55 Bryce Street, Shannon

  • House 55 Bryce St, Shannon. CC Licence 4.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Michal Klajban - Wikimedia Commons . Taken By: Michal Klajban. Date: 16/11/2014.
  • House 55 Bryce St, Shannon. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Kete Horowhenua. Date: 1/12/2009.
  • House 55 Bryce St, Shannon. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: C Cochran. Date: 28/06/1985.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4052 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 363 DP 368 (CT WN217/183), Wellington Land District and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 363 DP 368 (CT WN217/183), Wellington Land District


Built circa 1915, the house at 55 Bryce Street, Shannon, is of historical, aesthetic and architectural significance as a well preserved example of a transitional building which demonstrates the shift in predominant architectural style from villa to Californian bungalow in early twentieth century New Zealand housing. This house in particular shows a more ready shift to the new bungalow style emerging in New Zealand at this time.

The land on which Shannon sits was part of an endowment of 215,000 acres acquired by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (WMR) around 1881. After opening a railroad, the WMR proceeded to develop and open up the endowment area, establishing the township of Shannon after auctioning land in 1887. Shannon at this time thrived on farming and the flax milling industry. Lot 363, previously owned by Charles Weston of New Plymouth, was sold by John Rainbow Stansell to Charles Henry Gardiner, a Clerk from Shannon in early 1913. The Horowhenua County Council Valuation Roll shows this property in 1913 as having a capital value of £70 and an unimproved value of £70, meaning no house was here at or before this time. Gardiner’s mortgage taken out with the Palmerston North Co-operative Building Society in 1915 likely indicates the actual building of the house. The house was located just over the railway lines from the town’s centre and across the street from the former site of the Venerable Bede Church.

From around 1910, villas began to give way to the Californian bungalow style of housing with the bungalow becoming the prominent architectural style in New Zealand by the 1920s. The years in were a transitional phase, resulting in houses featuring architectural elements of both the villa and bungalow. These transitional houses were largely still planned as villas, though the roof was typically lower pitched and the boxed eaves were replaced by exposed rafter ends without fascia boards. The veranda remained in its traditional position, although it was deeper and under the extension of the main roof, which was supported by plain posts with solid tapering wooden wings rather than the previously elaborately decorated ones. The change from villa to bungalow reflected the more informal lifestyle, with the open plan and focus on indoor/outdoor flow.

The design of the transitional house at 55 Bryce Street featured a hipped and gabled corrugated iron roof, with the lower pitched pyramid style and porch with basic decoration reflecting the bungalow architectural type. The house is clad in weatherboard and has two bay windows fronting either side of the main entrance under the long, partly enclosed porch that over hangs at the sides.

The house has had a few owners since its original construction, but it has continued to be in the Hennessey family since 1927, as was the neighbouring house at 57 Bryce Street from 1917-1936. The house is very well maintained. The corrugated iron roof was replaced with decramastic tiles sometime between 1895 and 1995. This house is virtually the same design as one at 37 Ballance Street, Shannon; both are believed to have had the same builder, however, 55 Bryce Street has retained more of its original exterior features.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1915 -

Roofing iron replaced with tiles

Completion Date

15th September 2016

Report Written By

Nicola Bowden

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses, 1880-1940. Auckland: Reed, 1986.

Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians

Barnes, Anthony. ‘Translation in the Transition: Examining Innovations in the Design of Auckland‘s ‘Transitional Houses’, in Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 31,Translation, edited by Christoph Schnoor (Auckland, New Zealand: SAHANZ and Unitec ePress; and Gold Coast, Queensland: SAHANZ, 2014), pp. 627–638

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.