Charles and Margaret Draney Residence

4770 54A Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1927
 

This house, which was originally located at 5454 Ladner Trunk Road, was another one of the most historically significant houses in Delta Manor.

Status: Still Standing

Draney Residence - 2020
click photo for more pictures
The style of house is typical of the late 1920s, this one being built in 1927. It is called English cottage style and can be identified by several distinctive features: the clipped or cut-off gable ends, combined sometimes with rounded roof lines reminiscent of English thatched roofs.

The Draneys, Charles and Margaret, were not typical Delta Manor residents, but they were certainly centrally located in this project. Margaret Draney was described as the "mother hen" of the Manor, involved in everything and no doubt aware of everything that went on.

Having the right connections didn't hurt either. How the Draneys came to be participants Delta Manor can only be guessed at, but it most likely involved Leon Ladner. Margaret had considerable clout in the Conservative party, of which Leon Ladner was also a member, being elected to Parliament at one time. Since she was sufficiently well-connected to be accepted immediately into established Ladner society, Margaret may have been intended as a walking advertisement for the project's success or a magnet to attract new investors in the Manor. If so, the plan was a failure. The Draneys were no more successful at chicken farming than anyone else. In fact, only a few years into the project they were renting out their house and acreage while they made their home across the Fraser River where Charles had obtained a position at the rice mill at Woodward's Landing.

Ethel Berry Mowat lived in the Draney house with her family in the early 1930s and she reported in her memoirs it was "the coldest house I have ever lived in... it was a mere shell and only in summer." If we take this to be typical of the houses that were built in Delta Manor in 1927 and 1928, it does not speak well for the builders. Duncan Gilchrist, the legendary Ladner builder, put up some of the homes here and the newspaper of the time reported with amazement the speed at which construction was being completed. If anyone had known how many of those would go up in smoke in the following decade, and many did, the newspaper might have been more restrained in its accolades.

Although it is still referred to as the Draney house, there have been several owners. One of the longer-lasting families was the Montizamberts who arrived in 1938 and for whom this was the family home for over 30 years. "Monty" Montizambert was a colourful individual who had pursued many careers before taking up real estate and insurance in Ladner.