The warehouse below, originally located in front of the newly built docks, was one of three built in 1841-1842 for Robert Gillespie of Gillespie, Moffatt & Company, to a design by William Footner. It is known as Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. Gillespie, Moffatt & Co was the largest importing house in Montreal and sold a wide range of British goods. The company also traded with the West Indies and by 1837 its boats sailed regularly between Montreal and Jamaica. Even though Robert Gillespie had moved to London in 1822 and did not return to Canada, he owned the company's warehouses in Montreal. These had room for 10,000 barrels of flour, 20,000 bushels of wheat, and 7,000 to 8,000 barrels of beef and pork. They also included special facilities for inspecting, packing, and coopering pork barrels.
Upon Robert Gillespie's death in London in 1863, the warehouses passed to his heirs, who sold them in 1872 to Hosea B. Smith. After that date, they were rented to various import-export traders.
One of those tenants was Bruneau, Currie & Company, a wholesaler of flour and other foodstuffs. The company, based on Place d'Youville in Montreal (just behind the warehouse), was founded in 1880 by Louis-Philippe Bruneau and James Currie. By 1883 the company needed more storage space and rented Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. Following the death of Bruneau in 1890, Currie became the sole owner. In 1911 the company's offices on Place d'Youville were demolished to make way for a new building that housed not only its headquarters but also its warehouse. Three years later Bruneau, Currie & Co moved out of Gillespie's Warehouse Number One. The company, which moved to new premises in the early 1920s, closed down in the mid-1930s.
In 1927 the Smith family sold the warehouse to Townsend Company Limited, dealers in ships supplies, which had been renting it since 1924. However Townsend Co only used the warehouse sporadically and most of the time it was rented to various companies, including cloth manufacturer and retailer Smith-Anderson between 1943 and the late 1960s.
With several signs painted on this building, reading some parts is not easy. Three can be identified though. The oldest one, for Bruneau, Currie & Co, reads:
The following sign, in chronological order, was Townsend's. It reads:
... Ship [Steamship?] Supplies
Finally, the most recent sign, for Smith-Anderson, reads:
There was certainly something else written, especially on the lower part, as traces of more letters can be seen.
More palimsests can be found on each side of the door.
The sign for Bruneau, Currie & Co was painted twice:
Currie & Co
& Co. Limited
Of the signs for Townsend and Smith-Anderson, only the companies' names, in the upper part, are still visible. In the case of the former, it has faded so much only a couple of letters are still legible. Traces of more letters can be seen here and there but nothing that makes sense.
Here as well there are two signs for Bruneau, Currie & Co:
Currie & Co
Youville Square [?]
& Co. Limited
Taces of more letters can be seen but I did not manage to identify any word... apart from:
Location: Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montréal