Whitby Lodge

330 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland

  • Whitby Lodge.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2640 Date Entered 30th June 2006

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent of registration includes all of the land in CT NA44C/303 (as shown on Map A in Appendix 4 of the Registration Report), and the building, its fittings and fixtures thereon.

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 28795 (CT NA44C/303), North Auckland Land District

Summaryopen/close

Erected by the early 1870s, Whitby Lodge is one of few surviving colonial dwellings in Auckland constructed of basalt. The structure is located in Parnell, a separate settlement to the south of Auckland during the nineteenth century and a centre of Anglican administration in New Zealand. The building was erected on land that had previously formed part of the Hulme Court estate. Its construction is probably linked with Parnell's early role as a desirable pastoral settlement on the fringes of urban Auckland.

Whitby Lodge and Hulme Court

Created soon after the foundation of Auckland as colonial capital of New Zealand in 1840, the Hulme Court estate was a high-status landholding, occupied successively during the 1840s and 1850s by future premier Sir Frederick Whitaker (1812-1891), Bishop George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878), commander of the British forces Colonel William Hulme (1788-1855), and the colonial governor Thomas Gore Browne (1807-1887). Effectively used as a temporary Government House during Gore Bowne's stay in 1855, the main residence was constructed in 1843 to a symmetrical Regency-influenced design with basalt walls and a slate roof. The estate was put up for sale in October 1856, almost a year after Colonel Hulme's death. At this time it was described as consisting of a large and commodious stone-built dwelling with gardens, orchard and lawn comprising 4¾ acres, all within a few minutes walk of the city. The property's extended frontages to what are now Parnell Road and St George's Bay Road presented advantages for future subdivision for disposal as building lots in a 'most favoured locality for suburban dwellings of a respectable class'. The property did not find a buyer at this time, however, as the Auckland economy was in a depressed state.

By the early 1860s, economic stagnation been replaced by a general buoyancy as Auckland benefited from military expenditure before and during the Third New Zealand - or Waikato - War (1863-1864). Encouraged by the financial upturn, William Aitken and Thomas Russell purchased Hulme Court Estate in October 1862. Sale of sections commenced at the beginning of May 1863. The site now occupied by Whitby Lodge - on part lot 4 adjoining Parnell Road - was purchased by George Fraser (dates of birth and death unknown), an accountant, on 23 April 1864 for ₤176. It was one of at least four sites he bought from the estate in the 1860s and 1870s. Little is currently known about Fraser, other than that he later became an estate agent and went bankrupt in 1888.

Construction of Whitby Lodge

Considerable uncertainty exists about whether a building already existed on the site of Fraser's purchase. Anecdotal accounts have suggested that the current building was erected as early as 1848 or 1852, and that it was used as an office by the private secretary of Sir Francis Dillon Bell (1822-1898) - a nationally prominent public administrator and politician - who lived in Hulme Court in the late 1850s and 1860s. John Kinder's 'Freehand Map and Plan of Auckland' of circa 1858 may show a building on or close to the site, but remains inconclusive. No buildings other than the main dwelling at Hulme Court are mentioned in the October 1856 notice advertising the sale of the Hulme Court Estate, and the cost of Fraser's purchase of the land is not such as to indicate the presence of a pre-existing building on the site, particularly one built of stone. Indeed, the property appears inexpensive compared to adjoining sections sold at the same time.

It is possible that Fraser erected a building on the site at the time of his purchase in 1864, or improved a building already under construction. He raised a ₤500 mortgage against the security of the land and 'buildings thereon erected', conditional on the buildings being insured for ₤400. By 1869, he owned a dwelling on the site, one of two houses respectively fronting Parnell and St George's Bay Roads, worth ₤360 and ₤350 each. The more expensive - probably that on Parnell Road - was noted as being occupied by Fraser himself.

In the early 1870s, Fraser increased the value of his holdings, with his property on Parnell Road being worth ₤738 by July 1873, double that of 1869. At this time, his residence was known as Beaufort House, and was described as having 'Grounds and Co with Stable and Orchard'. The grounds may have encompassed an adjoining lot, formally purchased by Fraser in February 1874 for ₤130. Some elements of the current building, such as its broad eaves and decorative eave brackets, appear more indicative of a date in the 1870s than the early 1860s. Combined with evidence about the property's increase in value, this may indicate that either a pre-existing building was modified at this time, or that the current stone building replaced an earlier timber structure on the site.

