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