Having lived in, and visited, London often, I tend to seek out lesser known places to visit when I go there on holiday. One place I was really keen to see this year was The Dennis Severs House in Spitalfields, particularly as in the month of December it is ‘dressed’ for Christmas.
As you can see from the video, it’s not a true historical home, but is there a house in Calgary that might offer something of a similar experience? An individual home ‘dressed’ for a previous time?
Built in 1891, by Senator James Lougheed, and originally named Beaulieu, The Lougheed House fit the bill.
When The Lougheed House was first built, Calgary’s population was only 4,000, and the house sat on bald prairie in its own 2.8 acres. Now, situated on 14th Ave SW, it is in the heart of downtown.
During its early years, the house played host to the great and the good, with one of the daughters dancing with Edward, Prince of Wales, on his visit to Western Canada in 1919.
After Lougheed died, the house had to be sold. For a while it acted as a school, then housed female personnel of the Canadian Army during the Second World War. Post-war it became the headquarters for the Red Cross in Calgary, the drawing room where Senator Lougheed had worked on his government papers and entertained politicians now becoming the waiting room for blood donors.
Finally, in 2000, it was restored to its former glory and is now a museum and restaurant, open daily from Wednesday through Sunday. I can’t believe I’ve lived in this city for almost 30 years and have never visited it. It’s truly a wee gem.