57 Bryce Street, Shannon

  • House.
    Copyright: Date: 1/12/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4053 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 364 DP 368 (CT WN210/134), Wellington Land District, and the building known as House thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 364 DP 368 (CT WN210/134), Wellington Land District


Constructed circa 1912, the house at 57 Bryce Street is a modest villa built near the end of the popularity of this residential building type. The house is architecturally and historically significant as a representative example of the quintessential early-twentieth-century housing form as built for a prosperous couple—a grocer/shop manager and his wife—in a small town.

Shannon was one of a string of towns founded along the Wellington and Manawatu Railway line, which was completed in 1886. The first land sales occurred in Shannon the following year. The town grew steadily from that time and Shannon had a population of 752 in 1911; among the residents were James and Henrietta Tilling. Notices appearing regularly in the Manawatu Standard and the Horowhenua Chronicle during the 1910s document that the couple was very much involved in community social life, including dramatics, debating, the Druids, and the Venerable Bede Anglican Church. James was a well-liked manager in William Gunning’s general merchandise store in Shannon.

James Tilling likely purchased Lot 364 in June 1912 and had the villa constructed not long after. The section was located on a residential block of Bryce Street across the railway line from Shannon’s commercial centre and across the street from the Venerable Bede Church. The villa form maintained popularity at the time in large part because its adaptability could suit households across the socioeconomic spectrum.

The Tillings’ villa was a modest design—the house proper having an almost square footprint and a pyramidal roof with a lean-to at the rear. Architectural embellishment was focused on the street façade and featured a character-defining verandah that extended fully across the front with its roof carried on four decorative posts. The panelled and glazed front door at centre was situated between sidelights with a transom above, and this entrance was flanked at each side by French windows.

The three full-length openings onto the verandah hint at the interior plan—four principal rooms, with two on either side of a centre hall. Assuming the plan followed common conventions, the parlour and the best bedroom were to either side of the front door with a second bedroom and kitchen/dining room at the rear and the service spaces (washhouse, WC, bathroom, pantry, and scullery) predominantly located in the lean-to. Without a clear grouping of rooms by function, the centre hall and a lack of communicating doors between adjacent rooms became the best way of buffering public from private from service space within the villa.

The Tillings relocated to Wellington early in 1916. The then relatively new house appears to have been first sold to Philip J. Hennessey, a prosperous farmer, who purchased it for his ‘spinster’ daughter Catherine Honora Hennessey. The villa appears to be in good condition with most of its visible exterior features intact, and only a small addition extending from the back of the lean-to.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1912 -

Addition to the rear of the lean-to

Completion Date

21st November 2016

Report Written By

James A. Jacobs

Information Sources

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

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.