Observations in the late 1960s or early 1970s that existing internal studs are not fixed to the stone walls, and that kauri beams span the walls and carry the roof, have given rise to the suggestion that the building may originally have been constructed as a timber dwelling and clad with stone at a later date. An alternative possibility is that a stone structure has been modified by the addition of a later roof, which has been provided with additional supporting studs. Basalt construction was more commonplace in Auckland prior to the mid 1860s than in subsequent decades. Other basalt houses were erected in Parnell in the late 1850s and early to mid 1860s as military tensions in the Waikato grew. Whether constructed in the 1870s or before, the building's appearance can be seen to broadly mirror the architecture of the adjacent Hulme Court, with the reflected glory that this brought its occupant and owner.

To date, the earliest positive reference to a stone building on the site is the notice of a mortgagee sale in 1888, which gives the legal description of the property, and refers to the 'stone house thereon'. Fraser had overstretched himself and was bankrupted during the economic slump of the late 1880s. He was working as an estate agent in 1886 when he borrowed against his other properties, only to lose all to bankruptcy late in 1888 following the collapse of Auckland property prices.

Subsequent history

Following the mortgagee sale, the house was bought by Margaret Anderson in January 1889. Fraser had taken out an ₤800 mortgage from Hugh Falconer Anderson (1829-1906) owner of a substantial ship chandlery, from moneys belonging to Anderson's wife Margaret 'for her sole and separate use'. Captain Anderson had been one of the founders of the Northern Steamship Company - established in 1881 - which initially serviced coastal towns in the northern half of the North Island. By 1901, he was Chairman of the company, overseeing a fleet of 28 steamships.

Margaret Anderson died soon after purchasing the property, bequeathing it to her daughter Mary. Captain Anderson occupied the house for several years in the early to mid 1890s. A two-storey timber addition at the rear of the house is believed to date from this period, creating a grander dwelling. From 1896 the house had a new tenant, Alex Thompson, before Mary Anderson sold the house in 1903 to Margaret and Helen Keir, described as 'spinsters'. Subsequent owners included railway employee Denis O'Leary in 1911, and engine driver Robert Carroll in 1930.

At the time of Carroll's purchase, the property was described as a stone and wooden dwelling with usual conveniences and a concrete motor garage. It was onsold to Henry and William Early as tenants in common in 1934, by which time the building may have been in two flats. A survey plan prepared in 1938, shows what may be a porch over a doorway in the southern wall of the stone building, perhaps an entrance to a second flat. In 1951, 'spinster' Louisa Early - who had inherited the property from Henry and William - sold the building (still in two flats) to John and Ethel Good, at which time the structure appears to have been known as Whitby Lodge. By 1959 the concrete garage had been demolished and a timber lean-to garage constructed against the south wall.

In 1965 the couple's son, also John Good, and his wife Lexie became the owners, selling in 1978 to the Cook Islands Government. The building was occupied by the Consulate General as an Embassy from 1978 until 1 December 1994 during which time the most recent addition was made to the southeast corner of the building and a flat established in the basement. New Zealand's Pacific Island population had increased rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s as people immigrated in pursuit of better educational and employment opportunities. The 1970s were the major period of immigration from Rarotonga, the Cook Islands' main population centre. Completion of the Rarotonga International Airport in 1973 opened the way for thousands of emigrants. In 1971 there were 7,389 Cook Islanders living in New Zealand; by 1976 this had leapt to 12,223. After this, migration continued, but at a slower rate. Rarotongans, in particular, settled predominantly in Auckland, in inner-city suburbs where rental properties were comparatively inexpensive.

The property changed hands several times in 1995 and 1996, and is currently in office use.

