House B – The Thomas and Rosalind Figg-Hoblyn House (1892)

Figg-Hoblyn House was originally set at the back of the property. It was an ideal location for the HRA that led to more affordable housing options (townhomes) and a formally protected house. 

by Kathleen Langstroth

In 1884 Thomas Figg and Rosalind Hoblyn married in England and soon after headed to North America first settling in BC on Mayne Island in 1885. They opted to use the surname Figg-Hoblyn.  

Figg, a former British naval officer, was a fruit grower and land owner who regularly travelled to Victoria and New Westminster on business.  Rosalind Hoblyn came from a prominent, upper class British family and apparently was forced to emigrate here due to a social scandal at home.  Figg bought a lot in the rapidly expanding city of New Westminster in 1887 and in 1892 they built this house and moved into it with their family.  

As an aside, members of the Figg-Hoblyn family are referenced in a Wikipedia entry and are the subject of an obscure BBC documentary

The aging  house was set way back and was an ideal location for the HRA that led to more affordable housing options (townhomes) and a formally protected
house.  The house was built far back on the existing property and in in 2016 a Heritage Revitalization Agreement was proposed to allow greater density on the lot by creating two new duplex houses at the front near Third Ave. while saving and formally protecting the original house. 

The Figg-Hoblyn House has intrigued many people over the decades and artist (and Heritage New West director) Jill Davy is one of them. Here is her painting of the home as it originally stood on the property.   Painting by Jill Davy.

The Figg-Hoblyn house has been totally updated however; the interior and exterior heritage characteristics were restored as required by the HRA.  The present owner has an interior design background which is very evident by the attention to detail and the use of space and colour throughout the house.  One such example is the coat and shoe nook installed between the wall studs by the kitchen door when you enter the house. There are three entrances to the home; at the front, back and side.  The original front door remains on the south or Third Avenue side of the home but the new main entrance is now on Oxford Street.  

The main floor flows easily from the kitchen through to the dining room with a formal living room and den off of it.   The large windows let in plenty of natural light and the window seat in the dining room has a fabulous west facing vista of the Fraser River.  The kitchen has been redesigned with high end appliances and finishes to meet the needs of the current owner.  The use and placement of wallpaper throughout the home adds to its charm.

The original staircase opens to a landing used as a design space, three bedrooms; one of which is used as an office/sewing room and a cleverly designed main bathroom with a barn door.  The master bedroom has a luxurious ensuite.  

The veranda wraps around the side of the house as it did originally and overlooks the side yard.  Although the lot is small, the homeowner has fully landscaped the back and side yards and created two lovely and distinct areas for outdoor entertaining – both low maintenance.