The Ashbourne Office is a mid-nineteenth-century wooden mercantile building. It shares a property with the stylistically similar Ashbourne Shop, as well as the Ashbourne Longhouse. Together, these buildings form the Ashbourne Premises. The Ashbourne Office is located on Main Street, Twillingate, sitting in an open grassy lot near the harbourfront. This designation is confined to the footprint of the Ashbourne Office.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Ashbourne Office has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador due to its historic, aesthetic and cultural value.
The Ashbourne Office was built some time before 1883, before the property belonged to the Ashbournes. Merchant William Ashbourne purchased the premises in 1897 from Edwin Duder Jr., who was himself a prominent merchant until the Bank Crash of 1894. Ashbourne outfitted schooners participating in the Labrador fishery and the seal hunt and also exported fish and seal products. William’s son Thomas inherited the property following his father’s death in 1922. Thomas Ashbourne was active in Newfoundland politics, beginning as an M.H.A. in the 1920s and eventually travelling with Joey Smallwood to Ottawa as a delegate for the National Convention in 1947 . Following Confederation with Canada, he went on to represent the Twillingate area in the House of Commons. Thomas Ashbourne died in 1984. The property remains under the ownership of Ashbourne descendants.
Built with a mid-pitched gable roof, the two-and-a-half storey wooden building strongly resembles the neighbouring Ashbourne Shop in massing and style. The large window openings, narrow wooden clapboard and slightly returned eaves are consistent with the unornamented commercial style of the building. The placement of the five windows on the harbour-facing side of the Office facade echoes a similar placement on the neighbouring Shop building, which creates a sense of unity among the commercial buildings on the Ashbourne Premises. These two buildings were likely constructed at the same time, and were once connected by a voice tube for ease of communication.
The Ashbourne Office, along with the adjacent Ashbourne Shop and Longhouse buildings, represents only part of a larger merchant premises that once included stores, a lumber yard and wharf access. The Ashbourne properties are physical reminders of Twillingate’s history as a vibrant and prosperous port town driven by the fishing and shipping industries. Merchants like the Ashbournes were at the heart of these industries, and were central figures in the social, economic and political life of Newfoundland throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Twillingate – Ashbourne Office – FPT 1316”
Character Defining Elements
All those elements of the mercantile building construction, including:
-two-and-a-half storey construction;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-wooden pediment on facade facing roadway;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-Gothic Revival arched window;
-any other remaining original wooden windows, their trims, sizes, shapes, dimensions and locations, and;
-any remaining original wooden doors, their trims, sizes, dimensions and locations.
All those elements that relate to the building’s history as part of a merchant premises, including:
-prominent location of building in the community;
-proximity to and visibility from the water;
-location of building on the property, and;
-proximity to other historic buildings that make up the Ashbourne Premises complex.
Once there was a voice tube connecting the offices with the shop next door.
Location and History
Town of Twillingate
Main Street, Southside
1883 - 1883
Rectangular Short Façade