Ashcroft House Inn History

We hope you enjoy learning a little history of our 1898 Heritage designated Inn, located in sunny James Bay, downtown Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada.

2018 - present

Welcome to the new Ashcroft House Inn! David and I had 10 amazing years of hosting guests from around the world and around the corner, sharing our wonderful home and helping create some amazing Victoria adventures! We truly felt incredibly fortunate to have a job in which we hung out together 24 / 7 and made our house a true “home - away - from - home” for others. Hospitality came naturally to both of us and we loved our lifestyle. In 2015 my personal world came to a crashing halt with the unexpected passing of my husband and best friend. For the next 2 years I carried on providing the full B&B experience we so proudly gave our guests. In 2018 I made the very difficult decision to change the business model to a “Bed NO Breakfast”. For my own mental health I couldn’t keep going through our daily routines without him and thankfully the majority of my guests over the last 2 years have wholeheartedly supported the change. For those wishing the traditional bed and breakfast experience there are still several wonderful options in Victoria. For those looking for a bright and comfortable place to call “HOME” while in Victoria Ashcroft House has everything you need! I’ll never stop striving to make your stay amazing and for the morning there is absolutely coffee and tea in all rooms as well as a basket of snacks on the sideboard in the main hall.

We are also happy to point you in the right direction for some awesome culinary experiences!

Oh and yes I say we, myself and Alberto live on-site to make sure you have everything you need! I am still here loving the business but starting to balance it with my own travels. My new best friend loves our road trips but doesn’t seem to like being left behind if I decide to fly somewhere, lol. Charlie Parker is a Bernese Mountain / Great Pyrenees cross, basicly a 90 pound clown who wants to lay in your lap! I want to assure you Charlie is never allowed to roam free in the house but you may see us coming in or out from our walks.

I would also like to introduce you to Alberto, resident manager for Ashcroft House. In 2017 I decided to have permanent tenants on the third floor and Alberto took an instant shine to the hospitality business. He has been full time in the business since moving in and is always happy to make your stay as comfortable as possible!

2005 - 2017

“With the dream of running a Bed and Breakfast in Victoria BC, David & I spent 3 long years of searching before Ashcroft House B&B came on the real estate market. It was worth all our patience, we fell in love with the property on our first viewing, went straight over to write up the offer, and really have never looked back. In June 2005 we left the bustle of Vancouver for the tranquility of James Bay downtown Victoria. With every year we discover more of what this city offers, and are increasingly thankful to have an opportunity to live and work in this beautiful city. We hope you fall in love as we did with the ocean beaches & boardwalks just a block away and tranquil walks through Beacon Hill Park park, the quiet side of downtown yet an easy 15 minute walk to Victoria’s famous Inner Harbour!

A little history of a home that has welcomed friends from the day the doors opened in 1898

E.H.H. Taylor of Britain (grandson of the Marquis of Headfort of Kells, County Meath, Ireland) was a well traveled man enjoying many different ports of call. We are fortunate to have a picture of him riding an elephant in India, a picture of the view of Jaffa from the house he stayed in, and a family shot back in Britain. In the year 1892 Taylor was off again for another adventure; this time he was on his way to China and Australia. It was this journey that brought him to Victoria where he befriended a local musician, George Jennings Burnett. George himself was a bit of an adventurer and was soon guiding Taylor on bicycle expeditions around the James Bay waterfront and trips further along Vancouver Islands west coast to Jordan River and Port Alberni. These must have been some incredible bike trips because 5 years later Taylor made Victoria his destination once more. After boarding with Everett Ward for the better part of a year Taylor decided that Victoria was indeed home. With his love of the James Bay waterfront he chose a plot of land just a block from the sea and started building in 1898. Once the 4200 square foot house was completed Taylor, a bachelor, extended the invitation to his good friend George (including Georges wife, 2 brothers, and one sister) and of course to Everett (and his wife and new baby girl) to reside in the new James Bay house with him. As listed on a 1901 census record Taylor himself and both families plus an additional 2 boarders and a servant were in residence here. This is my absolute favorite part of our homes history, seems like this wonderful house has always had an open invitation, lots of house guests, and all the positive energy that comes from giving back to others.

The other fun historical note about Taylor himself is his fascination with exotic parrots; he became a rather amateur ornithologist. In 1897 when Taylor came to Victoria on his second trip he had brought with him several parrots and other exotic birds. Once the house was completed he immediately started building an aviary in the back garden for his treasured birds. It is often noted that Taylor enjoyed riding his bike around town with his favorite cockatoo perched on the handlebars of his bike. The aviary is still here though I confess much more of a storage shed than a habitable home for animals, although it did take us 3 attempts to evict the river otter who found living under the aviary quite satisfactory.

For a property over 120 years old there have been remarkably few owners. In 1903 Taylor married George’s older sister, Ada. Ada’s father and brother resided in the house until their deaths, the last being in 1936. Frank and Evinda Williams bought the house in 1939. Frank was a fireman for twenty years, retired in 1953, and enjoyed the house and its fabulous location until his death in 1969. The house was bought by a neighbor and within the year flipped for a small profit. The purchaser Pamela Verduyn ran the ‘Battery Street Guest House” from 1970 through 2002. We still to this day receive calls from people enquiring about her successful B&B. When Pamela retired in 2002 she sold the property and the new owners only stayed for 18 months. They sold and again the new owners only stayed for about 18 months, the property was then purchased by Ann & Derek. These two seasoned B&B owners breathed a fresh new start into the Battery Street Guest House. After close to a year of drywall dust, plumbing & electrical upgrades, and many, many gallons of paint, Ashcroft House Bed and Breakfast, Victoria BC was born in the late fall of 2004. David and I had been looking for the opportunity to purchase a Bed & Breakfast in Victoria BC for the previous 3 years, during which we did put in offers on 3 other properties. After 3 years of searching I was having a harder time believing ‘the right one will happen’ and now; I wouldn’t trade this property for any of the others we looked at! We know you will enjoy Ashcroft House as much as we do, the big bright windows letting in all that southern sunshine, the warm inviting energy, the fresh sea air, and of course the friendly and quiet neighbourhood of James Bay, downtown Victoria.