Woodside

4 Lovelock Avenue, Dunedin

  • Woodside.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Heather Bauchop.
  • Woodside.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Helen McCracken.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2184 Date Entered 23rd September 2005

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Registration includes part of the land (being lot 6 DP 1671) in certificate of title OT372/226 and the building, fixtures and fittings thereon. See Plan in Appendix 4 of registration report.

City/District Council

Dunedin City

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 6 DP 1671 (CT OT372/226), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

Woodside was built in 1876 as the residence for Supreme Court judge and prominent Dunedin citizen Henry Chapman (1803-1881). The house sits on an elevated site overlooking North Dunedin and makes a striking contribution to the townscape, with its distinctive architectural style and use of plain concrete in its construction.

Woodside was designed by Francis Petre (1847-1918) 'Lord Concrete', the first New Zealand born architect to gain wide recognition on a national scale, and particularly known for his early use of concrete in both residential and religious buildings, and his basilicas built for the Roman Catholic Church. At its opening it was described as being built in the Tudor Renaissance style and it is notable for its steeply pitched crow-stepped gables and castellations over the bay windows, and for its concrete construction.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Woodside has historical significance. It is a significant element in the period of Dunedin development which saw the elite expressing their position through their estates. Woodside is a good example of "gentlemen's residence", a style and scale of building which looked back to British precedents of landed gentry with substantial houses and grounds. Its subsequent history of use as a Jaw Hospital also represents the change of use of such mansions once on sold by their original owners. Its subsequent division into flats is also typical of the fate of some of the larger gentlemen's residences in Dunedin.

Woodside also has significance through its association with prominent citizen, judge and lawyer Henry Chapman. Chapman was an important figure in New Zealand's legal history, as an early judge in the Supreme Court, and a figure in the cultural life on Dunedin.

Woodside has outstanding technological and architectural significance.

The house was designed by nationally prominent Dunedin architect Francis William Petre (1847-1918) and is an important element of his oeuvre. Woodside has particular significance as an example of Petre's residential work, he being far better known for his buildings for the Roman Catholic Church, in particular his Basilicas.

Woodside has technological significance. It is an example of Petre's innovative and pioneering work in mass concrete construction. In 1876 this method of concrete construction was still in its infancy in New Zealand and along with Cargill's Castle and St Dominic's Priory, Woodside provides an important insight into the technology of the period. As noted by Peter Shaw, Woodside is one of the few examples where the concrete construction is clearly visible.

Woodside has aesthetic significance. Woodside's prominent position on an elevated site overlooking North Dunedin, and adjacent to the Botanic Gardens makes it a striking visual element in the townscape of North Dunedin. In addition its stark appearance, both in its design and materials give it strong visual appeal.

Woodside has outstanding technological and architectural significance.

The house was designed by nationally prominent Dunedin architect Francis William Petre (1847-1918) and is an important element of his oeuvre. Woodside has particular significance as an example of Petre's residential work, he being far better known for his buildings for the Roman Catholic Church, in particular his Basilicas.

Woodside has technological significance. It is an example of Petre's innovative and pioneering work in mass concrete construction. In 1876 this method of concrete construction was still in its infancy in New Zealand and along with Cargill's Castle and St Dominic's Priory, Woodside provides an important insight into the technology of the period. As noted by Peter Shaw, Woodside is one of the few examples where the concrete construction is clearly visible.

Woodside has aesthetic significance. Woodside's prominent position on an elevated site overlooking North Dunedin, and adjacent to the Botanic Gardens makes it a striking visual element in the townscape of North Dunedin. In addition its stark appearance, both in its design and materials give it strong visual appeal.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Woodside represents an important aspect of New Zealand history, namely the development of building technologies and architectural ideas. The house provides an insight into the transplantation of both ideas and technologies to the New Zealand environment. Both Petre's design, and Henry Chapman's commission reflect the importance of Britain in providing the images and ideas of what a gentlemen's residence should look like. Woodside represents that period of New Zealand history when status and establishment were being negotiated, and the house is a physical embodiment of that process.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

Woodside has an important association with both Henry Chapman and Francis Petre. Henry Chapman was significant as a figure in the legal history of New Zealand, being an early Supreme Court judge and also a significant figure in the cultural life of Dunedin.

