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House

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roofline of Annandale with blue sky and clouds

Annandale House was built in the 1880s by Edwin Delevan Tillson (below), the first mayor of Tillsonburg and son of the town's founder, George Tillson.

photographic portrait of E.D. Tillsonphotographic portrait of Mary Ann TillsonThe interior of Annandale House is a living monument to the Victorian style of design, known as the "Aesthetic Art Movement."

Popularized by Oscar Wilde, this movement encouraged the use of colour and decorative detailing in all areas of the home.

In 1882, Mrs. Mary Ann Tillson (pictured at right) attended Wilde's "The House Beautiful" lecture in Woodstock, Ontario and applied much of what she heard when decorating her new home.

About the house

Annandale House features extravagant, hand-painted ceilings, elaborate inlaid floors, ornate mantles, colourful stained glass and more.

 History of the house
  • Part of a 600-acre model farm called Annandale
  • Initiated as a retirement project by Tillsonburg's first mayor, E.D. Tillson
  • Utilized the latest technology when it was built including steam heat and gas lighting
  • Took seven years to complete, at a cost of slightly more than $30,000
  • Interior décor inspired by the "aesthetic art movement" made popular by Oscar Wilde
  • Includes stained glass, inlaid floors, painted ceilings and intricate hardware
  • House was sold in 1911 following death of Mrs. Mary Ann Tillson
  • In 1928, the home was renamed Coniston Place by new owner Dr. Charles Van Dyke Corless
  • The house was passed on to Corless' daughter Florence Burn in 1954
 Preservation and restoration
In 1981, Annandale House was facing possible demolition. A group of concerned citizens began a fundraising campaign to purchase and restore the home. Remarkably, the group did not ask for any local tax dollars to achieve their vision. Instead, they asked the municipality to cover the ongoing operational costs. The Town agreed, and the group moved forward with its plan.
  • More than $1.3 million in community donations has been spent on restoration and preservation efforts
  • In 1997, Annandale House was designated a National Historic Site. Its interior has been recognized as the best surviving example of the Aesthetic Art Movement in Canada by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board.
  • An addition has been added to the home containing the community museum, as well as space for programs and exhibits
 Floor plan
 First floor
Period-furnished rooms include the parlour, the library, the dining room, the main hall, the breakfast room and the kitchen.
 Second floor
Two period-furnished bedrooms and assorted local history displays, including the Military Gallery. 
 Third floor
Restored maid's quarters, the Tillson Family History Gallery and the James Wilson Education Gallery

 

 

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