The second Coach and Horses

Esquimalt Coach and Horses has colourful history

This is an interesting piece of property with a history stretching back very likely to the 1860s.

On June 7, 2013, the new CFB Esquimalt Fire Hall opened its doors at the corner of Esquimalt Road and Sturdee Street.

This is an interesting piece of property with a history stretching back very likely to the 1860s.

Some evidence suggests that the first version of the popular Coach and Horses saloon and hotel was in operation as early as 1865, when a brief article in the British Colonist made mention of its existence near Admirals Road.

In 1890, then owner William Smith hired well-known architect and one-time mayor of Victoria, John Teague to design a replacement for the original one-storey structure.

His new pretty, two-storey inn also included a concert hall and quickly became a favourite gathering place for Royal Navy personnel and local community groups.

In 1903, Scottish-born Mary Simpson, purchased the Coach and Horses and astutely operated it with her son Hugh. In 1913, she sold the business to Joseph Hollet and Otto Nitze. In 1922, Mary Simpson passed away at age 62. The Daily Colonist noted in its obituary that she was “better known as Mother Simpson as she was ever ready to assist a friend.”

In 1928, the same year that Hans Kiesow became owner, tragedy hit. During the evening of Nov. 2, the hotel burned to the ground leaving only two chimneys standing.

Local architect Ralph Berrill was immediately hired and designed the new Coach and Horses in a California style. A year later it had become one of the best known drinking establishments in the region.

Thirteen years later in 1942, it was expropriated by the federal government and converted into wartime housing as Moresby House, living quarters for the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.

With a shortage of housing after the Second World War, it was modified to accommodate 19 military families. Later it became barracks for the reserve unit HMCS Malahat but when they moved to new quarters in Victoria, it became the Chief and Petty Officers Mess.

The mess was there until 1994 when it re-located to the current facility. In 1995, the former Coach and Horses was torn down, leaving memories for those who remember its original role – a fine spot for some refreshment.

•••

Greg Evans is Esquimalt Municipal Archives archivist.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria cannabis dispensaries are busy in their first days of legal operation

The Cloud Nine Collective and The Original FARM opened their doors on April 15

Island cycling series boosts youth race schedule

New series creates opportunity for more youth competition

Colwood wins award for Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan

Plan wins Award of Excellence in Government Finance

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read