Clark House

25 Clark Road, Hobsonville

  • Clark House, Hobsonville. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of www.flickr.com .
    Copyright: Gary Danvers . Taken By: Gary Danvers Collection. Date: 9/10/2017.
  • Clark House, Hobsonville. April 1991. Image courtesy of ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, Record ID 1438-48.
    Copyright: Auckland Libraries . Taken By: Pat Greenfield.
  • Clark House, Hobsonville. Building detail. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: peteshep©. Taken By: peteshep©.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 126 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Waitakere City Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Pt Lots 3-5 Blk X Waitemata SD

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Clark house is closely associated with the history of the Clark family and Clark's Potteries. Rice Owen Clark (1816-1896) was one of the first European settlers in Hobsonville. In 1854 he purchased a block of land with the intention of farming. His land turned out to be of clay, however, and could not be farmed successfully unless it was drained. This led him to produce clay field tiles which enabled him to drain his own land, and they proved popular with other settlers in the area. From these small beginnings a successful business developed. In 1876 his son, R.O. Clark Jnr took over and expanded further. It was he who designed the house on the family land.

In 1908 Clark's Potteries became R.O. Clark Limited. It was run by R.O. Clark Jnr' s two sons, Rice Owen and Thomas. Thomas is regarded as a pioneer in New Zealand clay product manufacturing. By 1930 clay supplies were exhausted in Hobsonville and the firm moved to New Lynn, amalgamating with Crown Lynn in the process, to form Ceramco, which became one of New Zealand's largest companies.

Despite the firm's move to New Lynn the Clark family continued to live in the house. In 1950 however, it was taken over by the then Air Department. Since then it has been the venue for a SEATO conference in 1955, and an ANZUS conference in 1973. At present it is occupied by the Defence Environmental Medical Unit.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The house has strong links with the Clark family who were among the first settlers in the Hobsonville area. They were pioneers in the development of the ceramics industry in West Auckland, their firm eventually becoming one of New Zealand-wide significance.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

The building is a fine example of the Itallanate Villa style favoured for houses at the turn of the century. It is particularly notable for the experimental nature of its materials, developed by its owner as an alternative to brick. These ceramic blocks were marketed commercially, and a number of the buildings that utilized them can still be found in Hobsonville and further afield. Because of its role as a showpiece, no expense was spared in the building as can be seen from the decorative tilework and fine wrought iron lacework of the verandah.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

Although compromised somewhat by its 1967 addition, Clark House, with its unusual cladding and imposing style, is a prominent feature of semi-rural Hobsonville.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

CLARK, Rice Owen Jnr

Rice Owen Clark (1816-1896) was one of the first European settlers in Hobsonville. In 1854 he purchased a block of land with the intention of farming. His land turned out to be of clay, however, and could not be farmed successfully unless it was drained. This led him to produce clay field tiles which enabled him to drain his own land, and they proved popular with other settlers in the area. From these small beginnings a successful business developed. In 1876 his son, R.O. Clark Jnr (1855?-1905) took over and expanded further. It was he who designed the house on the family land.

In 1908 Clark's Potteries became R.O. Clark Limited. It was run by R.O. Clark Jnr' s two sons, Rice Owen and Thomas. Thomas is regarded as a pioneer in New Zealand clay product manufacturing. By 1930 clay supplies were exhausted in Hobsonville and the firm moved to New Lynn, amalgamating with Crown Lynn in the process, to form Ceramco, which became one of New Zealand's largest companies.

Despite the firm's move to New Lynn the Clark family continued to live in the house. In 1950 however, it was taken over by the then Air Department. Since then it has been the venue for a SEATO conference in 1955, and an ANZUS conference in 1973. At present it is occupied by the Defence Environmental Medical Unit.

(This text extract is from the original Building Classification Committee report for Clark House, NZHPT Paper HP200/1990, considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.)

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION

Clark House is a two storeyed bay villa in an Italianate style. It is 'L' shaped in plan with a hipped roof, and has verandahs running along two sides on both storeys. The ground floor has round arched, sash windows, some of which open up from the floor and are known as "Melbourne lights". First floor windows have segmental arches.

The verandahs are adorned by cast iron lacework balustrades, valences and brackets, supported by iron columns. Tilework is an important part of the house's decoration. A band of tiles containing a floral pattern, and made by Clark's own pottery, runs around the house at first floor level. The verandah and hall floors are composed of tiles laid in a mosaic pattern.

Many features of the fine interior decoration still remain. A carved, panelled vestibule with stained glass windows opens into the main hallway with its hand painted, pressed metal ceiling and papier mache dado panels of Art Nouveau design. Other rooms also contain pressed metal ceilings, and three still have their original Italianate fireplaces. The upstairs guest room has a fine timber panelled ceiling.

Notable Features

Construction technique using Clark's Potteries' patent block

Wrought iron lacework of verandahs

Tilework of verandahs and hallway floors

Pressed metal ceilings

Timber panelled ceiling of upstairs room

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1897 - 1902
the exact date of the building is unknown, but it is known that the house was under construction in 1898

Modification
-
Dairy on south side of kitchens removed

Modification
1951 -
Interior modifications associated with change in use from residence to offices; these include: Ground floor bathroom converted to men's toilet

Modification
1951 -
Kitchen fittings and door linking it to dining room removed

Modification
1951 -
Exterior changes include: Replacement of bull nosed corrugated iron Replacement of missing cast iron post on rear verandah with 6" x 6" rimu post

Modification
1967 -
First floor bathroom converted to men's toilet

Modification
1967 -
Darkroom built into dining room

Modification
1967 -
Sewing room combined with adjacent room

Modification
1967 -
An access to box room and small hall closed off

Addition
1967 -
Annex added to west side of house

Construction Details

Foundations and walls: Clark's Potteries Patent Block No 134 (a glazed ceramic block measuring 225 x 225 x 600mm, hollow, with a horizontal divider across the cavity). Floor structure: timber, probably kauri. Roof: timber trusses, corrugated iron cladding.

Completion Date

15th December 1989

Information Sources

Western Leader

Western Leader

'Know your West', 22.1.1980

New Zealand Gazette

New Zealand Gazette

1951, Vol III: 1633

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

'Delegates Agree on All Problems', 14.9.1955: 12 (col 7 & 8)

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

Scott, 1979

Dick Scott, Fire on the Clay: The Pakeha Comes to West Auckland, Auckland, 1979

Fletcher, 1948

B. Fletcher, A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, London 1948

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region office.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.