Francis Petre "Lord Concrete" as he was known in his life time, was an outstanding New Zealand architect, the first New Zealand born architect to attain prominence. As one of Petre's earliest buildings designed in concrete, Woodside has outstanding significance.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

Woodside shows outstanding technical accomplishment and design. As an early example of concrete construction it stands as a monument to the development of that technology and to the skill of Francis Petre as an architect and engineer. It is a find example of a Tudor Renaissance style building with its striking design emphasised by the materials and by its situation.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

This building is a rare example of early concrete construction, particularly representing a substantial residential building. It is one of only a handful of structures from the 1870s that represent this use of technology.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

Woodside is sited on a prominent site overlooking North Dunedin. It is adjacent to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. It is visible from much of North Dunedin. As such it forms an important element in the historic landscape of that part of town, representing its earlier history of occupation with substantial gracious houses occupied by the upper classes, and now a largely student area.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Petre, Francis William

Petre (1847-1918) was born in Lower Hutt. He was the son of the Hon. Henry William Petre and grandson of the eleventh Baron Petre, Chairman of the second New Zealand Company. Petre trained in London as a naval architect, engineer, and architect, returning to New Zealand in 1872. During the next three years he was employed by Brogden and Sons, English railway contractors, superintending the construction of the Dunedin-Clutha and the Blenheim-Picton railways.

He set up office in Dunedin in 1875 as an architect and civil engineer. He designed a house for Judge Chapman (1875), followed by 'Cargill's Castle' (1876) for E B Cargill and then St Dominic's Priory (1877), all in mass concrete.

It is for his church designs and for his pioneering use of concrete that Petre is most recognised. His church buildings include St Joseph's Cathedral, Dunedin (1878-86), Sacred Heart Basilica (now Cathedral of the Sacred Heart), Wellington (1901), St Patrick's Basilica, Oamaru, (1894 and 1903) and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch, (1904-05), which is the outstanding achievement of his career. Petre's commercial buildings include the Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Building (1881-82) and Pheonix House (now Airport House, c.1885), both in Dunedin.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Woodside was built in 1876 as the home of the nationally prominent New Zealand lawyer Henry Chapman. Woodside was designed by Francis Petre, an architect renowned for his work in concrete, and for his buildings for the Roman Catholic Church. Woodside is one of Petre's first buildings in concrete, predating later notable structures such as St Dominic's Priory and Cargill's Castle.

Henry Chapman (1803-1881) was born in Kennington, Surrey in 1803 and educated at a private school in Kent. In his teens he started work in London at a Banking House, and then for a Dutch financial agent. He had been a journalist in Canada, founding the Montreal Daily Advertiser. He became interested in liberal reforms for representative government. He studied law in the 1830s in London. He was deeply interested in Wakefield's New Zealand immigration project. In 1840 he married Catherine Brewer, and was appointed to the Bar.

In February 1840, under the influence of E. G. Wakefield, Chapman began publishing the New Zealand Journal as proprietor-editor. The newspaper was the unofficial organ of the New Zealand Company, which subsidised it. It was published fortnightly for the next three years. Chapman's interest in New Zealand led in 1843 to his appointment by Lord Stanley, secretary of state for the colonies, as judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand for the southern district, which included Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth and later Christchurch. With his wife and two-year-old son, Henry, Chapman arrived in Auckland on 23 December 1843 on the Bangalore. He was the first puisne judge in New Zealand.

In January 1852 Chapman was offered the position of colonial secretary of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), which he accepted. Released from the constraints of a position in the judiciary, he was soon involved in controversy. He followed local opinion and his own convictions in opposing further transportation of convicts, against the policy of the governor. He was dismissed by the Colonial Office. In 1854 he went to Melbourne to practise law. He entered politics, being elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in February 1855. For periods between 1857 and 1862 he was a member of the Legislative Council and an influential and active figure in government. He also lectured on law at Melbourne University and was the Melbourne correspondent of The Times of London. In 1862 he was appointed a temporary judge in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

In early 1864 Chapman was offered a post as judge of the Supreme Court in New Zealand. He accepted and returned to preside over the Court in Dunedin. Here he settled and was to remain for the rest of his life. In 1866 he lost his wife and three of his children; they were drowned in a shipwreck while returning from a visit to England. He was Attorney General for four years, and Member of Parliament for a short time.

