Archive for the ‘Yorkshire Guarantee & Securities Corporation’ Tag

500 block Seymour Street – west side (3)

We looked at the building on the right in a much earlier post. Today it’s Malone’s bar, with the confusingly named Cambie Hostel Downtown upstairs (some distance from Cambie Street). The corner building opened as The Clarence Hotel, run by Frank Foubert, in January 1893. There had been a wooden hotel, the St Charles, built here soon after the 1886 fire that destroyed the city, but it also burned down in 1892, and the Clarence was built of fireproof brick by the owner, the Marquis of Queesnberry, a Scottish nobleman. (He hired Mr. Horrobin as contractor, and architects Fripp and Wills). It had a further addition to the south (up the hill) some time after 1900, and before 1913. It’s most likely  that the addition was built when the building permits have been lost – in the mid to late 1900s.

In 1913 it was owned by J K Sutherland, who hired architect A J Bird to design $1,200 of alterations. In 1918 William Holden owned the property and had Thomas Fee design another $600 of changes, and in 1921 A Gignas did some more minor improvements. In 1922 Crowe & Wilson owned the building and spent $750 on alterations.

Next door, across the lane to the south and up the hill, is the Seymour Building. This was developed (according to the permit) by the Yorkshire Building Co and some images refer to it as the Yorkshire Building. Technically the clerk was shortcutting – the developer was “the Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation Ltd” – an English based organization. They built a portfolio of interests in the city, and Dominion Construction erected the $250,000 investment in 1913, which was designed by Somervell & Putnam.

William Farrell moved to Vancouver with his wife in 1891 as the first General Manager of the Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation. The company was backed by wealthy woollen merchants in Huddersfield in Yorkshire, and they had extensive interests in early Vancouver, including a controlling interest in the Vancouver Loan and Securities Corp., and the city’s street railway. Farrell also acquired the city’s telephone system, acquiring rival small companies to create the BC Telephone Company Limited in 1904.

Richard Broadbridge photographed construction of the new building, which had a concrete rather than a steel frame. It has been suggested that there was a delay in completing the building because of the war, but in fact it was almost fully leased and occupied by 1914. The new tenants were a ‘who’s who’ of Vancouver business, looking to impress in a new building. There was a building society, notaries, land agents and brokers. There was Fruit and Farm magazine, a Grain Exchange, a steamship agent, timber agents and insurance agents and adjusters. There was a surveyor, engineers, architects and real estate agents. Near the top of the building there was a dentist, and an artist, and BC Fisheries. The artist, Thurman A Ellis had ‘quietly married’ Miss Lillian Smith in 1913, and seems not to have made much of a mark on Vancouver society, leaving the city by 1915.

Over the years hundreds of tenants have come and gone, but the building still offers small offices in a convenient part of town in a recently restored building.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E01.33 and LGN 553.jpg

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