Neil and Jessie McDiarmid Residence

4944 47A Avenue
Delta, BC

Built: 1901
 

The McDiarmid residence was saved from an ignominious trip to the landfill in the mid 1990s. In 1996 it was revitalized as the centrepoint of the townhouse complex called "Camperdown Mews."

Status: Still Standing

McDiarmid Residence - 2021
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The original house is the striking one on the corner, which was moved to make room for the additional three unita. Unfortunately, and ironically, the camperdown elm, from which the complex derives its name, did not survive the construction activity around it,, in spite of the efforts of those involved.

Neil Angus McDiarmid came from Bruce County, Ontario, in 1888. He farmed in Langley initially and then came to Delta in 1893. In addition to participating in a number of community organizations, McDiarmid served as the Municipal Clerk of Delta from 1901 to 1927. The following year he opened opened a small real estate office on Delta Street.

The house has been around since the turn of the century. Originally built in 1901 for B.S. McDonald, principal at Ladner Public School. It was purchased by McDiarmid in late 1901, probably about the time he became Municipal Clerk.

The house was added onto somewhere around the time of World War I, according to Elsie McDiarmind, the last of Neil and Jessie McDiarmid's children. However, the two-bedroom addition at the rear was not retained when the house was restored. Mrs. McDiarmid took in boarders regularly over the years, generally female school teachers. The McDiarmibs also owned the lot next door and used it for activities such as playing badminton.

This continued to be the home of the McDiarmid family until the mid 1950s. Jessie McDiarmid, who was related to the Fishers in East Delta, died in 1949. At the time of Neil McDiarmids death in 1952, he and his daughter, Jean, were still living in this house, which remained in the family until 1954 when it was sold to Ruby Turner. Prior to its restoration the house had been rented out for many years, a period during which maintenance was minimal to non-existent.

It is worth noting here in the McDiarmid house we have a possible precedent, not seen anywhere else prior to this house, for the preservation of heritage homes. the inclusion of additional family dwellings on a lot with the original house is called "infill housing." While some may feel that a former single-family lot has become overly crowded, and others that the origibal landscape has been lost, nevertheless it must be acknowledged that the main objective, that is, the preservation and rention of a heritage building has been achieved.