II-146722 | Houses for Mr. Meredith, corner of Barré and Aqueduct Streets, Montreal, QC, 1903

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Houses for Mr. Meredith, corner of Barré and Aqueduct Streets, Montreal, QC, 1903
Wm. Notman & Son
1903, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Cityscape (3948) , domestic (461) , Photograph (77678) , streetscape (1737)
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Keys to History

As the hanging wall sign indicates, this house is located on Barré Street. The street itself was part of Griffintown, a working-class section of Montreal's Sainte-Anne district, bound by Notre-Dame, McGill and Guy Streets.

In working-class neighbourhoods, a typical house was often made of wood. After 1850, however, the new homes of workers were increasingly built of brick. A number of fires had broken out in Montreal, forcing the authorities to adopt measures that would eventually lead to the demise of wood houses. In the 18th century, following a fire that took place in 1721, a municipal ordinance was introduced banning the construction of wood houses in the city centre, or Old Montreal as it is known today. After another fire in 1852, the ban was extended to include the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Before being annexed to the city in the early 1900s, the villages surrounding Montreal continued to construct wood houses. And even in the city, as shown in this photograph, it was still possible to catch sight of a wood house.

  • What

    In working-class neighbourhoods at the start of the 20th century, the single-family home, as seen here, was being replaced more and more by a newer style of dwelling - the duplex and the triplex.

  • Where

    In the early 1900s, Barré Street was located in Griffintown, a Sainte-Anne district neighbourhood which has since disappeared (south-western part of Montreal). Griffintown's population was made up of many workers of Irish origin.

  • When

    By 1903, Montreal was a densely populated city. Between 1890 and 1920, the number of newcomers, many drawn by work opportunities in local industries, nearly tripled the city's population. In 1921, the total number of residents had climbed to almost 620,000.

  • Who

    Mr. Meredith probably never lived in this house. In all likelihood, these photos were taken for Vincent H. Meredith, the manager of the Bank of Montreal.