8 Roslyn Road, And Newport And Cardiff Streets, Levin
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 the land described as Lots 1-2 DP 66276 (CTs WN37C/876; WN37C877), Wellington Land District, and the building known as House thereon.
Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region
Lots 1-2 DP 66276 (CTs WN37C/876; WN37C/877), Wellington Land District
The house at 8 Roslyn Road is thought to be the oldest house in Levin and is a fine example of late-nineteenth-century villa architecture. Peter Bartholomew, a successful sawmill owner and among the first Pākehā residents of the town, had the spacious house built in 1892. With a mostly unaltered form and—on a large double section—retention of at least a sense of its original setting, the property is of historical and architectural significance as it offers a vision of Levin’s earliest years.
Levin was one of a string of towns founded along the Wellington and Manawatu Railway line, completed in 1886. The sale of town sections began in 1889, one year after Peter Bartholomew established a sawmill there and started clearing the town site. He had arrived in New Zealand from Scotland via Australia in the late 1860s and became associated with the timber trade, operating sawmills elsewhere in the region before constructing one just to the north of where he subsequently sited his house.
In a show of confidence in his business and the future of the town, and to accommodate his burgeoning family, Bartholomew had a ‘comfortable’ villa built ‘on his land, adjoining the sawmill at Levin’ in 1892. Around the turn-of-the-twentieth century, the adaptability of the villa made it the ubiquitous residential building type across the socioeconomic spectrum.
The ten-room house of heart matai was a spacious, but not especially complicated example of villa architecture. The continuous, U-shaped hipped roof featured a centre gutter, a widespread, but ultimately unsuccessful solution to the problem of how to easily frame the roofs of large houses. There were no front bays and the form’s characteristic verandah was three-sided, wrapping around the house from the north wall, across the front, and terminating in a shallow hip-roofed wing protruding from the south wall.
The centre gutter was an external expression of the floor plan—two rows of rooms separated by a centre hall. Assuming the plan followed common conventions, the parlour and its best bedroom flanked the front door; the kitchen and maid’s room were at the rear near additional service spaces (washhouse, WC, bathroom, scullery), some of which occupied a lean-to; a dining room extending into the wing; and the remainder were family bedrooms and possibly an office or library. Without 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 within the villa.
Peter Bartholomew sold the house at 8 Roslyn Road in 1900. Since then the house has been mostly well looked after. In 1972, John Daniels, director of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, commented: ‘it is well built, very attractive inside and out, and although altered a little inside, it remains a very good example of the villa house of the 1880s and 1890s.’ His further recommendation that the verandah’s original double posts, Chippendale balustrade, and fretwork could be restored was eventually realised, and the house’s Victorian presence strongly re-established.
House is re-piled
Rear addition beyond lean-to; loss of verandah return along north wall; replacement of original front door and sidelights and door at the south end of the verandah with similar sets of glazed double doors, probably mid-twentieth century; removal of most chimneys.
Restoration of verandah posts, balustrading and fretwork
24th January 2017
Report Written By
James A. Jacobs
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
‘Local and General News,’ Feilding Star, 18 August 1892
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.