Cambridge Primary School

3 Wilson Street And Duke Street, Cambridge

  • Cambridge Primary School.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: R Moyes.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4157 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Waipa District

Region

Waikato Region

Legal description

Allot 42 Town of Cambridge East (CT SA31/269), Allot 43 Town of Cambridge East (NZ Gazette 1920 p.2027), Allot 44 Town of Cambridge East (CT SA1/181), Allot 45 Town of Cambridge East (NZ Gazette 1967 p.345) and Allot 599A Town of Cambridge East (NZ Gazette 1879 p. 1438), South Auckland Land District

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cambridge Primary School was established in the 1860s and was accommodated in the old Military Hospital building until 1874 when the new schoolhouse was built (demolished 1900). Inadequate accommodation was a problem by 1880 and continued for many years. This is reflected in the series of additions which were made to the building (refer "Modifications").

The High School Department of the School opened in 1883, closed in 1887 owing to dwindling roles and lack of funding, and reopened in 1902. A new secondary school building was built in Clare Street in 1926-27, thus relieving the accommodation problem at Cambridge Primary School for a short time.

Over the years the building ceased to operate as an effective teaching environment. Illumination, acoustics and ventilation were inadequate. The building was, however, structurally sound and for this reason the decision was made in 1980 to remodel the existing rather than to rebuild. The objective was to retain the character of the old building while creating a teaching environment to rival that of a modern school building.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The school dates from the 1860s and the building from 1879. It has had a long association with Cambridge and its community and few members of Cambridge's established families have not passed through this school. The character of the building reflects the growth and changing educational needs of this town.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

While the overall form of the building is the product of several additions, an homogeneity of design has been achieved. Gothic elements such as steeply pitched roofs, gables and an emphasis on picturesque variety in the placement of individual blocks have been employed.

Cambridge Primary School is a fine example of a Victorian educational building whose current form is a reflection of the New Zealand tradition of adaptation and addition

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The extended facade has very considerable streetscape quality.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mitchell & Watt

John Mitchell (c.1859-1947) and Robert Martin Watt (1860-1907) were in partnership at Auckland by 1892.

Mitchell was born in Ramelton, Northern Ireland, and received his architectural training in Ireland before emigrating to New Zealand in 1888 and settling in Auckland. He became known for his early use of reinforced concrete. In 1893 he invented a baked earthenware block which was used in domestic construction. He left for England in 1912 and was involved with a prefabricated housing project at Bournemouth. He retired in 1922 and returned to New Zealand.

Watt was born in Scotland and studied architecture in Glasgow with the firm of Barclay Bros. He immigrated to New Zealand about 1878 for health reasons and practised in Auckland both on his own account and in partnership with Mitchell. In 1960 he was elected president of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Mitchell and Watt were appointed architects to the Auckland Education Board in 1892. Mitchell undertook new work while Watt undertook rebuilding projects and renovations to existing buildings. Their work includes schools at Te Mata (1905) and Maungatautari (1905), additions to schools at Cambridge (1900) and Dargaville (1905), the Seddon Memorial Technical College (1908-13). Non-educational buildings include Mt Eden Congregational Church (1900). Watt was responsible for the design of the Ley's Institute, Ponsonby (1905-06).

Farrell, John

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

This single storey Victorian building is composed of a series of additions. The front facade consists of four bays dated 1881, 1886, 1879 and 1904 (east to west) yet repetitive detailing has produced a continuity between them. Each of the bays features the steeply pitched roofs of the Gothic Revival and simply decorated barge boards. There are also geometric window hood mouldings and bracketed window sills and door architraves.

The complex window design uses the Palladian motif of a central window flanked on either side by a smaller window. The numerous small paned lights are a consistent feature of the building.

Notable Features

Finial and decorative detailing to the central bay (1886) of the front facade. Continuity between bays, the dates of which span 25 years.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1874 -
Original Schoolhouse built

Addition
1879 -
Eastern Classroom added

Addition
1881 -
Southern Classroom added

Addition
1886 -
New Structure for Boys School built to the east

Addition
1904 -
New Classroom to west added

Addition
1919 - 1920
Major extensions to south (nine classrooms added)

Addition
1977 -
Minor additions to south

Addition
1980 -
Remodelling, addition of services and staffroom

Demolished - prior building
1900 -
Original Schoolhouse Structure Demolished

Modification
1900 -
Wings Rearranged

Construction Details

Timber framing and sheathing, the early sections in heart kauri. Corrugated iron roof.

Completion Date

5th March 1990

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908

Vol. 2, 1902, p769

Kellaway, 1981

J. Warwick Kellaway, Education 150: From Schoolhouse to Classpace in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, 1981

Kellaway, 1980

Kellaway, J.N. Cambridge School 1980, From Schoolhouse to Classpace: 100 Years of Schooling in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area Office

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.