St Ann's

43 Arney Road, Remuera, Auckland

  • St Ann's. ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries’.
    Copyright: Auckland Libraries 435-C5-51.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2643 Date Entered 26th November 1981

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 359558 (CT 242463) North Auckland Land District, and the building and structures known as St Ann’s thereon.

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 359558 (CT 242463) North Auckland Land District

Summaryopen/close

An English country cottage on a grand scale, the house known as St Ann’s in Remuera was designed in 1914 by the Auckland architect B. C. Chilwell for the prominent businessman and philanthropist, Charles Isaac Nathan (1881-1961). The building design has significance in its connection with the architectural firm of Chilwell and Trevithick and their role in promoting the domestic adoption of the Arts and Crafts architectural style. The place has historical significance for its connection with the prominent Charles Nathan and his charitable efforts. It also reflects the lifestyle and living conditions of members of a significant group in Auckland society - the Jewish haute bourgeoisie - many of whom lived in the wealthy neighbourhood. The building’s later history as a kindergarten teacher training centre also confers some significance.

Remuera has been associated with the settlement of rich and successful Aucklanders since the middle of the nineteenth century. From about 1900, the palatial houses of the wealthiest settlers of the 1800s made room for the smaller, but grander townhouses of the city’s commercial or industrial elite. Formation of the current property at Arney Road started in 1883 when parts of two lots were purchased by Robert William Hammond. Although this title passed through the hands of three owners, no building appears to have occurred during the nineteenth century or the first decade of the twentieth century. In 1914, the property was purchased by Charles Nathan, the son of Arthur H. Nathan of the eponymous Auckland merchants company. Charles would later become the chairman of his father’s business. The influential, extended Nathan family played an important role in the economic and social development of Auckland during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prominent in high society, many of its members also engaged in a tradition of public service. Some, such as Charles Nathan, settled in Remuera, along with other families from the prosperous Jewish upper middle class.

Plans for a new house were produced by B. C. Chilwell in early March 1914, with Nathan applying for consent to build a few days later; the house was to cost £2900. There is no indication as to when the building was completed, although the summer of 1914-15 is the most likely date. The first indication of the Nathan family living at the house is a November 1915 advertisement by ‘Mrs. Charles Nathan, Arney Road’, looking for a ‘competent Dressmaker’.

As designed, the house was a timber structure on a masonry foundation; it had ten rooms on the ground floor, including a grand hallway behind a small porch on the eastern elevation. On the first floor there were five bedrooms. Overall the house had a timber country cottage appearance, with a tiled roof and long, casement windows that are very much of the English Arts and Crafts style. A distinctive feature of this property is the small, roofed entrance to the garden from the street, which is evocative of an English country church’s lych-gate. This may be the reason behind the property’s name, St Anns, a name first mentioned in 1929. A small laundry and engine house was designed for a location just to the south of the main building.

The Nathan family lived at St Ann’s for forty years. During this time they used the property to help further their goal of raising money for both local and national causes. Between 1932 and 1945 the family opened the house and gardens up to the public in a series of fetes or picnics, raising money for various causes. These included the Newmarket Kindergarten, special war work during the Second World War (1939-45), and the National Association for the Blind. Alterations during the Nathans’ tenure included the construction of a gardener’s flat and garage to the south of the house in 1950. In 1955 the house was sold to the Auckland Kindergarten Association and used as a kindergarten teachers’ training college. The Auckland Kindergarten Association had been founded in Remuera shortly before St Ann’s was built, and was patronised by other prominent members of the Jewish community. When pre-school teacher education was taken over by the Auckland Teachers’ College, the building was used by the college for graduate teacher education. In 1977 is became a teachers’ centre. A new hall was constructed in the garden in circa 1965. The exterior of the house was slightly altered in the 1980s with the construction of a two storey bay window on the southern bay of the eastern elevation. The style of this addition is very much in the character of Lutyens-influenced Arts and Crafts design. In 2006, the southern part of the earlier grounds was also subdivided for new housing which necessitated the removal of an aviary, an outbuilding originally part of the St Anne’s property . St Anne’s remains in use as a private dwelling.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Chilwell, Benjamin Charles

Born in England (d.1950), Chilwell came to New Zealand about 1907 and practised architecture in Auckland for nearly 40 years, undertaking a wide variety of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings. In 1914 he entered into partnership with Cecil Trevithick (d.1967), an Auckland architect. Their buildings include Myer's Kindergarten (1916), the 1924 additions to St Andrew's Anglican Church, Epsom (1867), Edean's Building (1914), Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd Building (1916), Rutland Building (1929) and the Arthur Eady Building, Queen Street (1939).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1914 - 1915

Additional building added to site
-
Construction of gardener’s flat and garage.

Modification
-
Property sold to the Auckland Kindergarten Association and various modifications made.

Completion Date

5th June 2015

Report Written By

Andrew Winter

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 Northern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand