Nelson and Howe – north east corner

Nelson & Howe ne

When this image was taken in 1959, we think this house had looked something like this for fifty years, although it had been around a bit longer. In 1902 J Jenkins got Cornish and Cooper to design and build a house here for $1,600. In 1909 J Jenkinson spent $2,000 on alterations to the house, which were designed and built by E Cox. John Jenkinson has also carried out $300 of repairs to the house a few months earlier. We’re going out on a limb, and are suggesting that the clerk in 1902 got the name slightly wrong, and John Jenkinson owned the property the whole time. The 1903 street directory backs us up: John Jenkinson lived here, shown as an employee of the BC Electric Railway.

The Archives have a set of family photographs, and a little of the family history. John Jenkinson is said to have emigrated from Lancashire, England to Vancouver in 1898. He worked as a meter reader for the B.C. Electric Railway Company. The family were shown in the 1911 Census: John (born in April 1871) was living here with his Danish wife Ellen, daughter Olga, aged 7 and a Danish lodger, Alma Anderson.

It’s likely that in the 1901 census John was the boarder shown living with with James Ray, as there was an electrician with his name in the 1901 census. That John Jenkinson was shown born in July 1869, had arrived in Canada in 1897 and was already a Canadian citizen. The street directory shows John Jenkinson working for BC Electric living in rooms at 1025 Eveleigh St, and it shows James Kay, who worked at BC Electric as the owner of the property. While we don’t know whether he was born in April or June of 1869 or 1871, it seems likely to be the same person.

The 1921 Census shows the family – including Olga and Alma, still living at 992 Howe. John is shows as aged 51, which suggests 1870 as a birth year. Alma was recorded as John’s sister-in-law, and both John and Ellen are shown as arriving in Canada in 1897. He earned $2,700 a year. We know Mr. Jenkinson stayed in the city for a log time, as Major Matthews, the City Archivist, interviewed him in 1933 when he was recorded as ‘In charge of the Meter Department, BC Electric’. We tracked down John and Ellen’s marriage – it was in Vancouver in 1902. John was shown born in Ulverston, (in Cumbia) England and was aged 32 and Ellen was from Copenhagen, Denmark and was two years younger. Her father was Anders Anderson, and her mother Marie. We haven’t found when they died, but Olga’s death was in 1980 in White Rock.

By 1930 the Jenkinson’s had moved to West 15th Avenue. As far as we can tell it remained a house. In 1955 it was run as Rooms by Miss L Leeds, who had Mrs E Grimes and L W Fisher living in the two units. The addition of the store front seems to have been a year or two later. By 1968 the building had been replaced with a single storey Royal Bank building, (which you can remind yourself of on another of out blogs) in turn redeveloped last year with a 16 storey office building developed by Manulife and designed by CEI Architecture with Endall Elliot.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives P508.6

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Posted February 18, 2016 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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