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Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall Registered Heritage Structure

Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall, St. John's, NL
Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall, St. John's, NL
Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall, St. John's, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The LSPU Hall is a two-and-a-half storey timber framed building with a mid-pitched gable roof. It is located at 3 Victoria Street, St. John’s, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The LSPU Hall was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1998 because of its historic and aesthetic value.

The LSPU Hall has historic value because of the land on which it sits and the organizations associated with it. In 1789, this site was the location of the first Congregationalist Church in Newfoundland. Following a fire which destroyed the church in 1817, it was rebuilt and used by several denominations for visiting preachers, meetings and social events. In 1853 the Sons of Temperance purchased the building and rebuilt it after it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. In 1912, the Longshoremen’s Protective Union purchased this building to be used as their union hall. The Longshoremen bought the Hall partially because of its location. At that time the secretary of the union could look out the window to see flags on Signal Hill that indicated if any ships were coming into the harbour. In 1922 the building was again damaged by fire and was rebuilt – incorporating much of the rear end of the structure built after 1892. Completed in 1926, the building was rented out for bingo, speeches and other social functions. The LSPU Hall is the only survivor from the heyday of downtown union halls, many of which also served as neighbourhood community centres. The building was purchased from the union in 1976 by the Resource Foundation for the Arts - now the Resource Centre for the Arts - a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of arts in Newfoundland and Labrador. The LSPU Hall has since hosted hundreds of plays, concerts, exhibitions, festivals and workshops and the LSPU Hall is an important centre for the arts in the province.

Although the interior has been extensively changed over the years, the exterior of the building has remained virtually unchanged since 1926. Earlier reminders of the site's past uses are still visible along the sides of the building where, within the massive stone retaining walls, remnants of the original retaining wall built for the foundation of the Congregationalist Church in 1789 can still be seen. The building itself is quite basic with plain narrow clapboard and unadorned windows, typical of Newfoundland meeting halls in the early 20th century. The few decorative features on this building include exposed rafters along the gable ends of the roof and a decorated two storey porch, complete with original windows and signage.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall - FPT 1492”

Character Defining Elements

All original features which relate to the age and vernacular lodge design of the building including:
- Gable roof;
- Narrow wooden clapboard;
- All original 6/6 windows including arched and picture window on front facade;
- Size and placement of windows and doors;
- Two storey porch on front façade;
- Size and location of signage on front façade including painting of Republic of Newfoundland flag;
- Exposed rafters along gable ends;
- Eaves brackets along porch;
- Remnants of early stone retaining wall;
- Minimal exterior decoration;
- Orientation and overall dimensions of building.

Location and History

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 003 Victoria Street
Construction (circa) 1922 - 1926
Charles J. McCarthy
Mr. Abbott
Style 20th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade
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