The Alderdice Property is a one-and-a-half storey, vernacular house with Georgian attributes. It is located at 2350 Conception Bay Highway, Topsail, Conception Bay South, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
The Alderdice Property has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conception Bay South due to its historic and aesthetic value.
The Alderdice Property has historic value because of its age and the associations with three important Newfoundlanders who lived there. The home was built in 1890 for George Gear, a prominent businessman who was one of the pioneering tinsmiths in St. John’s. As the tinsmithing trade began to wane with the decline in demand, Gear furthered his business prospects when he became the first president of the St. John’s Nail Manufacturing Company Ltd. In 1930 the company merged with United Nail and Foundry and it continued to manufacture nails until it went into receivership in 1982.
The next owner of the house was Frederick Charles Alderdice, the last Prime Minister of Newfoundland. Irish-born Alderdice came to Newfoundland in 1886 and worked for his uncle, Moses Monroe, at the Colonial Cordage Company. He worked his way up in the company to become vice-president and managing director. Like many businessmen of the time Alderdice became interested in government affairs and in 1924 was appointed to the Legislative Council. Alderdice served as the dominion’s Prime Minister for a few months in 1928. He resumed this post from 1932-1934, when a financially strapped Newfoundland suspended responsible government and was administered by a Commission of Government appointed by Great Britain. Effectively Newfoundland’s last Prime Minister, Alderdice served as Commissioner for Home Affairs and Education until his death in 1936.
Following Alderdice, Edgar Lawrie Hickman owned the home. Hickman’s father owned A.E. Hickman Company Limited, where Edgar began working as a clerk, and later served as president and managing director. The company was involved in exporting fish, the wholesale provisions trade and selling fishery supplies. Preceding WW II, when most foreign markets were closed, the company concentrated on provisions, general supplies and insurance. The company was in the building supply business until 2003.
The Alderdice Property has aesthetic value because it is a good example of a 19th-century vernacular house type of which there are few left in Topsail. The house features narrow wooden clapboard, a steeply pitched gable roof with eaves brackets, and two gable end chimneys. A single dormer window on the west elevation is cut through the eaves line and stands out through the use of darkly coloured eaves brackets under the window and in its gable peak. The left façade features a small, enclosed gable roof porch with an original gothic arched window. Over 100 years old, this house has undergone several additions to accommodate its various owners and has a large sunroom on the right facade and a linhay on the rear facade.
The Alderdice Property has further aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. It is situated on a large span of green space overlooking Conception Bay. The surrounding gardens and mature trees shelter the property from its busy highway location so that one feels secluded high above the beach.
Source: Town of Conception Bay South Regular Council Meeting Motion #02-399 August 6, 2002.
Character Defining Elements
Those elements which reflect the historic and aesthetic values, including:
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-gable end chimneys;
-enclosed porch with arched window, and;
-location and orientation of building.
Location and History
Conception Bay South (Topsail)
Town of Conception Bay South
2350 Conception Bay Highway, Topsail
1890 - 1890
Rectangular Long Façade