LIFE AT "GLANMORE"
Sheila Burrows Chapline
From candles and lamps to gaslight and electricity, "Glanmore" has been home to four generations. On its completion in 1882, John Philpot Curran Phillips took possession from the Montreal architect, Thomas Heanley, whom he had commissioned to build it.
Who's Who in Canada 1912, gives the following information on the first occupant of Glanmore:
Stephen had come to Canada from Staffordshire, at the age of 17. He first became associated with the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and later with the Mutual Life Insurance Co., of Canada, where his son, Sanford, followed him as branch manager. On June 2, 1916, Sandy's brother, Clifford, was one of 629 Princess Patricia's who gave his life at during the battle of Mount Sorrel.
During World War I, an Air Force training camp was set up at Deseronto, from where many of the officers attended parties at Glanmore. Among them was Vernon Castle, who, with his wife Irene, achieved world fame as the greatest ballroom dancers of their time. His close friend at the camp was Johnny Coates of the Scottish thread family of international renown. One day, flying on a routine maneuver, Johnny had to make a forced landing on the grounds of Glanmore. Audrey, one of the beautiful Wilmot daughters, a guest in the house at the time, dashed out to help with the rescue. Her sister Gwen met Vernon Castle and became so enamoured of the handsome pilot that when he was eventually transferred, she refused to leave home for several months. Audrey's was a happier fate; she married Johnny Coates, "the most brilliant marriage ever made in Belleville," according to her mother, and moved to the U.K., where they had a castle in Scotland and a flat in London, from where Audrey entered the glittering life of Mayfair in the Twenties. A biography of Tallulah Bankhead describes one of her celebrated first nights in London, to which the then Prince of Wales escorted "the beautiful Mrs. Coates."
During the Twenties and Thirties many teas and formal parties were held at Glanmore. The daughters of the house, Philippa and Sheila, as children have done for centuries, used to peek over the bannisters to watch their resplendent elders; sometimes the little girls were brought down in their nightgowns to demonstrate the latest steps of the Charleston. When the girls were in their early teens, Jessie Patterson Phillips Burrows died at 47, but with their genial father as host Glanmore continued as a great house for entertaining.
Philippa and Sheila Burrows, c1925
Music had always played a large role in the life at Glanmore. An upright piano was used by the young people and early in their marriage the Burrows had had a Steinway grand installed in the drawing room. Both Sandy and Jessie Burrows sang at musicales and in local churches. Belleville has had many fine musicians, among them John and Mary Deacon and Leo and Mabel Riggs, with their daughter, Leona; they all contributed their talent to innumerable evenings at the house.
During World War II a number of Air Force stations prang up in the area: Trenton, Deseronto, Picton, and at the Schoo1 for the Deaf, (WW2 photos to come). which had been commandeered for that purpose. Glanmore did its share of entertaining military personnel from all over Canada, the British Isles, and Australia--much to the delight of the Belleville girls.
Sanford Burrows died in 1952, at the age of 71. His elder daughter, Philippa, with her husband, Dr. George Vermilyea Faulkner then lived on in Glanmore. Like her grandmother, she became a painter--but a professional one. She graduated from Bishop Strachan School, in Toronto, and the Parsons School of Design, in New York City. Over the years she made use of many areas of the house as a studio, from the cellar to the attic.
Her husband, the son of Dr. Albert Faulkner, who had served as Minister of Health for Ontario, received his medical degree at McGill University. In 1939, he joined the British Army subsequently volunteering to serve with the British Chindits. He was transferred to the Indian Army Medical Corp, serving as Medical Officer under General Wingate, famed as the instigator of jungle guerilla warfare. After the war he became president of the medical staff at Belleville Hospital.
As his father-in-law had done before him, Dr. Faulkner took great pride and interest in maintaining Glanmore. He loved to have all the fireplaces ablaze in winter and took particular pleasure in the back living room, where he had had the bookcases brought down from the library. Unfortunately, the doctor was not to enjoy his home for long; he died in 1955 at the age of 47.
Philippa then closed Glanmore for a few years and, with her children, Anne and Sandy, went to Mexico where she received a scholarship to attend the Instituto Allende in San Miguel, ultimately obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree. She received several outstanding awards for her work, including first prize in the 1968 exhibition of the Foreign Friends of Acapulco.
On her return to Glanmore, she undertook extensive renovations to the master bedroom. As well, the basement floor and back wing were made into separate apartments by locking the doors providing access; a kitchen with recessed walls to preserve the original was put in what had been the reception room, in front of the dining room. Once more walls were hung with the work of the mistress of the house, only this time they were striking and luminous paintings in the genre of Hans Hoffman, with whom she had studied. She also introduced Mexican folk art, which, combined with Glenmore's Victoriana, created a lively, contemporary ambience. Rock records now began to violate the serenity of the old house that was more suited to the sedate strains of the polka, the waltz or the foxtrot than to the raucous thump-thump of rock n'roll Glanmore braced itself to accept a new generation of music-loving teenagers. In 1971, just short of its centennial, the County of Hastings Historical Society, City of Belleville under a cost-sharing agreement with Heritage Canada purchased Glanmore; its role as a home was over.
DESCRIPTION OF "GLANMORE"
In the early period the estate extended east to MacDonald Avenue and several acres south in the Dufferin Avenue area. Until the late Twenties, Dufferin Avenue South ended just beyond a gray metal garage behind Glanmore. This garage was later replaced by a two-car garage and Dufferin Avenue was joined to Dundas Street.
A vegetable garden was maintained in the lot south of the house and an apple orchard faced MacDonald Avenue. Mr. Wallace Havelock Robb of Abbey Dawn, Kingston, donated a large birdcage which stood on a high post in the middle of the orchard. The corner lot at Bridge Street and MacDonald Avenue was a grove of cedars and spruce trees, which attracted many varieties of birds. Separating this small forest from the house was a field of daisies, buttercups and wild strawberries. A large clump of raspberry bushes bordered the pine grove.
