Mesher, George Charles

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MESHER, George Charles (1860-1938) was one of the pioneers of the use of reinforced concrete construction on the west coast. He made innovative use of flat plate construction in the Pemberton Building, Victoria (1910-11) by extending floor slabs to form outer wall beams that are boldly expressed on the facade of this substantial office building. His father George Mesher was born in Brompton, Co. Kent, England in 1831 and came to Victoria B.C. with his family in 1886 at the age of fifty-five. He created a new business operation called George Mesher & Co. with his son George C., and they offered services both as architects and builders on the commercial and residential commissions which they undertook. By 1900 much of the control of the business was handled by his eldest son George C., to whom credit can be given for the design of the firm's projects after 1900.

The office of G.C. Mesher & Co. is also cited as having "prepared the plans" for the remarkable residence of Herbert Goulding Wilson, St. Charles Street, Victoria, B.C., 1912 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 5 June 1912, p. 4). Several recent published sources have credited this significant Arts & Crafts landmark to an unknown person called "Charles King, architect of California", yet no trace of an architect by this name can be found in California directory searches, newspaper indices, nor in architectural journals published in that state during the period from 1900 to 1920. It is unclear if the Mesher office deserves the sole credit for this sophisticated design, which was almost certainly inspired by the work of Greene & Greene, the architects from Pasadena and Los Angeles who were the acknowledged masters of the California Arts & Crafts style.

George Mesher (Senior) died in Victoria on 8 January 1912 (obituary for Victoria Daily Times, 9 Jan.1912, 9; Daily Colonist [Victoria], 10 Jan. 1912, 7; biog. D. Luxton, Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, 238-9, 512, illus.). His son George C. died in Vancouver in 1938.

(works in Victoria unless noted)

SOUTH TURNER STREET, residence for Alfred Briggs, 1896 (M. Segger & D. Franklin, Exploring Victoria's Architecture, 1996, 156-57, illus.)
TERRACE AVENUE, residence for George Mesher, 1898 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2014, 215-16, illus. & descrip.)
VANCOUVER, B.C., residence for Mrs. Edward Lewis, Robson Street at Chilco Street, 1901; demol. (Vancouver Daily World, 10 July 1901, 8), but credited to "G.C. Meshes [sic], architect and contractor"
CARBERRY GARDENS, residence for the architect, 1907 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2014, 118, illus. & descript.)
McCLURE STREET, at Collinson Street, rooming house for an unnamed client, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 24 Feb. 1909, 21)
GORGE ROAD, residence for Robert Beard, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 24 Feb. 1909, 21)
PEMBERTON BLOCK, Fort Street at Broad Street, 1910 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 13 Feb. 1910, 16, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxiv, 9 Feb. 1910, 39, illus. & descrip.; xxvi, 9 Oct. 1912, 59, illus. & descrip.; Const., iv, March 1911, 56-7, illus.)
LINDEN AVENUE, residence for Albert Todd, 1910 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2014, 133-4, illus. & descript.)
FAIRFIELD ROAD, residence for Rosanna Todd, 1910 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 4, 2009, 172-3, illus. & descrip.)
DUNCAN, B.C., residence for Frank H. Price, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 1 June 1910, 26, t.c.)
OCTOBER MANSIONS APARTMENTS, Cook Street at Fort Street, for Albert E. Todd, 1910 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 20 Feb. 1910, 17, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxiv, 17 Aug. 1910, 27)
VALO BLOCK, Bay Street at Government Street, 1910 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 8 Sept. 1910, 2, illus.)
ST. CHARLES STREET, residence for Herbert Moore, 1910-11 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2014, 193, illus. & descript.)
SAVOY MANSIONS APARTMENTS, Collinson Street at Blanshard Street, 1911 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 19 March 1911, 7, illus. & descrip.)
ST. CHARLES STREET, north of Richardson Street, a large residence for Herbert Goulding Wilson, 1912; still standing 2017, and often credited to " Charles King, an architect of California", for whom no references can be found (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 5 June 1912, 4; M. Segger & D. Franklin, Victoria: A Primer, 1979, 294-95, illus. & descrip.; D. Luxton, Building The West, 2003, 238-39, 512, descrip.; Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2014, 196-97, illus. & descrip.)
SAYWARD BUILDING, Douglas Street at View Street, 1912 (C.R., xxvi, 30 Oct. 1912, 57, illus. & descrip.; xxvii, 4 June 1913, 44, illus.)
PARK MANSIONS APARTMENTS, Cook Street at Leonard Street, 1913 (Daily Colonist [Victoria], 28 June 1913, 11, illus. & descrip.; Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 4, 2009, 47-8, illus. & descrip.)