Recognized Federal Heritage Building
© Public Works and Government Services Canada / Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada, 1992.
3590 Brock Road, Pickering Airport Lands, Brougham, Ontario
Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
1853 to 1855
FHBRO Report Reference:
Description of Historic Place
Bentley House, situated amongst mature trees and set back from the road, is prominently located in the historic village of Brougham. It is a well-proportioned, two-storey, brick structure in the Italianate style. It is distinguished by a hipped roof, crowned by a splendid belvedere, and accented by a prominent columned porch. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Bentley House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Bentley House is associated with the growth of Upper Canada after the War of 1812 and the attendant development of surrounding towns. One of the community’s founders, William Bentley, immigrated to Pickering township from New York State in 1829. His brothers joined him in establishing a family store and a patent medicine factory which served the surrounding area and helped the village flourish. Bentley House represents the heyday of the village.
Bentley House is a very good example of an Italianate villa as evidenced by the combination of Renaissance massing and the picturesque expression of its materials and detailing. It is also distinguished by its good functional design, good quality materials and craftsmanship.
Bentley House establishes the present historic character of Brougham village and is familiar to those in the neighbourhood, using Highway 7 and Brock Road.
Sources: Leslie Maitland, Bentley House, 272 Brock Road, Brougham, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 91-163; Bentley House, 272 Brock Road, Brougham, Ontario Heritage Character Statement 91-163.
The character-defining elements of Bentley House should be respected.
Its Italianate style and good quality materials and craftsmanship, as evidenced in: the two-storey massing that is five bays wide; the hipped roof with deep, bracketed eaves; the belvedere crowning the house with glazed, arched openings and bracketed roof; the exterior walls of red brick with contrasting pale brick for window trim and corner quoins; the centre door accentuated by a delicate porch, supported by delicate Italian colonnettes; the interior decorative features such as mouldings and fireplace surrounds.
The manner in which the Bentley House establishes the rural character of Brougham village and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by: its prominent location at the heart of the historic village.
Heritage Character Statement
The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.
Bentley House was built in 1853-55 for William Bentley, a local businessman and founder of Brougham village. It remained in the Bentley family until 1959, when it was purchased and restored by the Gibson family. The site is now part of the proposed Pickering Airport. Transport Canada is the custodian. See FHBRO Building Report 91-163.
Reasons For Designation
Bentley House was designated Recognized for its association with the growth of Upper Canada after the War of 1812 and the attendant development of towns; its Italianate architectural style; and the integrity of the site.
The period after the War of 1812 was one of growth and prosperity in Upper Canada. In 1829, William Bentley immigrated to Pickering Township from New York State. His brothers later joined him and they established a family store and patent medicine factory to serve the surrounding agricultural area. This attracted others to the village, and Bentley's Corners (now Brougham), grew and flourished. Bentley House represents the heyday of the village; development of the railway further south led to its subsequent decline.
A well-proportioned two-storey hipped-roof structure topped by a splendid belvedere, Bentley House is a fine example of vernacular Italianate architecture in Canada.
The Italianate style has two variations, based on different historic precedents. The Tuscan Villa style reflects the Picturesque values of variety in silhouette and textures and intricacy in detail, while the Italian Palazzo form emphasizes the symmetry and tripartite composition typical of Renaissance buildings. Both variations of the style became popular in North America during the period 1830 - 1860. Vernacular versions, made widely accessible in North America through the illustrated writings of American designers Alexander Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing, often combine elements of both types.
Bentley House, on its original four-acre site, is prominently located at the intersection of the Brock Road and Highway 7, the historic heart of the village of Brougham. One of the few remaining structures dating from the earliest period of Brougham's history, the house is a well-known area landmark.
Character Defining Elements
The heritage character of Bentley House resides in its vernacular Italianate style, as evidenced by the combination of Renaissance massing with Picturesque expression in the materials and detailing; and by its significant contribution to the historic village of Brougham.
The Renaissance influence on the design of Bentley House is reflected in its symmetrical massing, shallow hip roof, regular arrangement of windows on all facades, and round-headed windows in the belvedere. Picturesque qualities are expressed in the variety of colours and textures of the materials: stone foundation, polychrome red-and-buff brickwork, large multi-paned sash windows, and elaborate wood trim and wood belvedere. The emphasis on ornamentation typical of Italianate villas in the Picturesque tradition is reflected in the tracery of the segmentally-arched window in the gable, eave brackets and dentils on both the house and belvedere, paneled door casing with carved colonnettes in antis, carved porch pillars, window shutters, and prominent decorative chimneys. This highly successful combination of profile, materials, and detailing must be preserved.
The materials and craftsmanship of Bentley House are of good quality. The house was rehabilitated in a sympathetic manner in 1959 by the Gibsons, and much of the original building fabric remains. The windows and exterior wood trim are apparently original; some of the wood is in need of attention. Repointing of some areas of brickwork has been done without concern for appearance; future repointing and masonry repairs should be done in consultation with a masonry expert. The building fabric should be carefully maintained, and any required repairs should be made in kind.
The interior retains its original layout and proportions. Many of the mouldings, fireplace surrounds, and other decorative features are original. The interior arrangement and original detailing and finishes should be preserved.
While a horse stable and carriage house are no longer extant, the site is suitably landscaped with mature trees and plantings. The garden was originally enclosed by a picket fence; the installation of a replica, based on historic information, could be considered.