On 11 April 1868 at Avoca, Victoria, Australia, he married Selina Frances Carr. One son, Frederick Revans became a distinguished judge in New Zealand, and another son, Martin, founded the Wellington legal firm now called Chapman Tripp Sheffield Young. Chapman was a member of the council of the University of Otago from 1869 to 1881 and its chancellor from 1876 to 1879. He had progressive views on education: in August 1871 he presented to the council Learmonth Dalrymple's petition requesting admission of women to the university. His wife, Selina Chapman, was the first signatory to the petition.

After his retirement in 1875 Chapman pursued business interests, lent assistance to community projects and gave lectures. He retired on a pension of £750 in 1875, and living on the earnings of his Central Otago sheep station. Woodside was to be his retirement house. Judge Henry Chapman commissioned Francis Petre to design the substantial house in Dunedin. The house was built to take advantage of views of the city, bay and bush surrounds. It was noted for its splendid interior, and was highly regarded.

A newspaper report of the time declared:

"One of the surest indications of the prosperity of a young country is the growth of a refined taste in architecture. In the early settlement of a colony, people are not over particular as to the sort of dwellings which they live in: but as things calm down, and the excitement attendant on the founding of a new settlement ceases, sensible folk look out for comfortable homes. In this respect the settlers of Otago have not been behind their neighbours. The cosy snuggeries and fine mansions which are springing up around us every day serve to illustrate the progress which we are making in the march of civilisation and refinement. We have been induced to make these remarks by a visit which we paid a few days ago to Woodside, the new residence of our respected fellow citizen, Judge Chapman...The building is of concrete and the style of architecture is Tudor Renaissance. The castellated gables and parapets which ornament the exterior of the structure give it a rather imposing appearance, and the octagonal chimneys and tower windows are in strict keeping with the entire design. As illustrating the superiority of concrete over other building materials, we may state that one wall which runs to the extreme length of 37 feet [11.1m] is only 5 in [125mm] thick, whilst the thickness of the strongest wall in the house is but 9 in [225mm], yet not the slightest symptom of a crack is perceptible in any portion of the building. One of the principle features of the structure is the entrance hall with its tessellated pavement of fancy coloured encaustic tiles. In the centre of this pavement, the crest and coat of arms of the Judge's family are elegantly wrought in mosaic. The hall goes right up to the roof in height and it has a recessed gallery on three sides.

In conclusion, we must compliment Judge Chapman on his taste and enterprise in erecting such a dwelling and too much praise cannot be bestowed on the architect Mr F.W. Petre for his skill and judgement in designing of such a building."

On his retirement from the bench he went into private practice. After his retirement he continued to lecture and involve himself in community issues. He died at Dunedin on 27 December 1881, aged 78 years.

Following his death, his sons Martin and Frederick sold off four adjoining sections. His family stayed in the house until 1905.

James Park and Eardley Reynolds bought the house in 1905. The house was later owned by R. Brinsley, the proprietor of a local iron-foundry firm. During the First World War he leased it to the Red Cross as a hospital. It operated as a Jaw Hospital until 1921. In 1922 it was sold to Dr Thomas Fergus.

The Phillips family bought the house in 1923. During the Phillips ownership the property was converted into flats. The layout was changed and the rooms divided into a "hotpotch of kitchenettes, bathrooms, toilets and bed-sitting rooms."

The current owners renovated the property in 1996, and the house has been used as accommodation for visiting lecturers and post graduate students since then. The house has 12 bedrooms, a shared lounge and kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. Surface cracks were re-plastered, windows repainted, and the conservatory repaired and restored.

Physical Description

Woodside is a substantial two storey plain concrete residence built on a prominent site overlooking North Dunedin, and adjoining the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. The surrounding residences are mostly villas, used for student accommodation.

On its opening Woodside was described as Tudor Renaissance style. According to Apperly et al, with reference to Australia, the Tudor style was popular its evocation of British qualities of the picturesque and for its scale. Victorian Tudor drew from the English and Scottish architecture of the sixteenth century, with ideas of the Renaissance grafted on. The style aimed at evoking the images of the battlemented country mansion. The parapeted gable was a notable feature of the period, as are the bay windows, the string course demarcating the ground and first floors, and the tall chimneys. Buildings were usually brick.

Woodside's roof plan reveals a series of five transecting steeply-pitched gables. Its four main elevations are noted for their castellated and crow stepped parapeted gables and spare and elegant detailing. The west elevation is notable for the conservatory that projects from the side of the main house.

