Our St. John's Bed and Breakfast
Hi! We are Eldon and Mark and we are delighted to welcome you to The Postmaster’s House Bed and Breakfast.
We were both born and raised in Newfoundland (Mark from St. John’s, and Eldon from St. Alban’s – on the south coast of the island), moved away, and later found the pull of the island so strong that we had to ‘come home out of it’.
We are also both trained musicians. Mark spent over a decade on the opera stages of Europe and Eldon is a classical pianist and vocal coach whose students now grace the opera stages of North America and Europe.
Our love of travel, food, people, culture, beauty, and art is the main reason we bought this Victorian-era house and opened a B&B. We take pride in this beautifully renovated house, in our town, and in our culture.
The Postmaster’s House now shines with comfort, character, and elegance. Classic taste and inviting furnishings blend with a bright, airy atmosphere to create a fresh, but still traditional look to welcome guests.
Wherever we go, we always make a point of trying as much local food as possible. As a matter of fact, we often plan our travels around food! We love food so much that we have added a couple of culinary establishments to our business!
The Postmaster's Bakery
The bakery originated as an online micro-bakery in the back kitchen of the Bed & Breakfast. Now located at 85 Bond Street (soon moving to 134 Military Road, at Rawlin’s Cross), the bakery has quickly established itself as a local favourite serving up freshly baked treats and breads 7 days a week.
The Postmaster's Garden Café
The café is located at 306 Mount Scio Road, at the Botanical Garden, and is the third branch of the Postmaster’s brand. The food is brunch style, with traditional Newfoundland fish cakes, lobster bisque (when in season), as well as a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches. The Botanical Garden itself is well worth the trip!
About the house
Although The Postmaster’s House is located in the heart of downtown, just minutes walk from cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, and many of the scenic and historic attractions, it is located on a quiet residential street, a couple of blocks removed from the hustle and bustle so that that is quiet and peaceful.
20 Gower Street is a fine example of Second Empire architecture in downtown St. John’s. This style was made popular in St. John’s by John T. Southcott after the devastating Great Fire of 1892.
Gower Street was in the direct path of this fire which destroyed much of the city, and the house signifies the renewal and rebirth of St. John’s after 1892, particularly as it relates to the merchant class style homes. Second Empire attributes include the Mansard roof which is pierced by peaked dormers, one with a double window, and one with a single window. The two-storey bay windows add dimension and depth through the use of stained glass, fascia boards, and wooden shingles.
The main door has two segmented side lights and a transom while the open, covered porch has a low pitch pedimented roof supported by two brackets. It is sheathed in narrow wooden clapboard with wide corner boards and wide window mouldings and a moulded string course runs under the eaves.
20 Gower Street is valuable for its historic associations with William H. Whiteley (1834-1903). Whiteley was a fisherman, merchant, magistrate, postmaster, inventor, and politician. Whiteley established an extensive fishing business at Bonne-Esperance, a small island of Quebec, and employed around 50 people in the cod, salmon, herring, and seal business. He was also responsible for having invented the cod trap, a large box-like apparatus with netting and an opening into which the cod are directed by a long net extending to the shore. Whiteley’s invention became immensely successful and improved the overall productivity of the cod fishery.
Whiteley was a long-term lessee of 20 Gower Street, and several members of his large family lived in this and the surrounding duplexes for many years. William Whiteley Jr. was the occupier of 20 Gower Street from ca. 1909 to 1915, and an E. Whiteley occupied the home from ca. 1918 to 1931, and it remained part of the estate of J. Whiteley until ca. 1955.