Built by British Military Engineers in 1818-1820, Commissariat House is the last original, intact structure that was part of an extensive British military complex in St. John's - a complex that originally included Fort Townshend (where The Rooms provincial art gallery, museum and archives is located today), Fort William (today a hotel), Signal Hill, Fort Amherst, and gun batteries up and down the coast.
Before the 1820s, Newfoundland was governed by the British navy - and the grandeur of Commissariat House says a lot about the power of the military here. This was the finest house in St. John's until Governor Cochrane's mansion, completed in 1831, was built next door. Commissariat House is still one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the province.
Ironically, Commissariat House was built both at the end of British naval rule in Newfoundland, and at the end of almost two centuries of conflict between Great Britain and France - during which Newfoundland was often a battlefield. In 1824, the British Government began the process of transitioning Newfoundland from naval to civilian rule. Commissariat House remained the administrative hub for British forces that stayed in Newfoundland until 1870, when the nation of Newfoundland became responsible for maintenance of law and order.
Season: June - Oct
Location: King's Bridge Road, St. John's
Getting Here: The site is at the east end of downtown St. John's - an easy 10 minute walking distance from the main shopping area on Water Street. We are behind St. Thomas' Anglican Church (the blue wooden church on the corner of Military Road and King's Bridge Road)
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NL, A1B 4J6
Off Season Telephone: 709-729-0592
Off Season Fax: 709-729-0870
Did You Know?
That Commissariat House was later used as rectory for St. Thomas Anglican Church and as a nursing home and children's hospital.