Melrose House

26 Brougham Street, Nelson

  • Melrose House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Anika Klee. Date: 3/01/2010.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Anika Klee. Date: 3/01/2010.
  • Melrose House. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Allison Bennet. Taken By: Allison Bennet - AllisonwonderlandNZ. Date: 8/02/2011.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1
List Number 259 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Nelson City

Region

Nelson Region

Legal description

Secs 1091 1093 City of Nelson CT IC/201,IC/46,2D/185,2D/199

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.

Melrose was built for Charles Fowell Willet Watts who arrived in 1841 as one of Nelson's first settlers. He was granted town acres 1091 and 1093 in 1854, but the site on which the house was built was still vacant in early 1878. Watts died in 1881, a short while after the completion of the house.

Percy Boland Adams, his son-in-law and a noted Nelson solicitor, took it over and was responsible for developing the gardens. His son, Noel Percy Adams, inherited the property in 1932.

On his death in 1945, it was left to the Women's Division of Federated Farmers. Mrs Adams had a long association with the organisation, including a term as Dominion President. The WDFF used the house as a rest home for over twenty years, but by 1973 its use was no longer required, and the gift of the property reverted to the Nelson City Council. After much public debate the gift was accepted and the house is currently used as a venue for social functions. It is run by the Melrose Society which is restoring the interior of the house.

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.

Melrose is a well preserved example of the grand houses erected in prominent locations by the wealthy and successful settlers of Nelson. C.F.W. Watts who commissioned the house was a wealthy early resident of Nelson, and his son-in-law, P.B. Adams, who developed the gardens, was a member of the influential Adams family of Marlborough. Many of these houses have now disappeared from Nelson, but Melrose remains as a valuable community asset for the future.

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:

Melrose is noteworthy for its scholarly Classical design, unusual at a time when High Victorian eclecticism was at its zenith. It is nevertheless a most successful adaptation to wood of Classical forms, normally built in stone Stone was considered to be a nobler building material and thus more appropriate for such a grand house, but the expense would probably have dictated that the more cheaply available wood be used. Few houses designed by Scotland now remain.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE

Melrose was once a prominent 'building in Nelson but the trees planted around the grounds now obscure it from view.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Scotland, John

Little information exists regarding John Scotland's career. He is known to have practised as an architect in Nelson from 1867 until the late 1870s. He was an architect of some reputation, as he designed many of the large houses for the city's wealthy residents. These included the house which now contains the Cawthorn Institute, "Muritai" (now demolished) and Fellworth.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Details

Timber framed weatherboard house. Corrugated galvanised iron roofing. Interior walls of lath and plaster.

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:

Melrose is a large dwelling in a Classical style. It is two-storeyed and sited above a well-planted sloping garden. The main aspect faces north. It has a gable roofed wing to the left of the main entrance and a verandah which runs around to the west face of the house, to the right. The square verandah columns have ornate acanthus moulded capitals and are clustered to emphasise the main entrance. The house has tall and narrow, round-headed windows, placed in pairs or triplets around all sides of the house. The eaves and verandah cornice are boldly embellished with dentils and brackets. The wide rusticated weatherboarding is finished with quoins. At the north and west wings are boldly pedimented gables below which bay windows project on the ground floor.

Melrose has a typically Victorian plan with the main passageway running directly from the front door to the back of the house and living rooms opening off either side. The central staircase has ornate balustrading and a square domed skylight above. The living rooms have many Victorian features including dados, picture rails, deeply moulded window and fire surrounds, and plaster relief ceilings.

MODIFICATIONS:

Date unknown

- Chimneys remodelled.

- Original slate roof replaced with corrugated iron.

1980s

- interior alterations to kitchen and rooms on east side of house. Caretakers quarters upstairs modernised.

Completion Date

5th March 1990

Christchurch Star

Christchurch Star

'New Life for an Old Home', 12 December 1975

Wises Post Office Directories

Wises Post Office Directories

1867-1890

Nelson Evening Mail

Nelson Evening Mail

'Still Awaiting a Jury's Verdict', 16 July 1974; 'Melrose Fate in Govt Hands', 16 August 1974; 'Melrose Wanted Free of Terms', 26 August 1974; 'The Challenge of Melrose'; 'City Accepts Melrose Gift';4 March 1975; 'Warning Given on Melrose Use', 20 May 1975; 'Melrose Seeking Funds, Members', 13 December 1975

Colonist

The Colonist

30 July 1881

Nelson City Council

Nelson City Council

Nelson Town Board Rating Rolls: 1874-78, Nelson Provincial Museum

A copy of this 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.