During the Twenties and Thirties a sand pile and swing were in the garden, just east of the house; during the summer, lunch was carried out there in a wicker hamper. A two-seated standing swing was also used. Amateur theatricals were given here by the Burrows children--dances and mystery plays mostly based on the Dr. Fu Manchu movies popular at the time. The entrance fee was two cents, lemonade was three cents, and the children of the neighbourhood supplied the cast and the audience. Profits were donated to the Children's Shelter, which then occupied the red brick house on Dundas Street, now a nurses' residence. Over the years the lots surrounding the house were sold and Glanmore, which formerly stood on the edge of the town, is now in the heart of the city.
Fortunately, we have photographs of many of the rooms from the nineteenth century. The main hall had a dark-red carpet with gold-coloured patterned border on the stair carpet.
Front Hall, c1885. Photographer: R. McCormick.
During the Phillips' years, the reception and dining room on the west side had a Wilton carpet in a muted-brown flowered pattern, the draperies were brown and gold damask. There were portieres between the rooms. The reception room was used as an informal sitting room. Here, the first radio was placed in the Twenties.
In the Thirties an interior decorator from Eaton's in Toronto supervised extensive renovations. The ornate cornice in the front hail was painted out and the hail was antiqued in ivory, which gave a dramatic background to the hanging mahogany staircase, the most dramatic feature of the house. A deep-red broadloom carpet was used throughout the reception and dining room area; red damask draperies were installed. The walls were antiqued in green. A large crystal chandelier replaced the more modest Victorian fixture over the dining room table. The Phillips's' portraits by Judson were left in their original positions.
The drawing room at the east side of the house saw little change over the years. The robin's-egg-blue wails were kept, as this colour keyed in with the richly ornamented ceiling. A decorative painter, Mr. Varner, Sr., periodically repaired and retouched the decorative plaster work throughout the main floor. The original salmon-pink-damask draperies lasted until about the mid-Fifties, when ivory glass curtains were used with the shutters. Here, also, the cluttered effect of the Victorian era was removed arid a more open, spacious effect achieved. The billiard arid cardroom saw few alterations. A new floor was put down in the billiard room in the Forties and during World War II the cardroom, convenient to the kitchen, was used as an informal dining room. The breakfast room in the back of the house was originally an informal dining room. With its hard flooring, it was also an excellent room for dancing.
In the Thirties, when the small reception room was renovated into a more formal room, the breakfast room became the living room of the house. Oriental rugs were used on the hard flooring and, with the fireplace used during the winter, it became a pleasant family room. During the Faulkner period the bookcases were brought down from the library, which gave this room added character.
Second floor: The only hint we have of this floor in the Phillips era is the photograph of the master bedroom, with the large canopy bed. In the major renovation in the Thirties, a mulberry broadloom carpet was put down on the upper hail to replace the Wilton carpet.
In the master bedroom a green broadloom was used with a beige mottled wallpaper, mulberry draperies arid area rugs. The large canopy bed was replaced by two full- sized beds placed along the long wall. A sleigh bed was bought, with equal-sized ends. One end was made into a headboard for the other bed; thus a pair of identical headboards was produced. Mulberry silk and lace bedspreads were used.
When Philippa Faulkner returned from Mexico in 1962, the wallpaper was changed to an ivory and gold raised pattern with deep oyster-coloured carpet and draperies. The large bedroom across the hall fell heir to the canopy bed from the master bedroom. The overhead canopy was removed and only the wood section was used. This east bedroom, known as the spare bedroom, maintained the original Wilton carpet until the Faulkner's replaced it with the green carpet from the master bedroom. This room had a variety of floral wallpapers.
The small room at the front was used over the years as a studio by both Hattie Phillips and Philippa Faulkner, dressing room, nursery, breakfast room, sewing room and, in 1962, a bathroom was installed.
The library, facing east with its red and gold wallpaper, red carpet and large gold-framed paintings always had an ominous atmosphere and was rumored to be haunted. A handsome walnut desk stood in the centre of the room and a red velvet upholstered sofa flanked the fireplace. A small platform made an excellent stage for children's plays or for "playing school'. This bay window, which caught the morning sun, was also a pleasant place for breakfast during the winter, with a fire burning to remove the morning chill.
The back east wing consisted of a bedroom at the top of the backstairs with a storage room behind it. During the late Twenties, a large window facing south was built in this storage room, so one could see the Bay of Quinte. It became a charming girl's bedroom with lavender curtains and upholstered window seat and lavender-and-white-flowered wallpaper. The larger neighbouring bedroom was another girl's room in green. The other back room facing south formerly a nursery, became a bath-dressing-room.
The basement hall contained storage cupboard and a dumbwaiter that brought food to the main floor. The kitchen originally had a coal stove and a gas stave. Beyond the kitchen was a maid's bedroom and a pantry. At the left of the bottom of the stairs was a room that served as a maid's sitting room and later as a summer studio for Mrs. Faulkner. The adjoining room to the north had been a wood working shop for Mr. Phillips, but was later used as a studio and storage room for garden furniture. Originally, there were two coal-burning furnaces, which were replaced by oil furnaces.
Hot-air registers, flush with the floor or walls, were used throughout the house. These were embossed metal grill units, which were practical and aesthetically inconspicuous. Speaking tubes connected the kitchen with the breakfast room and the master bedroom. There were also pull bells in several rooms connected with a series of hanging bells at the top of the backstairs.
Life at Glanmore, © Sheila Burrows Chapline
Digitized images from originals © Anne Burrows Faulkner