Historical Plaque Properties


James Walkom - Property - Perth Carriage Works
49 Huron Street
Stratford, ON

The two-and-a-half storey yellow brick house at 49 Huron Street was built in 1904 for James and Mary Walkom.

James Walkom was the son of Walter Walkom and Elizabeth Thomas, natives of Cornwall, U.K. The Walkoms had come to Canada with five children in the early 1840s and farmed in Darlington Township, near Bowmanville. James was their first child born in Canada, on May 24, 1844.


At the age of about 25 James moved to Stratford and, with Jasper Pridham, who may have been a friend of his father’s, founded a carriage-making business on the north side of the Avon River near the Huron Street stone bridge. Under the name of the Perth Carriage Works, the company manufactured carriages, sleighs, etc. and operated from 1869 until the early 1900s.


In 1872 James married Mary Pridham of Fullarton Township. Mary, who was born on September 5, 1848, was the daughter of James’s partner Jasper Pridham and Honour (Wade) Pridham. The Pridhams were natives of Devon, U.K. and, like the Walkoms, were farmers who had come to Canada in the early 1840s.

According to Mary’s obituary, James and Mary lived first on Norman Street. They appear to be living next door to the carriage works on Huron Street in the early 1880s but by 1889 their residence is shown as Hibernia Street near St. George Street. By 1896 they are back at the carriage works property, living above the showroom. In 1904 they moved into the new house, which was built a little to the north of the existing buildings (these seem to have been demolished soon after). The 1904 date is mentioned in the obituary and is confirmed by the Stratford fire insurance plans, which show that the foundations of the house had been erected by the summer of that year.


James and Mary had one child, Roy, who died at two months of age in 1874. James died at 49 Huron Street in November 1921 at the age of 76. His obituary states: “The late Mr. Walkom retired a number of years ago and here among his old friends he spent the remainder of his life, always cheering others on and helping those who needed help.” He is buried in Bethel Munro Cemetery in Fullarton Township/West Perth, where his parents are buried.


Mary lived on in the house at 49 Huron until her death at 93 in February 1942. Since James’s death she had had the company of a niece who resided with her. She is buried with her husband in Bethel Munro Cemetery.