Cataloguing history

Nick Russell releases his new book Glorious Victorian Homes

Victoria author Nick Russell will be at Bolen Books on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. to speak about his latest book Glorious Victorian Homes

Victoria author Nick Russell will be at Bolen Books on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. to speak about his latest book Glorious Victorian Homes

If there’s one thing Nick Russell knows, it’s houses.

His interest in research and passion for preserving heritage pushed him to write Glorious Victorian Homes, his second book showcasing  historical Victorian homes.

The retired journalist and veteran writer’s passion for research led him to develop a catalogue of Victorian homes to “help fill a void” in the market.

“The books that were available, were old, black and white and they just didn’t do it [justice],” he said.

He took it one step further though, personally transcribing work permits issued by the City since the 1890s right up until the 1920s

“It was a lot of work, but it’s a very valuable resource.”

Russell’s book — available at bookstores now — comes after his first book sold all 1,700 copies published. The launch also aligns with the Read Local BC program launched by The Association of Book Publishers.

In its second year, the two-week initiative aims to celebrate the extraordinary depth of local publishing available in Victoria. Running until Nov. 7 book-lovers can hear local authors give readings of their latest offerings.

Russell takes a detailed look through a 150 years of local architectural history through more than 150 Victorian-style homes.

He uses a combination of photographs and detailed descriptions to show the reader the beauty behind the walls of the homes he features.

Which houses he chooses to feature is all part of a calculated plan.

“I’ve either driven or walked most of Victoria looking for houses that had an interesting architect [design the house], interesting architecture, the streetscape, interesting history to people that live there,” he said, adding that the homes couldn’t be judged on just one aspect alone.

His favourite house though — that’s a tough one.

“I hate that question,” he laughs. “There are so many, for so many reasons.”

But he picks the Ross Bay Villa in Ross Bay, and for good reason.

“It was condemned and had a pending application for its demolition in 1998, so The Land Conservancy thought they should save it,” he said.

With well over 75,000 man-hours, The Land Conservancy along with volunteers brought the 1,200-square-foot home, built in 1865, back to its original Gothic Revival style.

The quaint home’s mustard trim and pale yellow siding can be viewed at 1490 Fairfield Road.

“Under all the debris and feral cats, there was a really lovely house,” he said.

Glorious Victorian Homes is available at local bookstores, tourist outlets downtown and the B.C. Ferries.

Russell will be speaking at Bolen Books Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in support of the Read Local BC Week.

Other events taking place in honour of Read Local BC Week include:

 

Secret and Stories from British Columbia

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.

Russell Books, 734 Fort Street

 

Children’s Storytelling Afternoon

Sunday, Nov.6, 1 p.m.

Russell Books, 734 Fort Street

 

Turning Back Time

Monday Nov. 7, 7 p.m.

Bolen Books, 111-1644 Hillside Ave.

 

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