Historical Plaque Properties


Annie Sydney-Smith - Gentlewoman
54 Waterloo Street N.
Stratford, ON

Annie Sydney-Smith, nee Tye, was born in 1825 in Carshalton, Surrey, England. She married John Sydney-Smith, a retired colonel, eleven years her senior, from Brighton, England in Cobourg, Ontario in May 1845. The couple were to become parents of nine children.



In 1866 John Sydney-Smith purchased lots 6, 7, 8, 31 and 32 in Stratford from William McCulloch, the original surveyor of the land, and proceeded to build 72 Waterloo Street North - a designated heritage property.  It was here that Annie raised her large family alone as her husband died at about the same time as the house was completed. His headstone can be seen in the cemetery at St. James Anglican Church.


In 1888, 72 Waterloo was passed on to Annie’s oldest daughter, Lucy, and her husband, Herbert Johnston. The Johnston descendents lived there until the 1980s. Annie had a house built next door on part of the land that had been purchased by her husband in 1866.

In 1889 Annie moved into the newly built two storey, yellow brick house at 54 Waterloo Street North. It was affectionately known to the family as “Granny’s Cottage.” The house was set back on the lot so that her daughter and son-in-law could continue to enjoy their view of the river from their front porch. Unfortunately, Annie had only three years to enjoy life in her new home as she died in March of 1892.


Annie’s son Edward, a prominent lawyer, raised his family in the house for over nine years before moving to a grander home on Douglas Street. Edward’s son, John Sydney-Smith, Annie’s grandson, was killed in the First World War. His name is commemorated on Stratford’s War Memorial.