The north elevation provides an imposing street frontage further emphasised by the raised site. The façade is symmetrical with the angled bay windows echoed on both the ground and first floors, and finished with castellation, repeated on the crow stepped gables above. The main entrance is marked by a partially enclosed porch which echoes both the detailing on the window heads and the castellation on the bay windows.

The window detailing is also an indication of the Tudor style, in their detailing and form. The masonry mullions, as well as the mullioned windows were an important element. The double hung sash windows are notable for their form which further mirrors the crow stepped gables on the gable ends.

The original interior layout describes a library on the left of the entrance hall. Through the library were the drawing room and a small sitting room facing the city. The dining room looked towards the Botanical Reserve. On the first floor there was a suite of rooms and several bed-chambers. There were several bathrooms on that floor.

The large entrance foyer with its mosaic tile floor, stair with decorative balustrading and the gallery above is also representative of the Tudor style which was sometimes noted for its large interior spaces.

Petre was, according to Ian Lochead "a pioneer in the use of concrete in New Zealand architecture, he employed this material more extensively and more imaginatively than any of his contemporaries."

Ian Lochead identifies Petre's first important architectural commission as St Dominic's Priory in Dunedin, begun in 1877. It was a large building, of monolithic concrete construction, was "executed in a simplified Gothic style adapted to the innovative use of materials." St Dominic's Priory is registered as a Category I historic place.

The interior is plain without much detailing with the exception of the tile work in the foyer. The layout is largely unchanged. Two large rooms have been partitioned, and the internal access to the conservatory has been blocked, with the doors left in situ within the wall. The bathrooms have been modernised. The original fireplaces are still in place.

Comparisons

Woodside is an early example of concrete construction, and particularly for a domestic dwelling. According to Geoffrey Thornton, the oldest extant concrete building in New Zealand is Invermay (1862) in Otago (Category I No.2350). Thornton cites Woodside as one of the important surviving examples of concrete construction from the 1870s, and describes Francis Petre as doing "more than any other architect of the period to further the interest in this material [concrete]." Chris Cochran also notes Judge Chapman's house [Woodside] as an important house from this period.

Clifton (1871) (currently considered worthy of Category II, NZHPT reference No. 2623) is also an important early example of concrete construction, this time additions to an existing timber dwelling in the form of a four storey concrete tower and additional rooms. Its early date of construction and use of concrete seems to give it more importance than is currently indicated.

Abbotsford Farm Steading (1870), the largest and earliest concrete farm steading in the country, designed by Mason and Wales, is also registered as a Category I historic place (No.7579).

Also notable is the Warden's Court (1875) in Lawrence, designed by David Ross (Category I, No. 5184)

Petre's own St Dominic's Priory (1877, Category I No. 372) is predated by Woodside. Woodside stands out as one of the most substantial and important early concrete dwellings in New Zealand, and is also the first concrete building constructed by Petre, contemporary with Cargill's Castle (Cargill's Castle Ruin, Category II, No. 3174).

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1876 -

Designed
1875 -

Construction Details

Plain Concrete construction with timber joinery and slate roof

Completion Date

13th December 2005

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Apperley, 1989

Richard Apperley, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds, A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present, Sydney, 1989

Cochran, 1980

Restoring a New Zealand House, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Wellington, 1991 [first published 1980]

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Edwards, D. G. 'Chapman, Henry Samuel 1803 - 1881', updated 16 December 2003 URL: http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/; Ian J. Lochhead, 'Petre, Francis William 1847-1918', Volume 2, 1870 - 1900', Wellington, 1993, pp.383-384

Galer, 1981

L. Galer, Houses and Homes, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981

Miller, n.d.

K E Miller, 'Henry Samual Chapman: Colonizer and Colonist' MA Canterbury University College, University of New Zealand

Saturday Advertiser

Saturday Advertiser

5 February 1876, p.7.

Shaw, 1997 (2003)

Peter Shaw, A History of New Zealand Architecture, Auckland, 1997

Smedly, 1980

Beryl Smedly, Homewood and its Families, Wellington, 1980

Spiller, 1992

Peter Spiller, The Chapman Legal Family, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 1992

Thornton, 1996

Geoffrey Thornton, Cast in Concrete: Concrete Construction in New Zealand 1850-1939, Auckland, 1996

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area 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.