Venerable Bede Church Hall
32 Stout Street, Shannon
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
5th September 1985
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 218 DP 368 (CT WN253/180), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Venerable Bede Church Hall thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rarangi Korero Committee meeting on 9 March 2017.
Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region
Lot 218 DP 368 (CT WN253/180), Wellington Land District
Constructed in 1919, the Venerable Bede Church Hall is a key component of an Anglican complex in Shannon, whose present form was realised over the course of the twentieth century. The location of this particular hall, uncharacteristically distant from the church, has historic value as an indicator of the direction of town development and it eventually anchored the consolidation of Shannon’s Anglican facilities in the mid-twentieth century. The hall also has social heritage significance for its history of use as a venue for functions supporting the Venerable Bede Church and the activities of various community groups.
Shannon was one of a string of towns founded along the Wellington and Manawatu Railway line, completed in 1886. When the first land sales occurred in Shannon the following year, the Anglican church had only been formally operating in the area since 1882 from a parochial centre at Bulls-Sanson. When the Venerable Bede Church was constructed in 1898, the parochial district that included Shannon operated out of Foxton; by 1911, Shannon had become its own district.
The church was built on a short residential block of Bryce Street across the railway from Shannon’s commercial centre. However, with town development spreading mostly to the southeast of railway, the once central location turned into a peripheral one. Additionally, the limitations of the small church would have been increasingly apparent for any function beyond worship. The parish had to hold large events such as bazaars in rented or borrowed space and lacked a ‘much-needed schoolroom’ for youth religious studies.
While it is possible that no sections abutting the church had been available for the hall, congregants likely also desired one nearer their houses. Two adjacent sections on Stout Street were purchased by parish officials on the 14 May 1918. By February 1919, the ‘section ha[d] been fenced, and building material placed,’ and E. (J. S.) Spencer—of the Shannon company who built the church two decades earlier—was contracted to start construction. The hall officially opened on 22 July. Reflecting on the foul weather that day (and possibly on the lack of a heat source inside), the Archdeacon of Wellington was reported to have remarked that he believed the hall ‘would be ‘kept warm’ by constant use.’
As with many such halls, the building’s form and details resembled church architecture. The gable-fronted structure has double-hung sash with lightly pointed frames positioned in regular bays along the sides. The main body of the spacious hall was more than double the size of the church. Electricity was installed in 1923, and additions were made to the hall in 1929 – this may refer to the rear lean-to and one-story front portion, or these may have provided space from the start for a kitchen, toilets, cloakrooms, and storage. When considering the two sections (Lots 217 and 218) together, the hall is justified towards one corner. This positioning suggests that when the hall was built the congregation was already anticipating the movement of the church or the construction of a new church on the remainder of the property. In 1949, the parish’s facilities were amalgamated on Stout Street with the relocation of the church. The church hall and the other parts of the complex appear to remain in very good condition. Over the years the hall has also been used by community groups including the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, YMCA and the Masonic Lodge, as well as for public events.
E. J. S. Spencer
No biography is currently available for this construction professional
12th January 2017
Report Written By
James A. Jacobs
The Church Chronicle
‘Parochial News: Shannon,’ The Church Chronicle, 1 February 1919
‘Parochial News: Shannon,’ The Church Chronicle, 1 September 1919
Ayson, R., ‘The History of the Church of the Venerable Bede, Shannon 1898-1985’, n.d.
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.