Site of Woodfield 1846 - 1968
580 Dundas Street
The Pines, later known as Woodfield, was one of only two stone houses in the London area in the mid-nineteenth century. Its builder, Reverend Benjamin Cronyn, and his wife, Margaret Anne Bickerstaff, arrived in the area in 1832.
A native of Ireland, he received his M.A. from Trinity College, Dublin. From 1836 to 1842, Cronyn was rector of St. John’s, Arva and St. Paul’s, London. After 1842, he moved his family to York Street in London. In 1845, he purchased land between William and Adelaide Streets, an area wooded with large white pines.
He built his house after 1845, using stone from the Thames River and pine and black walnut for the woodwork. The wall stone was cut into smooth blocks and the windows were fitted with heavy walnut shutters. The house had two large chimneys and twelve fireplaces. Its finished cellar served as sleeping quarters for male servants, and as an area for candle-making and meat-curing.
Verschoyle, one of the seven Cronyn children, later wrote about life at The Pines in his reminiscences of early London, Other Days. He recalled his father’s fireside tales, as well as walking home alone at night while being wary of possible encounters with bears, as the area was still quite wild at the time. Other occasions he described included the funeral of his eldest brother, Tom (a student at King’s College), and the wedding of his sister, Jane, whose nuptial breakfast was served on the verandah.
The Pines was sold in 1853 to J. B. Strathy, the Customs Collector, and in 1884 to Charles Murray, manager of the Federal Bank of London.
In 1887, the property was bought by John Labatt, who gave it to his daughter Amelia in 1892, on her marriage to Hume Cronyn. She renamed the house Woodfield. The house later passed to her daughter, Katherine Harley, who lived there until 1967.
It was demolished the following year.