Gosset House

Gosset has been ordered up the country to New Westminster, and as he had made himself snug in an iron house in Victoria, he is rather disgusted and Mrs. Gosset talks of going home.  Gosset's pay is not even so good as mine.  He gets only 500 pounds a year and has to provide himself and family with house and food, so his is not a very lucrative post." 

-- 7 Feb 1860, Lt. Anderson RE

The Gosset Home

In 1984, through the Provincial Government Heritage Branch, the Saanich Historical Artifacts Society (SHAS) took possession of a 30' x 30'  Corrugated iron, timber framed building from the British Columbia Buildings Corporation.  Located behind the Queen's Printers at 563 Superior Street in Victoria B.C., it had been used as a Tinsmith Shop, but was scheduled for demolition.  Upon examination the Heritage Branch discovered that it has high heritage value.  The SHAS was requested to provide a suitable site for its safe keeping, future restoration and interpretation.

The historical significance of this structure can not be overstated.
Four shipping labels from London, addressed to "Colonel Moody, Royal Engineers, British Columbia, were found within the building, indicating that it had arrived during the late 1850s.

Preliminary research suggests that this structure may be the Hemmings' Iron House shipped  from London by Chief Justice Matthew B. Begbie in care of Colonel Moody in 1859.  Subsequently, it is probable that Begbie sold the building to Captain William D. Gosset, the first Colonial Treasurer of British Columbia, and that it was erected on land he obtained in 1860 for his residence.  Gosset left the Colony in 1862, but the building continued to be used as a private residence and part-time private school until about 1900, when it was acquired by the Province and used for Public Work's purposes.  This building is one of the few remaining structures from the early Colonial period.

Architecturally it is very significant.  Prefabricated wooden framed buildings were first manufactured about 1800.  By 1840 galvanized iron could be corrugated, supplying increased rigidity.  The British pioneered this technology.  Iron Houses were exported to California for the Gold Rush of 1848, the Crimean War and to the outposts of the Empire.  About 6 iron houses and one iron church were shipped to Victoria between 1859 and 1862.  This is the only known survivor.

World-wide there are few iron buildings of this vintage in existence. This is an extremely rare and significant artifact.

The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society's goal is to restore the Gosset House as closely as possible to its 1860's appearance.
Sept 7/01

Work is progressing on the building and ideas are being presented as to the best use for the building.