Homewood Croquet Pavilion/ Summerhouse

50 Homewood Avenue, Karori, Wellington

  • Homewood Croquet Pavilion/ Summerhouse.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: A Dangerfield. Date: 3/12/2012.
  • Homewood Croquet Pavilion/ Summerhouse. Tennis court and lawn, Homewood, Karori, Wellington, 1936. Crown Studios Ltd :Negatives and prints. Ref: 1/1-038577-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23039986. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Taken By: Crown Studios Ltd.
  • Homewood Croquet Pavilion/ Summerhouse. Unidentified guests being served tea and cakes in the garden at a fashion show at Homewood, Karori, Wellington, 6 February 1959. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1959/0403-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23262645. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1369 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 2 DP 83090 (CT WN49C/934), Wellington Land District and the building known as Homewood Croquet Pavilion / Summerhouse thereon.

City/District Council

Wellington City

Region

Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 83090 (CT WN49C/934), Wellington Land District

Summaryopen/close

The summary below is from the Upgrade Report for Homewood Croquet Pavilion / Summerhouse, completed in 2013.

Associated with one of Wellington’s most celebrated homes, the Homewood Croquet Pavilion / Summerhouse was a central focus of its social activities by the early twentieth century. It has historic significance because of its associations with high profile persons from the political, commercial, and social sphere of Wellington and New Zealand, as well as important Commonwealth connections being in the grounds of the British High Commissioner’s residence since the mid twentieth century. In particular, it is a symbol of the wealth and status of the Johnston family, and a suitably elegant venue or backdrop for the social occasions which still occur there today.

In 1844 Henry Samuel Chapman (1803-1881), the Supreme Court for the Southern Division of New Zealand’s first judge, bought 118 acres in Karori. When Chapman accepted the position of colonial secretary of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1852 Homewood was sold to successful merchant and public figure John (1809-1881) Johnston and his wife Henrietta.

When John died the property was transferred to his son, Sir Charles John Johnston (1845-1918), who followed in his father’s footsteps as a successful businessman and politician. Charles was elected Mayor of Wellington in 1889 and became a member of the Legislative Council in 1891. Befitting their social and economic status the Johnstons commissioned a substantial enlargement of their Homewood residence in 1903.

It seems likely that the garden pavilion was constructed around this time as well. Newspaper accounts of the numerous functions held at Homewood make no mention of a summerhouse until 1908. The Johnstons were famous for their hospitality, holding charitable events in their picturesque garden, as well as hosting important dignitaries and family occasions which attracted the elite of Wellington society. Being located next to the croquet lawn the building was used by spectators during early twentieth century tournaments held at Homewood, and was the destination for those seeking tea and strawberries and cream during summer parties.

The pavilion is a small L-shaped gable roofed building with plain tongue and groove north, east and west walls. In striking contrast is the summerhouse’s frontage featuring extensive timber fretwork. The Victorian/early Edwardian character of the building is also communicated by the roof’s cast iron ornamental cresting on the ridges and the zig-zag valance around its base. These aspects are reminiscent of Gothic Revival architectural influence.

In 1932 Benjamin and Lucy Sutherland took ownership of Homewood, which had been subdivided down to a two acre section. It was then that Homewood’s impressive landscaped gardens seem to have largely taken shape, with the summerhouse being retained. Sutherland's Self Help Co-operative Limited was a successful New Zealand grocery store chain. Like the Johnstons, the Sutherlands often staged open days and other events in Homewood’s garden as part of their charitable efforts.

Sutherland’s widow sold the property to the British Government as the residence of the British High Commissioner to New Zealand in 1958. The pavilion remains a valued aspect of Homewood’s garden and as such was restored in 1988.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

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

The pavilion symbolises the wealth and status of the Johnston family and is a reminder of the elegant social occasions for which the house was noted in its heyday and which continue to the present.

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

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

The pavilion is an appealing building combining Classical and Gothic Revival influences. The former include the axial planning, rounded if somewhat unusual arches and the use of acroteria. In contrast, the pitched roof, highly decorative cast iron work and the wooden fretwork are indicative of Gothic Revival influences.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The pavilion sits in the grounds of the Homewood residence. It can be seen from the house but is hidden from outside the grounds by trees.

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Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

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

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

Sited to the north of the croquet lawn, the pavilion is some distance from Homewood residence. It is L-shaped in plan and eclectic in style, featuring Classical and Gothic Revival elements. Gables overhang each end of the building with cast iron cresting adorning the ridge between. The barge boards are plain and the inclined sides of the gables are decorated with crockets which adjoin acroteria at the peak and gable ends. A feature has been made of the fascia boards which have a zig-zagging cast iron valance attached.

Much attention has been given to the treatment of the south facade as this faces the croquet lawn and can also be seen from the house. This facade has not been closed in with boarding or with glazing. The roof of the building is supported on square posts, with fretwork brackets. Beneath the brackets the posts feature capitals formed from mouldings fixed to each face of the posts. A line through the abacus of each capital forms the springing line of non-structural wooden arches. The arches are flanked on either side by metal lattice-work. Above the springing line, fan-like metal spikes join the arches to the fretwork brackets. The upper section of the southern gable is completed with further fretwork. In contrast to this almost excessive decoration, the north and east facades and the west end of the building are plain, clad with tongue and groove boards.

Notable Features

Extensive decoration including cresting, acroteria and fretwork.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1908 -

Modification
1988 -
Renovation

Construction Details

Timber framed, with corrugated iron roof

Completion Date

24th January 2013

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Evening Post

Evening Post

1 December 1909; 19 February 1910; 17 March 1910; 17 September 1934, p.15; 20 February 1937, p.11; 29 November 1934, p.17; 23 January 1940, p.9; 18 November 1940, p.9

Smedly, 1980

Beryl Smedly, Homewood and its Families, Wellington, 1980

Air New Zealand Inflight Magazine

Air New Zealand Inflight Magazine

'A House of Character' March 1979

Free Lance

Free Lance

10 October 1908, 8 October 1915

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.