Cable Staff House #1 was built for the Anglo-American Telegraph Company between 1881-1882. Located in Heart’s Content, NL, it stands two storeys and was built in the Second Empire style. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Cable Staff House #1 was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1995 due to its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.
Cable Staff House #1 has aesthetic value as an excellent example of one half of a duplex built in the Second Empire style. The duplex is timber framed with brick nogging and stand two-storeys tall. In addition to typical Second Empire style details, the duplex has a number of modified elements that contribute to its aesthetic value. For example, the window trim on the first storey of the front facade has elements of an entablature. Additionally, the dormer shape is a variation on the typical Second Empire style semicircular dormer as it includes a keystone element at the top. All of these elements are indicative of a sense of creativity on the part of the architect – John Thomas Southcott of the firm J. & J. T. Southcott, Architects, Carpenters and Builders.
Cable Staff House #1 is also aesthetically valuable for its association with the well-known firm J. & J. T. Southcott, Architects, Carpenters and Builders. The firm solidified their relationship with the Anglo-American Telegraph Company in Heart’s Content in the 1860s, constructing cable offices and staff houses. In the 1880s, the firm was contracted to build six new staff houses to address the need for more staff accommodations in Heart’s Content. Cable Staff Houses #1 and #2 were included in this contract. By this time, the Southcott firm was building more and more Second Empire style buildings, to the extent that the style was often referred to locally as “Southcott style.” The style had gained popularity in St. John’s and was increasingly showing up in areas outside of the city as well.
Cable Staff House #1 has further aesthetic value as a landmark in the community of Heart’s Content. It is one of the largest and most elaborate buildings in Heart’s Content. Built on an elevated area of the community, its location is a testament to the influence and affluence of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company in Heart’s Content during this period.
Cable Staff House #1 has historic value for its association with the Anglo-American Telegraph Company. The Company had taken over the assets of the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company following a failed attempt to connect a transatlantic cable to Heart’s Content in 1865. In 1866, a cable link between Valentia, Ireland and Heart’s Content was successful. This revolutionized communication and had profound effects on the development of the community of Heart’s Content.
Cable Staff House #1 has cultural value because it represents a period of early technological advancements in telecommunications. The Anglo-American Telegraph Company also played a significant social and economic role in the community of Heart’s Content.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Heart’s Content – Cable Staff House #1 – FPT 1565”
Character Defining Elements
All those elements that embody the building’s aesthetic value, including:
-number of storeys;
-chimney number, style and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of semi-circular dormers with central keystone element;
-size, style, and placement of dentils and brackets at the eaves;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden corner boards;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden windows, including large bracketed entablatures;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden storm windows;
-wooden dormer window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden doors;
-size, style, trim and placement of porch on left facade;
-size, style, trim and placement of rear, one-storey extension;
-its location as one half of a duplex;
-dimension, location and orientation of building.
Location and History
Town of Heart's Content
21 School Road
1881 - 1882
J. & J.T. Southcott, Architects, Carpenters and Builders