Built in 1893 on a double lot near Exhibition Park (then the site of the Fair Grounds), in the fashionable Queen Anne Revival style and with 5,000 square feet of space, the house provided a solid, middle-class base for its range of owners. Although it faded into disrepair during the late 1960’s and ‘70’s when it became a boarding house, it was rescued in 1985 when it received a facelift that restored it to its present beauty as a Bed & Breakfast.
The characteristics of the Queen Anne Revival style are evident in many of the present internal and external features of the house. Outside, the decorated red, green and grey slate on the roof and gables outlines several patterns and shapes, with a different design in each gable end. The double-hung windows and seven leaded glass windows are original as is the window woodwork. Original owner John Sully displayed his profession as the General Manager (and soon to be owner) of Raymond Sewing Machines with a unique wooden bobbin pattern in the trim above the front porch and on the peak; and another bobbin pattern forms part of the oak staircase railings on the interior.
The staircase newel post provides an interesting showcase of the “signatures” of the craftsmen who worked on the house (they were possibly cabinet makers from the sewing machine factory); on each side of the post is a different daisy emblem that is repeated in the oak mouldings above the doors and windows. Other decorative features are the stained glass transoms, the original oak pocket doors and quarter-panelled doors with brass handles with the crown emblem. Features like the unusual shell design in the cast iron fire-back of the parlour fireplace and the decorated door hinges show its owners’ status and taste. The house was well planned for family life and entertaining.
Note: Although the address of London House is now 80 London Road West, the original address was 138 London Road because, until 1908, the streets were numbered from the river. The original number still remains in the glass over the front door.
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