Somerville House

Somerville House

Somerville House

Situated at 238 Waterloo Row in Fredericton, the property and manor called “Somerville House” have seen a myriad of changes and reincarnations over time.

The Hon. John Murray Bliss acquired the land in 1815, and subsequently built a townhouse there that mirrored his country residence, “Belmont,” located eight miles downstream. Belmont, standing opposite the Fredericton Airport, is a recognized National Historic Site. Bliss was a notable political figure who served briefly as “President and Commander in Chief” in 1824, before Lieutenant-Governor Sir Howard Douglas from England took charge.

The early house was transformed into the residence of the Hon. Charles Fisher (1808-1880) in 1845. Fisher, a Father of Confederation and the first elected premier of New Brunswick under responsible government, likely christened the house in tribute to Dr. James Somerville, the inaugural President of UNB, whom Fisher, a past student, deeply respected.

While the house initially survived a fire in 1873, it was completely razed by a huge inferno in 1886. The severity of the fire was partially attributed to the house’s distance from the city water boundaries. Fisher’s widow promptly rebuilt “Somerville House” in its current majestic style.

The house changed hands among different owners until it was acquired by Lord Beaverbrook in 1948 to serve as his Fredericton abode. Later, he gifted it to UNB to function as the President’s residence. The house served as the venue for Senator John F. Kennedy‘s honorary Doctorate award during the 1957 fall convocation.

Between 1959 and 1968, Somerville House was the UNB Law School’s location. It then served as the Lieutenant-Governor’s official residence from 1974 to 1999.

After a comprehensive restoration in 2003, the house has resumed its role as a family home.

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One thought on “Somerville House

  1. I lived in this house for 4 years. From Dec.18th 1944 til sometime in 1949. This house has always been close to my heart. Lord Beaverbrook was our landlord and a General Hill lived in the home below us with his daughter. The “kid” in the area and myself use to play in the ruins of the old carriage house.
    Such sweet memories.

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