St Peter's Church (Anglican)
211 Willis Street, Wellington
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
18th March 1982
Lot 1 DP 53040
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
Designed by Thomas Turnbull and consecrated for worship on 21 December 1879 this is a large wooden church of Gothic style. Like St John's it is on a corner site but lacks the extra elevation. However, the approach from the motorway adds to the importance of the streetscape in one sense.
The impressive interior has a gallery at the west end. Over the years considerable adornment has taken place with some fine stained glass windows, wooden chancel screen and wrought iron railings and gates, carved wooden choir stalls and carved reredos. All of these were designed by F. de J. Clere and reflect his refined sense of proportion and detail. The interior is rich in texture and colour and commands admiration.
St Peter's Church is notable for its long standing ministry to the inner city of Wellington in the fuller social welfare role.
Thomas Turnbull (1824-1907) was born and educated in Scotland and trained under David Bryce, Her Majesty's Architect. He travelled to Melbourne in 1851 and after nine years there moved to San Francisco. He arrived in New Zealand in 1871 and soon established a thriving business. His son William, a distinguished architect in his own right, became a partner in the firm in 1891.
Turnbull was a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was a pioneer in the design of buildings to withstand earthquakes and he was responsible for breaking down prejudice against the use of permanent materials for building construction. He specialised in masonry construction for commercial purposes but was also responsible for some fine houses.
Among his most important buildings were the Willis Street churches of St Peter (1879) and St John (1885), the former National Mutual Building (1883-84), the General Assembly Library (1899) and the former Bank of New Zealand Head Office (1901), all in Wellington.
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.