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Yellow Belly Corner Registered Heritage Structure

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/04/28

Exterior photo of Yellow Belly Corner, shown during restoration work, photo circa 2005.; HFNL 2006
Yellow Belly Corner, St. John's, NL
Exterior sketch of Yellow Belly Corner. The building served two purposes for its owner. It had a shop on the ground floor and a place of residence above for the shop keeper. ; Drawing by Jean Ball ca. 1974. Reproduced by permission of the Newfoundland Historic Trust, 1974.
Yellow Belly Corner, St. John's, NL
Detail of a historic photo of Water Street, St. John's, showing Yellow Belly Corner at the right of the photo, the last building in the row. Date unknown.; City of St. John's Archives photo number 04-21-014, copyright 2006.
Historic photo of Yellow Belly Corner

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/05/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Yellow Belly Corner is a three-and-a-half storey brick and masonry commercial building with a mid-pitch gable roof, located on the corner of Water Street, Beck's Cove and George Street in the Water Street National Historic District, St. John's, Newfoundland. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Yellow Belly Corner has been designated as a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its historical, aesthetic and cultural values.

The building is significant because it is a fine representation of mercantile buildings constructed after the fire of 1846. It is one of a small number of such buildings that survived the Great St. John's Fire of 1892. This building is historically important for its long historical association with commercial activities in St. John's. It was originally constructed as commercial premises on the first floor, with the upper floors serving as private dwellings.

Aesthetically Yellow Belly Corner reflects nineteenth century British commercial vernacular design, with typical 3 1/2 storeys, medium pitch side gable roof, and rectangular window openings. The weathered stone masonry and brick facade give an impression of solidity while its human scale is inviting.

Yellow Belly Corner has great commercial and cultural value to the community and to Newfoundland and Labrador, as it is associated with the commercial development of the province, and as it was well known as a meeting place for various nineteenth century Irish county factions. According to popular local folklore and oral history, the name "Yellow Belly Corner" was given after the colour of sashes worn by the "Yellowbellies" from County Wexford. The Yellowbellies were one of the various Irish factions, including the "Wheybellies" from County Waterford, the "Clear-Airs" from County Tipperary, the "Doones" from County Kilkenny, and the "Dadyeens" from County Cork, who would meet and fight on this site, Newfoundland's contemporary equivalent of the Gangs of New York.

Yellow Belly Corner is the cornerstone of the Water Street National Historic District. This district is of great national significance as no other mid-19th century ranges of commercial buildings in the provincial capitals or major urban centres are known to exist.

Source: HFNL, unnumbered property file, St. John's - Yellow Belly Corner.

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's mid nineteenth-century commercial design including:
- coursed rubble masonry and red brick voussoirs and window surrounds on the Beck's Cove gable end;
- classically inspired doorway framed with a stone pediment and pilasters on the Beck's Cove gable end;
- location of a slight Scotch gable on the Beck's Cove gable end;
- red brick facade, sandstone lintels and sandstone window sills on the Water Street facade;
- original uniform window openings throughout;
- the line of the original mid pitch gable roof, with end brick and masonry chimneys;
- original location, dimensions, and height of the building;
- Water Street side traditional, large-windowed storefront, utilizing traditional materials and detailing; and,
- use of traditional building materials throughout the 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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

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

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

Yellow Belly Corner,St. John

Yellow Belly Corner Municipal Heritage Building

Yellow Belly Corner is a three-and-a-half storey brick and masonry commercial building with a mid pitch gable roof, located on the corner of Water Street, Beck's Cove and George…


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