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Winterholme
(79 Rennie's Mill Road, St. John's)

The most grand and elaborate house of its time, Winterholme was built during a time when the wealth and power of Newfoundland's merchants was at its height. At the time it was completed, Winterholme was one of the most expensive private dwellings ever built in Newfoundland, costing an estimated $120,000.

© 1998 Heritage Foundation
of Newfoundland and Labrador

(37Kb)
Winterholme was built in 1905 for Sir Marmaduke Winter. Born in 1857, Marmaduke Winter, along with his brother Thomas, created one of the largest provision firms in Newfoundland, T&M Winter Ltd. The firm was able to survive a series of disasters in the 1890s, including the Great Fire of 1892 that destroyed their headquarters. The firm also survived the Newfoundland Bank Crash that followed two years later which plunged the island into a serious economic depression.

After enduring these disasters, the company began to thrive. It expanded into other fields, including the supply of sealing vessels, exporting codfish and operating a fire insurance agency. Outside of his business concerns, Winter played a leading role in the Newfoundland Patriotic Association and helped to build a military hospital. For his efforts, he was knighted in 1923. Winter passed away in 1936.

Gordon, son of Sir Winter, owned the house for many years and played a significant role in Newfoundland society. Sir Winter's grandson, also named Gordon, was involved prominently in his father's business and served as lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland. He was one of the signatories of the terms of union between Newfoundland and Canada in 1949. Furthermore, he became the province's first minister of finance after confederation with Canada.

Winterholme remained the private residence of Sir Marmaduke Winter and his family until 1939, when his widow leased the house to the Canadian army on the condition that the house be returned to the family in its original condition. After the war, Gordon Winter occupied the house and used it as a private dwelling until 1960, when he sold Winterholme to Earle and Elsie Noble. The Nobles lived in part of the house and subdivided the rest into rental apartments. The Nobles owned the house until 1979 when they sold the house to Richard and Ruby Cook. The Cooks eventually converted the house into one of the most successful bed and breakfasts in St. John's.

Winterholme is a representation of the wealth and importance of the Winter family in Newfoundland. The house is a Queen Anne Revival style home designed by noted architect, William F. Butler. It is located in the Rennie's Mill Road Historic district and is situated near other historic structures such as Bannerman House and the Colonial Building. The house is a wood frame construction with bow windows featuring rare curved-glass windows. The main facade of the house is organised around a central, classically-designed porch that is supported by colonnettes and crowned by a gable-end pediment.

As impressive as the exterior of the house, the interior features are luxurious and include oak panelling, intricately carved and moulded plastering, bevelled glass and 14 fireplaces.

Winterholme is in excellent condition and has been meticulously maintained and restored. It was recognised as a National Historic Site and became a Registered Heritage Structure in December 1986. This structure was also awarded the Southcott Award for heritage restoration by the Newfoundland Historic Trust.


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