If you live in North Vancouver you may have noticed the old Tudor-style house at Chesterfield and Osborne in the upper Lonsdale Area.
It’s hard to see these days, because several years ago we allowed developers to build two large “carriage” houses, in what was once a magnificent garden filled with hollies, laburnums, cedars, black walnuts, a cherry tree, a rose garden, and a large rhododendron.
I was reminded again of its story this week when Eric Williams kindly sent me this photo of his father’s school class.
Chesterfield House became a boy’s school in 1913 after it moved from its first location at the corner of 14th and Lonsdale. The grounds covered several lots and included two buildings—the main house with dorms, a dining room and offices, and the school house with classrooms and science labs. There was also a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a stable for six horses.
As Eric points out, you can see the British influence in everything from the style of the
building to the clothes worn by teachers and the boy’s uniforms.
“My father doesn’t seem to be particularly happy at that moment, but subsequently delighted in relating anecdotes concerning the pranks the boys played on each other,” says Eric.
Eric’s father, (Canon) Cyril Eddowes Halsey Williams went on to study at the Anglican Theological College (now Vancouver School of Theology) at UBC. After graduating he was posted to the Yukon and later to the interior. He wrote a book called Archdeacon on Horseback, a year before his death in 1992.
According to Sharon Proctor’s story in Express, Chesterfield operated in the British tradition with male teachers and ties to the Anglican Church. “Its goal was to prepare boys for entrance to Universities, Royal Naval and Military Colleges, and business.” The Chesterfield Boy Scout program consisted of 20 boys who were frequently dispatched to fight local forest fires.
The school closed in 1942 and was converted into an apartment building. It’s the only part of the school that still exists.
Thanks to Tom Carter for “stitching” the very large photo into one piece.
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