20-26 Stuart Street, Tyrcathlen

Probably Guelph’s most significant house architecturally and historically. One of the few surviving examples in Canada of the Tudor type of the Gothic Revival style.

Built 1854-56 for Rev. Arthur Palmer of St. George’s Anglican Church, later Archdeacon of Toronto. Design features are typical of Sir Charles Barry, leading British architect of the Victorian era. More likely designed by William Thomas, Toronto, or Frederick J. Rastrick, Hamilton, both prominent Canadian architects of the mid-19th Century and both acquaintances of Sir Charles Barry.

Owned by Archdeacon Palmer until 1875, the property was named “Tyrcathlen”.  Later, the home was owned by Alexander B. Petrie, Senior, Druggist and manufacturer, and his family, for about 40 years; by Henry B, Higinbotham, retired international insurance executive, and his wife, between 1925 and 1954.  The Higinbothams chose the name “Ker Cavan” during their years in the home and the name remains in use today.  The property was then owned by Brigadier Kenneth Torrance, retired, until his death in October 1958.   Since 1960, the house served as a nursing home and rest home and as the family home for the operators, Ernest and Agnes Przekop.  In the 1980s, the property was subdivided for residential development.  The original home and coach home have been restored by subsequent owners. 

Appearance of the original southwesterly façade is known as it is illustrated in bas-relief on the main fireplace mantel-place of “Sunnyside” (16 Arthur Street North). The house was expanded and altered circa 1875. H. Reginald Coales, Architect, was responsible for further enlargement and sensitive remodeling during the period 1925-1928.

Source:  City of Guelph By-law (1986)-12310