. It is also valued for its owners, who were early pioneers in Victoria West and whose family lived on this property for almost 90 years. Constructed by its owner, Duncan McBeath, who was prominent in the building trades, it is important as an example of suburban housing built during Victoria's boom years before the First World War.
The McBeath House is a handsome version of the Colonial Bungalow style with both Classical and Arts and Crafts detailing. The strong horizontal lines of the residence are emphasized by details including its verandahs, frieze, wide eaves, and bell-cast roof. The sleeping porches in the front and back dormers reflect health standards of the time. As was common on Edwardian houses in Victoria, the house has several different sidings.
Hoult Horton practised in Victoria from 1911-15, and is important as the first president of the BC Society of Architects in 1912-13, and as the designer, with partner Paul Phipps, of one of Victoria's most outstanding Edwardian commercial buildings, the Belmont Building.
Duncan and Ursula McBeath are important as very early settlers in the Victoria West area. This is the third house they built on the land, and their choice in house styles from their original plain two-storey rural vernacular house to this urban style shows the corresponding transition in life-styles in the neighbourhood. Duncan's trade as foreman for Muirhead and Mann and their company, Victoria Planing Mills, is representative of one of Victoria's major industries in the Inner Harbour.
Sources: City of Victoria Planning & Development Department; Victoria Heritage Foundation
The character-defining elements of the McBeath House include:
- its horizontal Colonial Bungalow lines, including the deep, full-width front verandah, back verandah, side-facing, stepped-balustrade, front staircase, frieze, and wide, low-slung bell-cast roof
- classical details such as tripled round columns and dentil stringcourse
- wide eaves with horizontal paired brackets
- four wide dormers with bellcast hipped roofs on the four roof slopes
- front and back dormers each contain open sleeping porches, with cutwork Arts and Crafts-style balusters and short square supports
- claddings, including bull-nosed, double-bevelled cladding on the foundation level and shingles on the main floor, dormer siding, and verandah and balustrade
- many six-over-one double-hung windows with horns on the upper sash, and unusual six-pane basement windows (three short panes over three long)
- symmetrical façade except for prominent red brick chimney just behind the front dormer to right of centre
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Peopling the Land
- Developing Economies
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Duncan Gillman McBeath
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning & Development Department; Victoria Heritage Foundation
Cross-Reference to Collection