Comparisons

Whitby Lodge is one of relatively few stone houses constructed in nineteenth-century Auckland. Most were built in Parnell. An early stone house survives in Mt Eden, the Coldicutt House (NZHPT Registration # 2606, Category II historic place), said to have been built between 1845 and 1853 by settler William Coldicutt. Two semi-detached cottages survive at 30-32 Airedale Street in Auckland's CBD (NZHPT Registration # 7089, Category I historic place), construction of the earliest of which may have commenced in circa 1857. Many of Parnell's stone houses were commissioned by Bishop Selwyn as part of the developing centre for the Anglican Church and/or were constructed by local stonemason Benjamin Strange (1803 - 1882). Apart from Hulme Court (1843), these include Kinder House (NZHPT Registration # 110, Category I historic place), constructed on the corner of Ayr Street and Parnell Road between 1856 and 1858; the house at 4 Takutai Street (NZHPT Registration # 2638, Category II historic place), which was constructed in 1859; and the house (former Deanery) at 17 St Stephens Avenue, which was completed in July 1859. The stone lower storey of Selwyn Court (NZHPT Registration # 23, Category I historic place) was also constructed by Strange, in 1863. In addition to constructing buildings for Bishop Selwyn, Strange built himself a semidetached house, today known as the Stonemason's House, in Falcon Street in the mid 1860s.

Auckland has few houses that might be described as of the Regency style. The most often-cited example is Hulme Court. Another might be Franklynne at 337 Massey Road, Mangere East (NZHPT registration # 685, Category II historic place), a brick building dating from 1853.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The house has historical value for its association with the development of the Hulme Court estate and Parnell's early history as a desirable pastoral settlement on the fringes of Auckland. It also has some historical significance as the home for a short period of Captain Hugh Falconer Anderson, a founder of the Northern Steamship Company.

Whitby Lodge has aesthetic significance for its fine basalt construction and its contribution to the streetscape of historic Parnell's main thoroughfare. The building has architectural significance as one of a small number of surviving stone residences in Auckland constructed in the colonial period.

Whitby Lodge has technological value as an early surviving example of the use of local basalt in a domestic building.

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

Whitby Lodge reflects the evolving development of Parnell - Auckland's earliest residential suburb - during the colonial period and the fluctuating fortunes of some of the city's middle class residents. It has some significance for its recent history as an embassy for the Cook Islands government, reflecting diplomatic ties at a time of strengthening Polynesian influence in New Zealand.

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

Whitby Lodge has some significance for its association with Captain Hugh Falconer Anderson, a founder and chairman of the Northern Steamship Company, which served the coastal communities of much of the North Island for many decades.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has the capacity to provide knowledge of colonial building techniques and materials, notably those related to the use of local basalt.

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

Whitby Lodge is of technical value for its accomplished use of local basalt, and for incorporating unusual design elements such as basalt ashlar interspersed with the regular placement of pairs of shallower blocks.

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

Whitby Lodge is one of a small number of colonial stone houses surviving in the region, and one

of very few strongly Regency-influenced structures of nineteenth-century date in Auckland.

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

The building forms part of an important historical and cultural landscape in Parnell, Auckland's earliest residential suburb and an early centre of Anglican administration in New Zealand. Parnell contains a large number of historic buildings of nineteenth-century date, including a high proportion of Auckland's early stone houses. The latter include Hulme Court, Selwyn Court, Kinder House, the former Deanery at 17 St Stephens Avenue, a house at 4 Takutai Street, and the Stonemason's House in Falcon Street. Whitby Lodge is particularly linked to the history of Hulme Court, Auckland's oldest surviving residence on its original site.

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Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Whitby Lodge is located in the centre of Parnell, an inner suburb of Auckland to the east of the Central Business District. The building occupies a site near the top of Parnell Road, a busy arterial route and Parnell's main commercial thoroughfare. The structure is prominently located on the eastern side of the road, and is one of numerous historic buildings in the suburb. Nearby historic places registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) include Hulme Court (NZHPT Registration #19, Category I historic place), the Windsor Castle Hotel (NZHPT Registration #7406, Category I historic place), Selwyn Court (NZHPT Registration #23, Category I historic place), Neligan House (NZHPT Registration #103, Category I historic place), Old St Mary's Church (NZHPT Registration #21, Category I historic place) and Kinder House (NZHPT Registration #110, Category I historic place). On the opposite side of Parnell Road from Whitby Lodge is the Parnell Shopping Village.

