This house, a large, brick Georgian residence has been reconstructed to be used as a museum and education centre to rekindle, promote and celebrate the strong historical and cultural links between Newfoundland and the west of England, especially those between Trinity and Dorset.
Lester-Garland House provides a visible means of interpreting the historic links between Poole (and the hinterland region known as Wessex) and Trinity (and the northeast coast of Newfoundland), the role of Trinity as a centre of trade and commerce in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and especially of the culture that sprang from these linkages and associations.
Considerable research has been undertaken and completed on the history and into the design of the original structure. Copies of the original diaries, dating from 1761, of Benjamin and Isaac Lester and of other members of the family and of business records of the various owners of the property have been made available to The Society. The history of the residence, those who lived and worked there, the business firms owning or operating the premises over the years, and of all the aspects of the social. economic, commercial, education, artisanal, professional, medical, cultural, developmental, political and religious history of Trinity and the surrounding area have been well documented, researched and published. This collection of information and archival material is one of the finest concerning any structure or town in Canada.
The recollections of the last family who occupied the house (1928-1948) regarding its interior and exterior design, decoration, repairs, furnishings and use made of the rooms and property were recorded in 1993. Samples of all the types of interior finishings and furnishings from the house were saved and assembled. Photographic reproductions showing various exterior and interior aspects of the residence as well as its surroundings have been collected. These photographs date from at least 1891 to the present. Archival material, including original plans for a house, ledgers and other business documents plus the diaries of the Lesters are also available. Samples of bricks were tested by the Atlantic Masonry Research & Advisory Bureau, Inc. at the University of New Brunswick for a number of construction specifications and were examined also at the University of Bournemouth, Dorset. Samples of mortar taken from the existing foundations and brickwork and of beach sand have been analysed by the School of Conservation Science, University of Bournemouth.
The reconstruction of the 1819 house was undertaken on the exact place where it once stood. It has incorporated in this reconstruction the original stone foundations and portions of the end walls (shown) remaining from the demolition conducted in the 1960s (as found in August 1995)
and the original and, as required, new brick. The design, structure and architectural details of both the exterior and interior of the house are based on architectural, archaeological and historical research, photographic reproductions dating from the late 1800s to the present, archival materials, and detailed interior furnishings saved from destruction by the Trinity Historical Society. Items of furniture removed or earlier sold from the house have been located. The building has been restored to represent the various historical periods of the different structures that have existed on the site. The existing and stable stone foundations and brick fabric on the site have been retained.
The Lester-Garland house is open from mid-May to mid-October from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm daily. The price of admission, $20.00 per person, children 6 years and younger are admitted free of charge, includes entry to seven historic sites in the town -Visitors Centre, Lester-Garland House, Lester-Garland Premises (Ryan’s Shop), Cooperage, Green Family Forge, Hiscock House and the Trinity Museum - and may be purchased at the Visitor Centre. Visitors to Trinity are encouraged to purchase their admission pass at the Visitor Centre but may purchase it at any of the seven historic sites.