834 to 846 Thurlow Street

It looks as if these three houses may have been built by the same builder. Their condition in this 1974 image was pretty good considering that they had been standing for 80 years. The first two appear around 1894 in the street directory – although they could have been there a year longer. Their first occupants included W Crickmay and E B Welsh, but there were no numbers associated with the buildings. A year later we have H St.John Wright at 834 (the house on the corner of the lane, on the left), F G Monserat in 846, on the right, and there’s another house on the block on the corner of Haro (off the picture to the right) with George Robinson living there.

840 Thurlow, the house in middle appeared in 1895, with E Atkinson living in it. W Patterson had moved into 846. 840 and 846 saw several changes of tenant, but Mr. Wright stayed at 834 for many years. In 1899 David Hunter moved into 840, and he also stayed for several years. In 1902 only 846 had a new occupant: D A Grant, a post office clerk, (who replaced a family called Grace who were there in 1901).

We weren’t confident that we had found the Wright family in the 1901 census, and the street directory never stated where Henry St.John Wright’s was employed. His son, Henry Wright was living at home in 1894 and was a clerk with Scott and Hughes, auctioneers, and in 1896 with J S Rankin & Co, also auctioneers. Another son, R F Wright was a clerk with R W Armstrong, a barrister. By 1902 Richard F Wright had become a linesman, and M J Wright, a clerk was also living at the same address with both Henry Wrights. That suggests that Henry Wright was listed in the census as Harry Wright. He arrived in Canada in 1893 from Ireland and was a land agent aged 62. There’s just one reference to anybody called Henry St.John Wright who an Irish land agent. He was on a jury in 1867, and he lived in Killeena in Skibbereen. Harry’s wife was Olhelia, 55, and three children were shown; son Richard, 20, a clerk, daughter Marcia who was 18, and 15-year-old son Monsarrat, also a clerk. Henry (or Harry) junior wasn’t noted (in 1901).

By 1906 the family had moved on, to Barclay Street, and Wilfred Huston identified in the street directory rather cryptically as ‘pianos’, had moved into their old home. David Hunter, a clerk was still at 840 and David Grant was still at 846. David Hunter was also from Ireland, aged 40 in 1901, with his 31-yea-old wife Minnie, from Ontario and their children Erskine, 9 and Browne, 7.

The houses saw many families come and go, and a complete list would be exhausting. In 1980 a residential and commercial project called City View was built here by Qualico Developments, with the commercial element fronting Thurlow.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 778-443

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Posted July 16, 2018 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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