Arthur and Kathleen Fawcett Residence

5058 47A Avenue
Delta, BC

Built: 1910

The Fawcett Residence is a one-and-one-half storey cross-gabled Edwardian house, centrally located in Ladner village on the south side of 47A Avenue. Part of a group of similar houses, it features a full width front verandah, and is currently used for commercial purposes.

Status: Still Standing

Fawcett Residence - 2008
click photo for more pictures
Known by some as the Holmes house after a later owner. Others refer to it as the Fawcett house, or, more correctly, the first Fawcett house, which is how it will be referred to here, maintaining the tradition of referring to heritage houses by the name of the original owners whenever possible. Assessments records show that this house was built in 1910, or at least begun in 1910 and finally completed in 1911. The monkey puzzle tree, which was a popular novelty tree early in the 1900s, is probably of about the same vintage.

Arthur Thompson Fawcett came to Delta from Ontario in 1895 to enter the employ of Thomas McNeely as a clerk in the general store and remained to work for Marshall Smith, who bought the business from McNeely's estate. He became a partner in Marshall Smith & Co., the predecessor of Lanning, Fawcett, & Wilson Ltd., which was formed in 1909. Until his retirement in 1944, A. T. Fawcett was in charge of the office and the grocery department. The building which housed Lanning, Fawcett, & Wilson, popularly known as "The Big Store", stands on Chisholm Street where it intersects with Delta Street.

Arthur Fawcett was married in September 1907 to Kathleen Hilton, daughter of Canon Hilton, rector of All Saints Anglican Church. Fawcett bought this lot in 1908, the newlyweds living elsewhere until this house was completed. After the family moved to the new larger residence on Artthur Drive, the house was occupied by the AtKey family qho purchased it in 1923.

The Atkeys had become the of the White Store on 48th Avenue around the end of World War I. Later arrivals to Ladner will remember this business as Percy's Department Store, successor to the White Store.

The Atkeys lived here for over twenty years, selling the house in 1946 to a widow, Amelia Holmes, whose husband, William, had farmed on Crescent Island. She lived here with her son, Locke, for the next twenty years. After Mrs. Holmes did in 1966, at the age of 93, Locke, who never did marry, sold the house but survived his mother by only six years.

The Douglas family bought this house in the early 1970s and modernized the plumbing and added to the back of the house. Did these changes rouse ghosts from their plumbers? We may be skeptics but members of the Douglas family experienced many strange sightings and events during the time that they owned the house. Pictures falling off the walls and the appearance of various ghostly figures came to be reported as almost commonplace here.

Perhaps rezoning to comercial use has put the ghosts to rest. The first business to set up shop here was Skagit Industries Ltd., at it remained for the next decade. At times it shared the premises with other companies such as West Coast Lumber and Nahanni Helicopters Ltd. Global Securities moved in in 1994. It is currently occupied by John Eastwood - Notary.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Fawcett Residence include its:

  • location in an urban residential context in Ladner village, part of a grouping of buildings of similar age and scale
  • residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its cross-gabled roof with closed cornice returns and soffits, projecting bay to the west, scrollcut modillions, whalebone bargeboards and hipped roof over porch
  • Classical Revival features, such as lathe-turned verandah columns, closed balustrades and asymmetrical front door
  • shingle siding at basement and gable peak, and lapped wooden siding at main level
  • windows including one-over-one double-hung wooden-sash windows, and coloured leaded-glass piano window on the west side
  • <