Watson, Henry Barton

WATSON, Henry Barton (1869-1946) was born at Haltwhistle, Co. Northumberland, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, England on 9 August 1869 and served an apprenticeship with Johnson & Crawford-Hick, architects in that city, from 1891 until 1895. In 1896 he worked for Demaine & Brierley of York, England 'until my health gave out', and spent six months recuperating from serious illness. He returned to Newcastle-on-Tyne and spent five years with Oliver & Leeson before opening his own office there. He emigrated to Canada in 1907 and was followed by his brother Joseph Watson in 1909. Both settled in Vancouver and Henry maintained a busy practice there. He may have been related to John Watson & Brothers, Builders, who advertised their services in the Daily Province Convention Number, 20 Sept. 1910, 13 (see Construction, iii, Oct. 1910, 43), and it was here that many of Watson's designs, both completed works and ongoing projects, were listed. The advertisement was accompanied by an awkward and naive scheme for an unidentified civic building presumably designed by Watson. He moved to Los Angeles, Calif. in late 1923 and opened an office there (Southwest Builder & Contractor, 22 Feb. 1924, 46), and one of his last works in that region was a major extension to First Baptist Church in Van Nuys in 1934. Watson died at Glendale, Calif. in suburban Los Angeles on 4 February 1946 (biography and port. in Who's Who in Canada, 1925-26, 1612; R.I.B.A., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, ii, 933; D. Luxton, Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, 294-95, 523; inf. Claude P. Goodrich, Los Angeles Public Library)

(works in Vancouver)

CASSIDY BLOCK, Granville Street at West Cordova Street, a seven storey office block, 1907 (Vancouver Daily World, 25 Sept. 1907, 16, descrip.)
EMPRESS HOTEL, Hastings Street East, between Columbia Street and Carrall Street, for Harry D. Wright of Seattle, Wash.,1908 (C.R., xix, 4 March 1908, 18; Vancouver Daily World, 14 March 1908, 20, illus.; 25 July 1908, 23; dwgs. at the Vancouver City Archives)
HAYWOOD'S HOTEL, Hastings Street East , east of Westminster Street, 1908 (Vancouver Daily World, 25 July 1908, 23)
MAJESTIC APARTMENTS, Broughton Street at Georgia Street, for J.J. Dissette, 1908 (Vancouver Daily World, 14 March 1908, 20; Province [Vancouver], 20 Sept. 1910, 13)
WEST HASTINGS STREET, near Hornby Street, apartment block for Mrs. Ellis "...opposite the Vancouver Club", 1908 (Vancouver Daily World, 14 March 1908, 20, illus. & descrip.)
GRANDVIEW FIRE HALL, Charles Street at Salisbury Drive, East Vancouver,1908 (Vancouver Daily World, 26 Sept. 1908, 19, illus.; C.R., xxii, 14 Oct. 1908, 26, t.c.)
ALEXANDRA SCHOOL, East Broadway at Clark Drive, 1909 (Vancouver Daily World, 5 Dec. 1908, 15, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
GLADSTONE HOTEL, in South Vancouver, 1908 (Vancouver Daily World, 5 Dec. 1908, 15)
STUART APARTMENTS, Georgia Street at Chilco Street, for W.W. Stuart, 1909 (Vancouver Daily World, 3 April 1909, 25, illus.; Province [Vancouver], 20 Sept. 1910, 13)
GRANDVIEW, residence for William Miller, Semlin Drive at Napier Street, 1909 (Vancouver Daily World, 31 March 1909, 25, t.c.)
ST. PATRICK'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, 12th Avenue East at Quebec Street, 1909-10 (C.R., 25 Aug. 1909, 21; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
HASTINGS PARK, The Industrial Exhibition Building, East Hastings Street at Renfrew Street, a large Exhibition Hall "...with six towers and domes of glass", 1909; demol. c. 1930 (Vancouver Daily World, 3 June 1909, 2, descrip.; 10 July 1909, 15, descrip.; 29 Nov. 1909, 14, descrip.; 11 Dec. 1909, Section Two, 9, illus. & descrip.)
FLORENCE COURT APARTMENTS, West Georgia Street at Bute Street, 1909-10 (Vancouver Daily World, 30 April 1910, Section Three, 13, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives; H. Kalman, Exploring Vancouver, 1978, 121, illus.)
KITSILANO PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 4th Avenue West at Vine Street, 1910-11; Sunday School building, 1910-11 (Vancouver Daily World, 20 Aug. 1910, Section Two, p. 2, illus. & descrip.; 7 Jan. 1911, 17, descrip.; Province [Vancouver], 20 Sept. 1910, 13)
NORTH VANCOUVER, Indian Mission Church, c. 1910 (Province [Vancouver], 20 Sept. 1910, 13)
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, adjoining the Vancouver General Hospital, 10th Avenue West at Heather Street, c. 1912 (Who's Who in Canada, 1925-26, 1612)
CHILCO STREET, a six storey apartment block for J.A. Russell, 1912-13, but not built (City of Vancouver b.p. 4119, 31 Dec. 1912; Vancouver Daily World, 13 Feb. 1913, 24; inf. Andy Coupland, Vancouver)

(works outside Vancouver)

FERNIE, B.C., Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, 4th Avenue at 5th Street, 1910 (District Ledger [Fernie], 18 June 1910, 8)


SIMON FRASER PUBLIC SCHOOL, Manitoba Street at West 16th Avenue, 1908. Watson was one of 19 competitors who sent in plans, and he received Third Prize of $50 for his effort (Vancouver Daily World, 9 April 1908, 10; 12 May 1908, 10). The winnner was Pearce & Hope of Vancouver.
HASTINGS PARK, The Horse Show Building, West Georgia Street at Gilford Street, 1908. Watson was one of eleven architects who submitted designs for this large exhibit hall in December 1908. His elaborate Edwardian proposal was the runner-up, and Warren H. Milner of Seattle, Wash was declared the winner. Watson published a lengthy and methodical defense of his design in a Letter to the Editor, carefully setting out why his design had more merit than the Milner design (Vancouver Daily World, 14 Dec. 1908, 11, Letter to the Editor, illus. & descrip.). This letter was accompanied by an impressive birds-eye perspective of Watson's proposal, which he was to later duplicate in his design for the Industrial Building, also at Hastings Park, and constructed during the following year (1909-10).