Old St Pauls Schoolroom [Relocated]

21-25 Kate Sheppard Place [Relocated], Thorndon, Wellington

  • Old St Pauls Schoolroom [Relocated].
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4423 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Wellington City

Region

Wellington Region

Location description

Relocated to Thorndon School, 4-14 Turnbull Street, Wellington. Can be viewed from Turnbull Street, Thorndon. Is not visible from Hobson Crescent, Thorndon (the front entrance to Thorndon School).

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.

The original Church of England schoolroom in Thorndon was built in 1851-2 and opened by Bishop Selwyn in January 1852. The decision to build a schoolroom was made in May 1851 and Sir George Grey was a member of the provisional committee which later became the Church of England Educational Society and managed the affairs of church schools for many years.

Subscriptions were collected and the Government responded to a request for land by giving a site on Sydney Street. The building erected there was burned down in 1895 and the present building was erected in 1897 for £1050. It was opened by Bishop Wallis on 23 December 1897.

It has had a long association with the Thorndon community. Besides being used as a school it has accommodated diocesan synods, brownie and guide meetings, dances, social functions, the National Orchestra and the Phoenix Choir, National Draughting Training Centre, and Ministry of Works and Development.

In 1943 it was transferred to public ownership and is currently administered by Government Property Services Limited.

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.

As a purpose built schoolroom this building is a rare reminder of the Anglican church based education system of nineteenth century New Zealand. In addition it has historical associations with Thorndon and the then National Orchestra.

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:

A simple interpretation of the Gothic revival commonly used in ecclesiastical buildings of its period, this purpose built but picturesque schoolroom has architectural and historical associations with the Anglican church.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

Minor streetscape quality.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Swan, John Sydney

Swan (1874-1936) practised architecture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He formed part of the last group of architects to follow the traditional Gothic and Classical styles. He was articled to Frederick de Jersey Clere, working with Clere on many major designs such as the Wellington Rowing Club building (then known as the Naval Artillery Boat Shed, 1894) as well as smaller provincial buildings such as the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tinui. The firm was known as Clere, Fitzgerald and Richmond and was one of the most prominent architectural practices in Wellington. From 1901 to 1906 Swan was in partnership with Clere, practising on his own account from 1907. The first major design produced by Swan in this new practice was the Karori Crematorium (1907) which served to establish his architectural identity separate from Clere.

During his long and varied career Swan produced a large and wide range of work, including a number of banks for the National Bank such as the head office building in Wellington (1907), educational buildings for the Wellington Technical College with William Gray Young (1922), and a number of major buildings for the Catholic Church including St Gerard's Church, Mt Victoria (1910), Sacred Heart Convent (later Erskine College), Island Bay (1909), and Wanganui Convent (1912). He was an architect of imagination as evidenced by the design of his own house 'The Moorings', Glenbervie Terrace (1905).

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 building is in a simple ecclesiastical style derived from the Gothic Revival. It has a dominant roof pitched at 30° with a central gable flanked on both sides by a smaller gable. The roofline is continuous over all three which are simply decorated.

The central bay has three windows including a pointed three-light central window and flanking rectangular single lights. A small gable echoing the pitch of the roof frames the arched windows while small canopies cap the side windows and double doors on the side bays. These side bays are slightly recessed. The other three elevations show standard detailing, rusticated weatherboarding and sash windows.

The interior of the schoolroom originally consisted of a central hall with six flanking schoolrooms. The hall has been shortened but the original concept can be appreciated in the rafters and in the stepped vault of the ceiling which remains the most interesting feature of the interior.

MODIFICATIONS:

Date unknown:

A double height wall erected across the hall.

North of this wall an additional storey was incorporated within the original building envelope.

Classroom on the west relined. Single storey addition to the west facade.

Notable Features

Original rafters combined with the stepped vault to form an interesting ceiling. It is an excellent example of the adaptability of timber buildings even when purpose built.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1897 -

Relocation
1999 -
Noted relocated to Thorndon School, 19B Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington.

Construction Details

Timber piles, framing and cladding. Timbers used include heart totara, heart matai, heart and ordinary board rimu. Corrugated iron roof.

Completion Date

9th March 1990

Information Sources

Evening Post

Evening Post

'Opening of St Paul's School room', 24 December 1897, p.5

Cathedral News

Cathedral News

'Hopes Held for Restoring Hall to Local Community Use,' Published by the Dean and Vestry of Wellington Cathedral, August 1984

Barton, 1987

PL Barton, Proposal for Classification. Buildings Classification Committee Report, 'Old St Paul's Schoolroom', 20 July 1987

MacMorran, 1900

MacMorran George, Some Schools and Schoolmasters of Early Wellington, S and W Mackay. Wellington, 1900

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Central region 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.