1840 Robson Street

The Richborough Apartments were photographed around 1985, located on Robson Street close to Denman, on the all-residential Stanley Park side of Denman. There was a big house just to the west of here built in 1905 on an adjacent lot, which was divided into eight apartments by the 1930s, but these two lots had never been developed. In 1939, E M Craig and Company Ltd. applied for a permit to build an apartment building on the vacant lots. H S Griffith designed the 28 suite, 14 garage 4-storey building. The developers were identified a little later; R E Humphrey and E Akhurst, of Victoria. They also bought two other West End apartment buildings around the same time.

By 1981 the building, and the house next door, had been bought by Campeau Corporation of Calgary. They planned a redevelopment, and there were soon protests about the loss of affordable housing, and a potential heritage building (as the house was identified as a possible Samuel Maclure designed home).

A Vancouver Sun story in March 1981 told how ‘Caroline’ and Hector Fisher had moved into The New Richborough Apartments when the building was first leased, and forty years later were still there, paying $250 a month for their home. This wasn’t completely accurate. Carolyn Fisher had lived in apartment 203 from 1941, but initially it was with her husband Ewan, who was a master mariner (captain of a tugboat for Young and Gore). She was in Vancouver in the 1921 census, aged 18 and working as a waitress. He sister Lydia, who was 16, and a laundress, lived with her, on Richards Street. They were both born in Alberta, and had a Russian family background. The earlier 1911 census shows Lydia with her family in Medicine Hat, aged 6, and suggests Carolyn was christened Olga.

Ewan was born in 1900 in New Westminster, and died in 1958. His brother, Hector Fisher, who was also a master mariner, was living at 660 Jackson, with his wife Kitty. He married Catherine (‘Kitty’) Shaw in 1941. He was born in New Westminster in 1901, (and Catherine in 1893 in Scotland. She died in 1966 in Essondale, the mental health hospital later known as Riverview).

We assume that the widowed Carolyn married her brother-in-law, Hector, some time after his wife’s death. Hector died in 1982, and the redevelopment went ahead. Ewan and Hector Fisher were buried in the same grave in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster. Confusingly on his gravestone he’s identified as Casey Ewan Fisher, born 9 July 1900, while his death certificate says Ewan Alexander Fisher. Carolyn O Fisher was buried in the same cemetery in 1997, which identified her birth year as 1902, in Medicine Hat, in Alberta.

By 1987 the house and the apartments had been replaced by Stanley Park Place, with 45 apartments on 16 floors designed by Hamilton Doyle and Associates.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 786-3.12

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Posted 10 January 2022 by ChangingCity in Gone, West End

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