Archive for the ‘S G Davenport’ Tag

Royal Bank – East Hastings and Main Streets


The first phase of the Royal Bank at Main and Hastings was developed in 1910, and we’re seeing it here almost exactly 100 years ago, in 1920. We’re pretty certain this is the oldest continuously used bank in Vancouver – the CIBC a bit further south was developed in 1915. There are older buildings built as banks, but today they’re used for other purposes. This was originally designed by the bank’s Montreal-based architect, Howard Colton Stone, in 1907. Exploring Vancouver describe the style as ‘Edwardian baroque’, featuring Ionic columns. It’s a modest building for an important corner of the city, but it fits a pattern; the corner to the north was redeveloped from three storeys to a single storey Bank of Montreal in 1929, and to the west the Carnegie library wasn’t significantly taller.

The construction used a reinforced concrete frame – one of the earliest in the city. It was extended east along Hastings Street to the lane in 1947, to designs by the Royal Bank’s Montreal-based former chief architect, S.G. Davenport, (Although he didn’t do anything other than replicate the existing design on the outside). Another smaller addition was built to the south along Main Street (on the site of the former Merchants Bank) in 1975.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-1392


Posted 18 March 2021 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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West Cordova and Granville (2)

This view has already changed, and will soon change even more dramatically. In the 1931 Vancouver Public Library image, the newly completed Royal Bank Building towers over the turn of the century single storey retail, located across the street from the Canadian Pacific station. The bank had acquired the site in 1912, paying $725,000 for the site for their new headquarters. It took them until 1929 to demolish the Hadden Building, (built in 1899) and replace it with their art deco skyscraper – or more accurately, half a skyscraper. It was designed by S G Davenport, a Montreal based architect who was the Royal Bank’s staff architect. Although designed to be built as a wedding cake tower, Vancouver still has only just over half a cake as the eastern second phase was never built. There’s a proposal to add a contemporary tower to the east to define the shape, but not the design, of the original tower. This would also allow seismic improvements to the 1920s building.

We looked at the stores in the foreground in two earlier posts, one in 2012, and one a year later. They were built in 1911 and designed for the Allan Brothers (who also built them) by W P White, a Seattle architect who designed a number of Vancouver commissions in the early 1910s. In 1969 they were replaced by a parkade, seen here a little while ago, and now that structure has been demolished to allow construction of a new office tower that has partly been sold as strata office space.


Posted 20 December 2018 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone, Still Standing

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Granville and Hastings – ne corner

Hastings & Granville  ne

J & H Hadden & Co were a successful hosiery company in Nottingham, England, from around the turn of the 19th century. Frederick John Hadden died in 1881, leaving his estate to his children including his son, Harvey, who took over running the family business aged 30. He obviously was successful enough to travel, and in the course of his travel visited the relatively new city of Vancouver. If the anecdote recounted by city archivist Major Matthews is to be believed, he was on a train leaving the city when he got into conversation with Harry Abbott, Superintendent of the CPR who persuaded him to return an invest in the fast-growing city. Whether this really occurred is impossible to verify, but Mr Hadden undoubtedly returned at some point and acquired considerable property, including corner lots on the north side of West Hastings at Cambie, Homer and Granville. (A different version of his history says he arrived by steamship from San Francisco in 1891. Both could, of course, be true).

It is suggested that the land started to lose value, and Mt Hadden decided to develop buildings to generate a return. The choice of architect to develop the property was Sydney Eveleigh, who had worked initially for N S Hoffar and then C O Wickenden, although he is said to have had the main hand in designing the Hadden buildings. Eveleigh was originally from Bedford, another Midlands English town that, like Nottingham, was noted for its lace industry. We know of at least three other Hadden buildings built before this 1901 commission for a substantial building (for the time) on the much-photographed corner of Granville and Hastings. This time he attached his name to the Hadden Building, (as he had before when developing Harvey’s Chambers).

It appears that this might be the first building erected on this site – there’s nothing obviously bearing the street address in the 1899 Street Directory. Although Eveleigh is said to have designed the building, he was working at the time as a draftsman for W T Dalton, who is therefore credited with the building. A year later Dalton and Eveleigh became partners, hadden halland went on to design a series of important buildings across the city. One of Eveleigh’s designs was for a palatial mansion in 160 acres of North Vancouver, set in dramatically landscaped gardens with 500 roses imported from France. This was Harvey Hadden’s Vancouver home, Hadden Hall, built in 1903 when he had been married just two years to Madelina, a woman less than half his age. “The nature-loving industrialist built Hadden Hall as his country home on a solid rock ridge 700 feet up Hollyburn Mountain near the current location of Capilano Golf Club, and enjoyed many summers at his idyllic west coast retreat before the outbreak of the First World War. Hadden returned to Vancouver just once more after that period, and the beautiful home he built was left unoccupied for 15 years before burning to the ground in an accidental fire.”

Hadden sale 1912 Montreal gazetteAmong Mr Hadden’s tenants, as this early 1900s image shows, was jeweller George Trorey who placed his famous clock on the sidewalk in front of the building. In 1912, just 11 years after its completion, Mr Hadden sold the Hadden Building at what must have been a tremendous profit. We haven’t found the cost to build the Hadden Building, but it couldn’t have been over $100,000. The Royal Bank paid $725,000 for the site for their new headquarters.

And then they sat on it. The First World War interupted the city’s economy and the pre-war boom (in fact things fell apart from 1912 on). So the Hadden Building stayed on the extraordinarily expensive site right through to 1929 when it was eventually demolished, and the Royal Bank’s art deco skyscraper – or more accurately, half a skyscraper, was built to the designs of S G Davenport, a Montreal based architect who was the Royal Bank’s staff architect.

Although designed to be built as a wedding cake tower, Vancouver still has only just over half a cake as the eastern second phase was never built – although you can’t tell that looking from the west.

Mr Hadden’s marriage apparently didn’t work out well; despite the addition of two children, Doris and Harvey, in 1920 Madelina sought a legal seperation, and the ensuing case was reported widely, owing to the rather unusual grounds. “Mrs. Hadden said that while they were staying a Budleigh Salterton her husband was absent from her a good deal.   “He was away all day golfing,” she added.   Mr. Justice Shearman – That raises a serious question whether continued absence on the golf course amounts to legal cruelty.   Mr. Holman Gregory, K.C. M.P., who appeared for the husband – If so, I am afraid some lawyers are bad husbands.   The Judge – I know the golf course at Budleigh Salterton, and it has considerable attractions.”  We don’t know the outcome, but it would seem that the separation went through as there is no mention of his family following Harvey’s death in 1931 when he was living in Claridge’s Hotel in London. Despite his absence from Vancouver over many years, he spent $44,000 in 1928 to fund the purchase of today’s Hadden Park in Kitsilano (the home of the Maritime Museum) which he handed over with an additional $5,000 for its completion.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 677-647


Posted 4 August 2013 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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