35 Knowles Street, Christchurch

  • House, Christchurch.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • House. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1883 Date Entered 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 2 DP 474532 (CT 657427), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as House thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 8 June 2017.

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 474532 (CT 657427), Canterbury Land District


The two-storeyed house at 35 Knowles Street in Christchurch was constructed in 1908 to designs by England Brothers Architects and has historical and social significance for its association with businessman Henry W Jennings and architectural significance due to its English Domestic Revival design.

Fashionable Knowles Street was formed in 1906 and ‘first class building sections’ were advertised for sale there the following year, 1907. Christchurch Auctioneer, Henry William Jennings, purchased two adjoining sections on Knowles Street in August 1907 and had a house built soon after. Designed by well-known architectural practice of England Brothers (Robert and Edward England), the house at 35 Knowles Street was built for Jennings in 1908.

The house at 35 Knowles Street is part of a wider area of large architecturally designed early twentieth century houses in the Merivale/Papanui area that contribute to the streetscape. Its style is reminiscent of English architect Charles Voysey’s house ‘The Orchard’, Chorley Wood, England (built in 1899). The façade has two asymmetrical cross gables sweeping low at the outside edges and a single asymmetrical gable that sits across the north end of the east façade. At the south-east corner is a side entrance porch, with decorative timber work, above which sit a pair of flat dormer windows. The other windows are mostly long and low, with the exception of a feature Palladian window on the front (south) façade. The walls are cement stucco and Marseilles tiles cover the roof.

In November 1915 Jennings sold the dwelling and its contents. It was subsequently owned by a series of professionals, including another auctioneer, a medical practitioner, a sales manager and a solicitor. In 1950 the house was converted into two flats. In 1981-82 the building reverted to being a single dwelling and at that time the Palladian window was installed on the front façade. A gabled wing was added to the rear as an extension of the living room on the ground floor.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

England, Robert William & Edward Herbert

Robert William England (1863-1908) was born at Lyttelton, the son of a timber merchant. Educated in Christchurch, he chose to go to England for his architectural training and began practicing as an architect in Christchurch around the age of twenty-three. In 1906 he took his younger brother Edward (1875 - c.1953) into practice with him.

Among the notable residential designs the England Brothers were responsible for are McLean's Mansion, (1899 - 1902), and the third stage of Riccarton House (1900). Robert was more concerned with the final effect achieved than stylistic fidelity and drew on a variety of styles including the English Arts and Crafts movement. Some of their more well-known public works include the former D.I.C building in Cashel Street (1908), the A.J White building on the corner of Tuam and High Streets (c.1904-1910) and the Kaiapoi Woollen Mills building in Manchester Street (now demolished). They were also involved in designing a number of churches around Christchurch, including Knox Church in Bealey Avenue and St Albans Methodist Church.

The firm continued after Robert's death in 1908 until 1941, although it is generally considered Edward was a more conservative architect than his brother and the firm's most notable commissions occurred before Robert's death.

S Butler and Son

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1908 -

1950 -
Conversion to two flats

1981 - 1982
Reversion to single dwelling

Gabled wing added to rear.

Completion Date

6th April 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.