This grand turn-of-the-century Queen Anne home was originally built by Captain George E. Smith, one of Bruce County’s foremost pioneer mariners, ship builders and businessmen. Built in 1907, the house has been owned by four families. “Bruce Coast fo’c’s’le” written by John Weichel writes about the story of George E. Smith and his family, from newspaper reports and town documents and a copy is available at the B&B.
In 1921 the house was sold to the Bell family. T.J. Bell and Sons of Wingham had bought the Southampton Furniture Company and renamed it the Bell Furniture Company. In 1936 the Fitton-Parker Furniture Company Limited bought out Bell Furniture and operated the factory until it was sold to Sklar-Peppler in 1969. The factory is now called the “Southampton Market”, opposite Tim Hortons.
Horace C. Fitton at one time served as mayor of Southampton, acquired the house from the Bell family in 1937. During the incumbency of three generations of Fittons, a beautiful addition was added on the east side of the house (about 1938 or1940), the upper verandah was enclosed into a sunroom and a large addition to the south was built in 1987 to provide a house extension/garage. The family gave the house the name Gawsworth after the 14th century Fitton ancestral manor in Gawsworth, Cheshire, England.
In December of 1999, the Amy family purchased the home. At that time the 2nd floor was a separate apartment and the downstairs was typically rented to summer visitors. The Amy’s meticulously converted it into a gracious and elegant Bed and Breakfast. Three bathrooms were added upstairs and another in the basement suite. The old portion of the house is completely for the use of our guests while we live in the coach house/ garage on the back of the house.
In the spring of 2004, the little cottage behind the house at #1 Huron Street was moved to our back garden. One of the nine rental cottages originally built in the 30’s by Mrs. Greathead, it was slated to be torn down because it overhung the lot line. The new owners needed to rectify the matter, but realized how it would fit into our garden, and knew our interest in Southampton history. CT Movers spent a day bringing it over and placing it on pier posts we installed. Don spent many months in 2004 and 2005 moving walls, tiling and painting readying it for its reincarnation as a B & B getaway! The Garden Cottage, is a favourite of honeymoon couples in the summer.
A second cottage, from the corner of High Street and Front Street, was moved to our property in November 2006. We renovated it, and opened it in the summer of 2008. The Huron Cottage is larger than the Garden Cottage and has an old claw foot tub in the bathroom.
For many years, we have hosted “Art on the Fence” for the Shoreline Artists’ group, on the Saturday of the August long weekend. Jenny loves it when they bring shopping to her! Many established local artists as well as a few new aspiring members exhibit from 9am to 2pm. We have been fortunate to have the works of many local artists represented in the home – in bedrooms and common areas – and we can happily refer you to their creators.