Arthur Lineham, a Businessman at 1 Cook Street
The historic manor house at 1 Cook Street, which provides heritage lodging for visitors to Victoria, began with an ambitious and talented Vancouver Island resident, Arthur Lineham. Arthur and Eleanor Lineham built their family home at 1 Cook Street in 1912. Arthur was a prominent businessman, developer, tourism promoter and politician in the city. One of his many roles was that of being the manager of BC Light and Power Company’s operation in Victoria. By all accounts, he was a talented and ambitious man.
The gold rushes throughout BC and in Yukon around the beginning of the 20th century had left Victoria quite a prosperous town, and, between 1908 and 1913, there were numerous few substantial homes built in the popular Fairfield and Rockland areas by successful merchants and business people like Arthur Lineham.
Lineham was born in England in 1871. He moved to Victoria from Newark in Nottingham, England in 1891 at the age of twenty. It was in Victoria that he met Eleanor Madigan, who was two years younger than Arthur, and he married her in 1898. The Lineham’s first child, Edith, was born in March 1899, followed by their first son, Eugene, in January 1901. Two other boys completed the family, one of whom was named Harold.
Soon after arriving in Victoria, Arthur partnered with Ronald A. Grant to purchase a number of properties in the region, including over 900 acres on Salt Spring Island. Arthur and Grant built a hotel, called the Fairfield Block, at 1601 – 1609 Douglas Street near Victoria’s City Hall. Lineham and Grant also bought a large section of what was then Fairfield Farm. The men then sub-divided the land to help create what is known today as the waterfront along the Fairfield neighbourhood.
One of the buildings on this newly sub-divided land was Lineham’s first home at 1128 Dallas Road. He built this home in 1909. In 1911, Lineham took out a building permit to construct a garage on a lot beside his larger property at the corner of Cook Street and Dallas Road. This was the beginning of 1 Cook Street. Lineham continued this project in 1912 with the construction of his new home at 1 Cook Street.
An Era of Architectural Exuberance
Lineham employed a protégé of noted Victoria architect Samuel Maclure, Stanley Mitton, to design the building and oversee the work. Mitton was born in Birmingham, England in 1880, and he had emigrated to Vancouver in 1908 where he opened an office and began designing residences for his upper class clientele who were establishing in the city’s west side, primarily in Shaugnessy. Mitton left his stamp on over 60 prominent buildings in that area. He had come to Victoria in 1911 where he opened an office in association with H.T. Whitehead. One of their first contracts was the Lineham residence at 1 Cook Street.
Lineham Family Home 1912 - 1923
Arthur and Eleanor Lineham lived happily at 1 Cook Street with their four children and other family members until 1923. The house was beautifully finished with a design that took advantage of the ocean views while giving comfortable, spacious areas for family living. Descendants of Lineham's visit Dashwood Manor from time to time, often giving some insight into the way the original house was used. On the main floor, our Windsor Oak guest room was the Dining Room, with a butler’s pantry leading to the kitchen and a butler’s bell on the wall near the hallway door. Oxford Grand was the family parlour, with its exceptional granite fireplace. Our Buckingham Dining Room was for adults only, the formal sitting room and music room, complete with a grand piano. One visiting great granddaughter told us of bringing her grandfather, one of the Lineham boys, to the house around 1998. He explained to her some of the changes he noticed in the way the house was laid out. Apparently, he balked at entering the Buckingham Dining Room, telling her that he had never been allowed inside the room as it was for adults only.
On the second floor, original plans at the City of Victoria Archives show a laundry press along the hallway as well as a central vacuum system. A second stairwell, used mainly by the servants, went from the servants quarters in the basement to the second floor. Cambridge Room was the bedroom for Arthur and Eleanor’s daughter, Edith. Kensington was Harold’s room, while Eleanor and Arthur had the Master Suite in the Chelsea. Park Lane was the bedroom for Eugene and his brother.
The Lineham residence was a busy place and home for a number of family members and friends during the Great War. Eleanor’s father, Benjamin Madigan, had lived with his daughter’s family after his wife Margaret died in 1896. Mr. Madigan moved to the new home at 1 Cook Street, taking up residence in the Fairfield Room. Eleanor’s father had been a marine engineer and was the Chief Engineer on the Hudson’s Bay ship, the Beaver, the first steam powered vessel on the West Coast and the ship that first brought Sir James Douglas to Victoria in 1858. Eleanor’s father died in 1920 at the age of 81. Eleanor’s sister also lived with the family, using Tudor Room as her bedroom.
The famous boxer Jack Dempsey is said to have been among the many celebrated and powerful who visited here. One of Arthur and Eleanor’s nephews recalls eating rabbit stew fresh from Beacon Hill Park. The area along Dallas Road towards Clover Point was a popular shooting range, and the Linehams often took their rifles out of their storage area off the current dining room to go out for target practice or for hunting rabbits.
Arthur died suddenly and unexpectedly in Los Angeles in 1923 at the age of 52. He was on a trip promoting tourism in Victoria at the time. The family was thrown into a difficult situation due to the many investments Arthur had made in large parcels of land that he had planned to develop, including property on Saanich Peninsula 25 acres and a sand and gravel operation on the west side of Mount Tolmie and 900 acres on Salt Spring Island. Subsequently, Eleanor was forced to sell the family home at 1 Cook Street to help carry these expensive projects.
Harold Lineham, one of the sons, inherited a parcel of the Salt Spring Island acreage. He transferred control of the property to the family land holding company, Fairfield Block Ltd, to protect it for the future. This worked nicely as some 50 acres was recently transferred to the Islands Trust, a conservation authority, by Harold’s grandchildren to protect the unique ecosystem in perpetuity.
1 Cook Street as Apartments
A series of new owners lived at 1 Cook Street after the Lineham family moved on, with some reports of a salty sea captain at one time and a prominent provincial politician at another. At some point, likely during the 1940’s, the house was turned into apartments, known as The Caroline Apartments for a time. Over the next thirty years, there were four apartments on the main floor and three on the second floor. The grand open hallway on the main floor was redesigned to make these four apartments larger and to allow space for a bathroom in the Oxford Grand Room. Look carefully to see where the foyer beams follow through the walls into Oxford Grand and the Dining Room. An interior stairway to the basement and second floor was closed off to allow space for a bathroom for the Windsor Oak Room. Mailboxes by the front door remain as evidence of these years.
The house was for sale at one point for $1500, and it was falling into a state of disrepair. In 1978 Derek Dashwood purchased 1 Cook Street for $125 000 and converted the building to bed and breakfast use in the late eighties.