23 Allan Street, Nelson

  • House, Nelson.
    Copyright: John Warren. Taken By: John Warren. Date: 16/07/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2999 Date Entered 25th November 1982


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Pt Sec 1079A City of Nelson (CT NL3C/47), Nelson Land District and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 1079A City of Nelson (CT NL3C/47), Nelson Land District


The house at 23 Allan Street, in the hills overlooking Nelson College, was constructed in the early 1940s and is part of the architectural legacy of notable local family, the Beatsons. This plastered timber two-storey house is a good example of English Cottage style architecture and has local historic importance because of its links to Nelson’s Exclusive Brethren community.

This house was built on the former location of Robert and Elizabeth Allan’s residence. They owned the property from 1897 and are the namesakes of the associated street. Godfrey (1905–1994) and Margaret Field (1909–1991) purchased the property in 1940 and planned to replace the existing structure with a new house in early 1941. They were medical professionals of recognised ability – a dental surgeon and nurse respectively. The house was completed by 1943 and they owned it until 1971.

The Fields’ house was designed by Henry Reynolds Beatson (1881–1953). He was the grandson of important Nelson architect William Beatson (1833–1904). Some of William’s sons and subsequent descendants trained as architects, but it seems that Henry and his father did not. Henry was apparently involved in the local Exclusive Brethren community, with links going back to its early history in New Zealand. It is thought that the Fields were also Exclusive Brethren. This Brethren connection was perhaps why Henry, a longstanding Wakatu orchardist, was approached to design the house rather than an architecture specialist.

The Allan Street house is a characteristic example of New Zealand’s second phase of English Cottage style domestic architecture. This building has a main gabled section with a secondary perpendicular gable and two dormers projecting in a north-western direction. Other typical stylistic features include the house’s slate roof, tall slender chimneys, stickwork on the gable ends and casement windows. Some internal modifications were made to the five bedroom home in 2016, including creating an en-suite and office space upstairs and remodelling the kitchen/dining area.

After popularity in the early twentieth century, particularly the 1920s, this style had a revival in New Zealand in the late 1930s and post-war period and was favoured in the first Labour Government’s state housing projects. There are several examples of 1920s English Cottage style Nelson houses on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero (the List). However, 23 Allan Street is the only two storey example from the revival period. It is stylistically similar, albeit on a grander scale, to a Nelson state house which is also entered on the List. These places demonstrate the breadth of the style.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Henry Reynolds Beatson

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1941 -

2016 -
Internal changes including converting a bedroom into an office and en-suite and removal of walls between the kitchen and dining areas.

Completion Date

5th May 2017

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Schrader, Ben, ‘Housing - Style and form’, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,, updated 8 Jul 2013.

Salmond, 2005

Salmond, Jeremy, Old New Zealand Houses, 1800–1940, Reed, Auckland, 2005.


Vol.21, No.1, Jul 2014.

Lineham, Peter, ‘The place of small denominations in the religious landscape of New Zealand’, Stimulus, vol.21, no.1, Jul 2014.

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 Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.