A couple of weeks ago I was at the AGO with some friends.   As we looked out over Dundas Street, one of them asked me if I knew anything about the building that we could see at the northwest corner of Beverley St. and Dundas.  I had to admit that I knew nothing about except that I thought it was the Italian Consulate (it does have an Italian flag flying in the front after all).

Then I thought nothing about it.  Flash forward about a week.  I was at the St. Lawrence Market, sitting in the lower level eating my lunch when I happened to notice some posters on the wall.  The posters were about the history of the area, especially the architecture.  Right beside me was a picture of the house at 136 Beverley St., the Italian Consulate.  Apparently it was called ‘Chudleigh’ and it was built in 1872.

So back I went to take some pictures.

 Winter time, snow and large trees.  Chudleigh, a large yellow brick house built in 1872, viewed from the side (looking through the bars of the fence)

Apparently the house is a fine example of the Second Empire style of architecture, a style that was popular between 1865 and 1880.  Features of this style found in ‘Chudleigh’ are the steep mansard roof, the ‘tower’ portion of the house, and the asymmetry of the design.

blog_beardmore_chudleigh

This 35 room house was built by George Beardmore, a tanner from Chudleigh Devon England.  It remained in the family until 1934.  In 1937 it became the Italian Consulate.   During World War 2 the Canadian government confiscated the property and used it as local headquarters for the RCMP.  In 1961 it was returned to the Italians who used it as a center for Italian immigrants before renovating it and turning it back into the Italian Consulate in 1978.

Chudleigh, a large yellow brick house built in 1872, viewed from the side (looking through at the bars of the fence in the foreground.)  Winter time, snow and large trees

Chudleigh in 1952

Chudleigh, an old house built in 1872 as seen in a 1952 black and white photo.

photo credit: torontopubliclibrary.ca

When George Lissant Beardmore first came to Canada in 1844, he set up a tannery in Hamilton Ontario.    A few years later, this tannery was destroyed in a fire.  Rather than rebuild in Hamilton, Beardmore built a warehouse in Toronto and bought a tannery in Guelph to supply the leather from which he made shoes.   The Toronto warehouse, the Beardmore Building, was at 35 – 39 Front Street East and the building is still there today.  A Winners store occupies part of the building.

Four storey tall brick building with arched windows and mansard roof, yellowish brick.  White and black stone sign built into the building at the level of the third floor that says 'Beardmore Building'.

A row of 4 storey brick buildings built in the late 1880's along the south side of Front Street, taken on a winter day with snow on the ground.  Cars parked on the street in front of the builings.  Arched windows, mansard roofs.

In 1967 Beardmore & Co. are the largest tanners of leather in Canada. Their buildings and properties cover an area of over 500 acres, including a tannery in Acton that Beardmore purchased in 1865.  They employed about 600 people.

Comments
  1. aleksawal says:

    Thank you for that bit of history. I’ve walked by here dozens of times and never had a clue either!

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