Historic Places – Jones House

Jones House

Dr. Jones House at 599 Island Road


One of my interests is vintage and character homes, and there’s plenty in Victoria to explore! Here’s one that I found particularly intriguing, built for a Welsh ship’s surgeon by the famed Victoria architect Rattenbury and Maclure. All info is from Canada’s Historic Places at http://www.historicplaces.ca

Description of Historic Place

The Jones House is a large 2 1/2 story stone house with a slate roof. The house is situated in a large mature garden within the Jones Estate subdivision, in South Oak Bay, near the crest of Anderson Hill. 599 Island Road, Oak Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Heritage Value

The Jones House is valued for its association with its owners, its architects and for its unique construction.

The house was built in 1909 for Dr. Oswald Meredith Jones, a Welsh ship’s surgeon who arrived in 1891 on H.M.S. Warspite, and later became BC’s preeminant surgeon. Jones joined the practice of Dr. John Chapman Davie, who introduced antiseptic surgical practice in BC, and later established his own practice in the Jones Building (1912, demolished 1977) in Victoria. After his death in 1918, the Jones family continued residing here, until the subdivision of the original 4 1/2 acre estate in 1984.

The Jones House is valued for its association with leading architects Francis Mawson Rattenbury and Samuel Maclure. The Jones House was constructed shortly after Rattenbury’s success with the Empress Hotel. Rattenbury was by then BC’s leading architect, having also designed the Parliament Buildings, Vancouver Courthouse and plans for 1590 York Place. Stylistic suggestions indicate that Samuel Maclure may have designed the interior finishing. Dr. Jones commissioned Maclure to design the Jones building in 1912, so it is likely that Maclure was at least partially responsible for the interior design.

The all-stone exterior of this house is rare and the slate roof is one of only three remaining in Oak Bay. This residence has special value as an Oak Bay house built of local materials. Specifications dictate that the walls were to be constructed of split granite from boulders on site. The house is actually wood frame construction overlaid by split granite veneer which is reduced in thickness from bottom to top. Window sills are brick with a fine concrete rendering. The interior has many original features, including five fireplaces, woodwork and light fixtures.

The surviving stone wall and entrance gates are protected by conservation covenant, as is some of the open property within the subdivision. Over 20 trees on the former estate were identified as heritage trees in 1985 and the remnants of a native Garry Oak ecosystem survive.

Photo Source: Corporation of the District of Oak Bay

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the character of the Jones House include:
– stone exterior cladding and slate roof
– prominent entrance porch with wooden railing above
– brick window sills with concrete rendering
– leaded glass window in stairwell
– original conservatory with tile floor
– original interior detailing throughout house, including: fireplaces (with brass-pipe venting) with original tiles; fir panelling and beams; cedar trim; Australian mahogany floor in drawing room.
– original Art Nouveau light fixtures in the drawing room, dining room, hall and conservatory
– garden stone work, including stone garden wing walls and gates at the rear of the house
– original stone and iron estate entrance gates with surrounding stone wall
– the use of local materials in its construction
– mature garden features, including native Garry Oaks