London Heritage Farm is a 4.06 acre historical site that overlooks the south arm of the Fraser River. The site offers an 1890’s farmhouse in a park-like setting with lovely heritage and herb gardens, the restored Spraggs family barn, old farming equipment, a small hand tool museum, chickens, bees, allotments and large lawns as well as picnic tables and public washrooms.
The London Farmhouse has been fully restored and furnished to reflect life in Richmond during the 1880 to 1930 era. Six rooms display the furniture, pictures, clothing, quilts and everyday articles of the era and the many London family photographs that hang throughout the house give you a glimpse into their history as one of the pioneer farming families of Richmond. It’s highly likely that you will also see something that reminds you of your family history too.
London Heritage Farm is owned by the City of Richmond and operated by the London Heritage Farm Society. Operations and improvements to the house are financed through donations, the operation of the Tea Room, Gift Shop and Special Events held by the Society.
History of the Farmhouse
Charles Edwin London, aged 16, and his brother William, aged 17, arrived in British Columbia from Ontario in 1877. Three years later, the brothers purchased 200 acres of land for $2000, erected a small farmhouse and began clearing and draining the land in preparation for farming. In 1888, Charles married Henrietta Dalzeil of Dalbeattie, Scotland, and started building the farmhouse that still stands today.
The Farmhouse was built in two stages, with the back, northern wing being completed first and the front, southern part of the house added in the 1890s and finished in 1898. The house is situated in its original location. In addition to the house and farm, the London’s established a general store and post office and built a wharf to receive supplies and to ship their milk and produce (hay, oats and vegetables) to New Westminister.
Charles and Henrietta London had eight children, of whom three died in infancy as was common in those days. Henrietta died in 1916 and the family stayed at London Farm only another three years before selling up and moving to the Marpole area of Vancouver. However, in 1921, Lucy (the London’s eldest daughter) and her husband, Herbert Howse, bought the farm back. They farmed and raise their family at London Farm until 1948. Thereafter, the Farmhouse was rented by a series of families until its purchase by the City of Richmond in 1978.
The London Heritage Farm Society
The London Heritage Farm Society worked with the City of Richmond for several years to save the Farmhouse prior to the city’s purchase of the house together with four acres of original London farmland. Then, once the house and site were registered as a heritage site under the BC Heritage Act, the Society signed a 25-year operating agreement and restored the house.