Trafalgar Mansions – Nelson and Hornby

Trafalgar Mansions

A J Bird designed the Trafalgar Mansions at the corner of Nelson and Hornby for the Hose Investment Co in 1910. It cost $75,000 and was built by Adkinson & Dill. The company name came from F E Hose, the company’s President. Francis Hose was an Investment Broker who had arrived in Canada around 1900. He was born in 1870, and was married to Sybil Gwilt in 1893 in Roydon, Norfolk, UK. That same year they arrived in the US, travelling to New York on SS Teutonic, arriving on the 21st of June. He was described on arrival as a farmer. It’s possible he had been in the US from 1887 and returned to marry: the earlier immigration date is shown in the later US Census records. In 1901 their son Charles was born, and in 1911 they were living at 1659 Davie, and in the Census Mr. Hose was listed as Frank rather than Francis.

Mr Hose wasn’t just an Investment Broker – he was also in partnership with J G Brooks as Hose & Brooks, liquor dealers at 514 Main Street. From 1902 Mr. Hose had run the company with Arthur Hose, probably his older brother, and Mr. Brooks was a later partner. In 1902 (the first year he appears in Vancouver) he was partner with T Allen as owners of the Stanley Park Brewery on Chilco Street, as well as the liquor store – the brewery partnership (and the brewery) seems to have been very short-lived.

1922In 1912 Frank and Sybil had moved to Pasedena, California and J Brooks was managing Hose & Brooks on his own, with John Law running the Hose Investment Co. (Arthur Hose also disappears from the City Directories around this time). Frank Hose seems to have made enough money to effectively retire in his 40s – he was shown in the 1920 US Census as a fruit preserver, apparently at his home. He was still in California in 1931 when this Vancouver Public Library image was taken – he was in the Whittier Judicial Township, Los Angeles in 1940.

As far as we can tell Frank Hose didn’t take an active role in the company that continued to carry his name. Nevertheless, he was probably aware that the company made the news in 1922. This was after the liquor distributer had survived despite the prohibition years that started in 1917, and finally ended in 1921 (in British Columbia). A year later Fred Summers, was arrested after selling policemen a half case of whisky. Liquor and beer were found that were said to be from the Hose and Brooks warehouse on Keefer Street, and the Provincial authorities closed it down while the investigation commenced. A few days later the building, and it’s $50,000 of stock, were returned to the company.

Trafalgar Mansions stood for over 50 years. Today Nelson Square occupies the corner, designed by Romses Kwan and Associates and completed in 1982 for a Hong Kong developer. The top 5 floors are residential; the rest of the 25 floor building is offices.


Posted 28 August 2014 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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