James Charles Philip Dumaresq (1840-1906) was a prominent and prolific architect in the Maritime provinces during his time.
His father, Philip Dumaresq, left the Isle of Jersey before 1800 and settled in Sydney, where he was appointed Collector of Customs for Cape Breton. He accumulated considerable wealth from this position, and his son Charles Wittigan Ferdinand Augustus Dumaresq was born in Sydney on July 5, 1806. Charles married Christianna McDonald in 1837, and together they had five sons and seven daughters. Their second child, James Charles Philip (J.C.) Dumaresq, was born in Sydney on December 18, 1840.
Details about J.C. Dumaresq’s early life in Sydney and his architectural career in Halifax and Saint John are limited, as no personal or business documents are known to have survived. He attended common schools in Sydney and later Horton Academy, a Baptist high school on the campus of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
The McAlpine’s Nova Scotia Directory 1868-69 lists J.C. Dumaresq and his father as carpenters in Sydney, while the 1871 Census records Dumaresq’s occupation as an architect and his father’s as a carpenter.
Dumaresq did not receive formal architectural training, unlike some of his colleagues who apprenticed with established local architects or studied architecture abroad.
Dumaresq relocated to Saint John, hoping to find work designing buildings to replace those destroyed in the city’s Great Fire of 1877.
More than 250 buildings are attributed to Dumaresq, either as individual projects or collaborations with other architects throughout his 36-year career.
Dumaresq was a practical and adaptable architect who skillfully combined new building techniques and materials with the prevailing architectural styles of the day. He was privately commissioned to design a wide range of building types, including churches, hotels, schools, factories, private dwellings, banks, and commercial buildings. He also won numerous architectural competitions, including the New Brunswick Legislature (1880), which further solidified his reputation. His buildings stand as enduring monuments to a man who contributed to the establishment of professional architecture in the Maritimes.
To learn more about a few of the buildings Dumaresq constructed in New Brunswick, click on the link.
– Charlotte Street school (Fredericton)
– Saint Luke’s Methodist Church (Chatham)
– York Street school (Fredericton)
– Residence for Frederick B. Edgecombe (Fredericton)
These are just a few of the buildings Dumaresq constructed in New Brunswick. He has a long list of buildings in the other Maritime provinces as well.