Proctor House Museum


Story: Rick Daniels
Photography: Rick Daniels
Monday, September 10 2018

The Proctor House Museum is a Victorian home built in the Italianate Villa style and located in beautiful Brighton, Ontario. The house belonged to many genera- tions of the Proctor family from its’ construction in 1853 to the last Proctor living in the house in 1960.

The house was built in two parts. The original “Salt Box” portion of the house was built by Isaac Proctor, the son of a United Empire Loyalist by the name of Josiah Proctor, who moved his family from their home in Proctor, Vermont, to Canada. This original part of the house contains the kitchen, summer kitchen, pantry, the nanny’s room, and what would have been several smaller bedrooms. The second second, more glamorous part of the house was constructed under the supervision of Isaac’s son, John E. Proctor, in 1867, when he gained much financial success and had funds to add to the house.

When visitors enter the house, they are greeted in the front hallway and can marvel at the red flash glass, spiral staircase, and the overall splendour of the house. They are then shown the parlour, a room for entertaining important guests and host- ing formal events. This is also where the best furniture was showcased. Visitors are then shown the morning room, the Victorian equivalent to a modern family room. This is where the family would have had their tea and breakfast, and would do arts and crafts, have piano lessons, practice mending, and play games. There are still original Proctor owned games located on the centre table of the room. Next is the study, which would have been used as an office by John E. and currently holds a large collection of encyclopedias, novels, and various family Bibles. After that, guests are shown the din- ning room, a room where no children were allowed to enter until they were about age fifteen or sixteen, and had finished their formal etiquette training. The dinning room also required full formal dress at all times. This room also holds the original Proctor dinning set and hand painted china from Stella Proctor, John E.’s daughter and the last Proctor to reside in the house.

Guests are then taken upstairs where they are first shown the master bedroom, which portrays loving and involved parents, something very uncommon in upperclass Victorian families. Then, they are taken across the hall to our gallery. The gallery was originally two bedrooms, and possibly a small water closet, but it is now one room that showcases our collection of period artifacts. The guests are then taken to the “Haunted Hallway”, named after all the spooky events that have occurred there over the years, and are shown the little girl’s room. They are then taken to the nanny’s room where guests can also see the attached nursery. Finally, just down the hallway, guests can find one of the two second-floor double privies left in Ontario.

Finally, back downstairs, the tour concludes with a tour of the large kitchen, summer kitchen, and pantry. After the tour is complete, guests can browse our gift- shop located in the pantry or check out the tack shop and grounds outside.

The Proctor House Museum is a house frozen in history and run by the Save Our Heritage Organization. The Save Our Heritage Organization was founded by local members of the Brighton community who, along with many others in the town, raised funds to save Proctor House from being demolished, and began restorations of the house in 1972. Proctor House opened as a museum to the public in 1976. After visiting the museum you can enjoy one of the scheduled productions that are put on several times throughout the year at our Brighton Barn Theatre, located just behind the house.

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