Whitby Lodge is set back slightly from the main road and occupies an 827 m² site. The land has a cross fall, but is relatively level adjoining the road. The rear third of the section slopes away steeply to the east and north boundaries of the site. Most of the land immediately around the building is paved. Stone walls survive along part of the boundary, being notably well-preserved on the southern side of the property.

Whitby Lodge is broadly rectangular in plan, with a single-storey masonry portion fronting Parnell Road and two-storey timber additions to the rear on descending ground. The masonry portion is Regency-influenced, incorporating a symmetrical frontage with a central door and flanking Regency windows. The door is framed by a well-built porch, while the windows incorporate plastered sandstone lintels and later slate-roofed awnings. The visual symmetry of the main façade is reinforced by the use of coursed and squared basalt ashlar interspersed with the regular placement of pairs of shallower blocks, creating a decorative effect. The hipped roof of the front section is covered with slate, and has broad eaves, supported by closely-spaced decorative timber brackets. The masonry in the south and north elevations is less regular, and is bonded by lime mortar. One window in the south wall is an early feature, while other apertures including a flat-roofed bay window on the north side of the building - provide information about modifications in the late nineteenth century and subsequently.

Two-storey timber additions have been made to the rear of the building, the oldest incorporating a basement flat. This was constructed with rusticated weatherboard cladding and a corrugated iron roof. More recent weatherboard additions are also roofed with corrugated iron. A recent office addition clad with narrow shiplap and built in two stages at the southeast corner of the building is supported on a concrete block wall and steel beams and has a parking space underneath.

The building interior contains a central hall extending most of the length of the structure. The stone portion has five rooms, three off the south side of the hall and two off the north side. The westernmost section of the hall and the front room on the south side retain board and batten ceilings. Original joinery survives, including skirtings, doors and architraves. Recesses in several rooms suggest the earlier presence of fireplaces and other features. The rear section of the building contains bathroom facilities, a large room with a north-facing bay window, and kitchen. The most recent office extension is accessed from what was formerly a rear verandah. The interior of the residential flat in the basement was not inspected.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
-
Circa 1864; or circa 1872-1873

Addition
1890 -
Timber addition constructed to east, bay window added to northern elevation of stone structure?

Addition
-
Detached concrete garage against south boundary

Modification
-
Building converted into two flats, with porch on south elevation

Modification
-
Infilling of rear verandah

Modification
-
Demolition of concrete garage

Addition
-
Timber garage lean-to against south wall of house (west end)

Modification
-
Fireplaces removed, chimney (north side of front roof ridge) removed, interior lined with 'Gibraltar' board, some ceilings replaced

Modification
1978 -
Residential flat developed in basement, first stage of office addition constructed southeast corner

Modification
-
Timber garage lean-to demolished

Modification
1987 -
Rear external access stairway repositioned from east to north, second stage of office addition constructed southeast corner

Construction Details

Basalt walls; slate roof

Information Sources

Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland Research Centre, Microfiche 561, Electoral Rolls Parnell 1866-1867, 1867-1868, 1869-1870; 1871-1872 & 1873-1874; Auckland Scrapbook, April 1973, p.217

Photograph: Neg. 7-A451 (1963); Neg. 435-B5-164, Auckland Public Libraries, Special Collections

Auckland Star

Auckland Star

16 June 1973

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

Fraser, Grace, 'Fraser's Foundry - An Auckland firm of 1862', Vol. 23, September 1973

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902

Stone, 1991

R. C. J. Stone, The Making of Russell McVeigh: The First 125 Years of the Practice of Russell McVeigh McKenzie Bartleet & Co. 1863-1988, Auckland, 1991

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

Auckland Registry, Deeds Registers 19D-102, 10M-101, 25M-598, R15-784, R27-755, R35-366, R87-461, R187-444, R554-267; Certificates of Title NA575/310, NA1012/236, NA44C/303; DP 28795 North Auckland

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

13 October 1888, p.8(2), 10 January 1930, p.6(3)

Stone, 1973

R. C. J. Stone, Makers of Fortune: A Colonial Business Community and its Fall, Auckland, 1973

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council

Rate Books of the Parnell Highway District for the year commencing 1 July 1873, PBC Series 3 item 16

Auckland City Council, Auckland City Environments, Property file 330 Parnell Road

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Northern 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.