Havenwood History Series: Part 1 – 1800s to 1927

Welcome back Pacific Landing friends, family and followers. In this new series we would like to share a little bit of the history of our beautiful property. Pacific Landing is located on the Havenwood property. Havenwood is rich with history and we are continually learning about this great place from many visitors, artists and neighbours. We are going to begin back in the late 1800s and go up until the building of the Pendray House in 1927.

Throughout most of the 1800s Havenwood was Crown land. Part of the property was purchased in 1872 by John Switzer. “Switzer, of U.K. origin, spent some time in New Zealand where two of his children were born. [and in] 1873 saw the operation incorporated as Belmont Tanning & Boot & Shoe Manufacturing Co Limited” (Chandler,33). In 1881 Switzer purchased the rest of the Havenwood property.

Victoria Advertisement for Belmont Tanning

Belmont Tanning and Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Company “owned and operated a sawmill & then a tannery from 1870-1920 on the Cottonwood Creek (now Colwood Creek) in Hatley Park” (colwood.ca).  To the right is an advertisement page in which many companies used to promote their businesses, among them is Belmont Tanning.

In Reports on the Colonial Sections of The Exhibition from the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of London in 1886, a small description of the goods exhibited by Belmont Tanning was found. “Belmont Tanning Co Victoria British Columbia Sole Leather Hides and Sides Hemlock tanned, firm leather, fleshy, darkish colour, well finished, fairly flayed”(wood, 396).

Robert E. Jackson

John Switzer retained Havenwood for another 8 years until 1889 when he sold it to Robert Edwin Jackson.  Jackson (left), along with Matthew Trotter Johnston, established the BC Benevolent Society in 1872 to aid the community’s poor. He also owned a ranch in East Sooke and was a partner in the law firm of Drake, Jackson and Helmcken. In 1903 Jackson sued his partners for amounts owing and their case ended up in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1906. 18 years after Robert Edwin Jackson purchased Havenwood he sold it to a family from California, the Beesemyers family.

Louis and Edith Beesemyer had emigrated to Canada in 1898. After purchasing Havenwood in 1907 they began construction on small stone cottage at the heart of the property. This cottage is still a prominent feature on the property today with plans of being utilized again as a beautiful, quaint coffee shop for the residents and visitors of Pacific Landing to enjoy.

Original photos of the stone cottage

In 1925, The Beesemyers returned to California, selling the property to Herbert and Charlotte Pendray. The Pendrays began construction on their Mediterranean style villa right away and by 1927, two years later, the Pendray house was complete. It also remains on the property today. Currently the house is being used as offices and a showroom for Pacific Landing as well as studio space for the Havenwood Five, an incredible group of local artists.

Pendray Sprouting Flowers

Current photos of the Pendray House

Be sure to check back for the next segment in our Havenwood History Series – coming soon.  


Chandler, Cliff. Victoria Historical Society Publication. NUMBER 33 AUTUMN 2012

http://victoriahistoricalsociety.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NEWSLETTER- 33.pdf

Colonial Reports – https://books.google.ca/books?id=NjoDAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false


Lawsuit of Robert Jackson – https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/7708/2/document.do


Reports on the Colonial Sections of the Exhibition (google books) 1886. https://books.google.ca/books?id=NjoDAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Robert Edwin Jackson Photo – http://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/robert-edwin-jackson



Victoria Advertisements Photo – Chittenden, N. H. (1882). Settlers, prospectors, and tourists guide, or, Travels through British Columbia. Victoria: Publisher not identified.

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