Bayreuth

10 Grafton Road, Auckland

  • Bayreuth, 10 Grafton Road: northwest elevation (looking southeast).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 17/11/2006.
  • From Grafton Road.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 26/11/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4491 Date Entered 22nd June 2007

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the land in NZ Gazette 1962, p.1995 (as shown on the 'Extent of Registration' plan in Appendix 3 of the Registration Report), and the house, its fittings and fixtures thereon. The registration also encompasses the concrete boundary wall with cast-iron railings and front gate on the western side of the property, the concrete boundary with street name and cast-iron railing on the southern side of the property; and the concrete steps and terracing in the front garden to the west of the main building. It excludes a temporary structure currently occupying parts of the front garden.

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Allot 26 Sec 9 City of Auckland (NZ Gazette 1962, p.1995), North Auckland Land District

Summaryopen/close

Bayreuth is a large urban villa in central Auckland, which combines Italianate architecture with aspects of Arts and Crafts style. Constructed in 1904, the two-storey dwelling was erected on the eastern slopes of the Symonds Street ridge, on the eastern side of Grafton Road. Prior to the mid 1860s, the ridge was at the epicentre of British colonial power in New Zealand, containing Government House, the Albert Barracks and the General Assembly building. Noted for its proximity to ongoing institutions such as the Supreme Court, the area subsequently became increasingly popular as a residential neighbourhood for the town's commercial leaders in the 1870s and 1880s, after the transfer of colonial administration to the newly designated capital at Wellington and the departure of British troops. Although many of its wealthiest inhabitants moved to outlying suburbs during the economic depression towards the end of the nineteenth century, the neighbourhood retained relatively high land values, and prestigious dwellings continued to be built.

The property occupied by Bayreuth was initially part of an endowment reserved by Governor George Grey under the Grammar School Trust Deed of 1850. In the 1860s, timber houses were erected on the site by lessees James and Henry Gilberd, respectively a builder and painter. The increasing desirability of the area for high quality residential housing led to the construction of new villas on nearby land in the 1870s and early 1880s. However, it was not until 1902 that the existing buildings on the site of Bayreuth were demolished for subdivision by the Auckland Grammar School Board. In the following year, the lease was taken by James Mennie (1860-1924) a biscuit and confectionary manufacturer. A successful entrepreneur, Mennie was also a noted philanthropist, who made numerous large public donations during his lifetime and in his will. These included a ₤4000 bequest to the Auckland University College, the income arising from which was to be used towards providing University education in commercial subjects. One of the conditions of taking the lease at 10 Grafton Road was that a new building costing not less than ₤600 should be erected.

Tenders for construction of a house closed on 23 December 1903. The design was that of a noted Auckland architect, Charles Le Neve Arnold (1855?-1955), who was involved in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in New Zealand. The builder was Ebenezer Morris (1849?-1929), a Scotsman who had come to New Zealand in 1877. Largely Italianate in design, the new two-storey brick building at 10 Grafton Road also incorporated emerging Arts and Crafts features, such as a roof clad with Marseilles tiles. In this respect it reflected a transition between two popular styles for the grand dwellings of the wealthier citizens of Auckland. Built close to the Grafton Road pavement and immediately next to Wynyard Street, the imposing house on its corner site was a notable landmark for those travelling up Grafton Road to the city. Highly ornate cast-iron railings and similar crestings on a front balcony reinforced this visual impact. Both floors had four sizeable rooms at the front, while there may also have been accommodation for a maid. Unlike nearby buildings on Symonds Street, the house contained only a small back yard.

Evidently built by Mennie for rental purposes, the house was tenanted by August 1904. By 1906 Amsterdam-born music teacher Johannes Wielaert (1875-1948) had leased the residence - now known as Bayreuth - which was conveniently located just a few doors from one of Auckland's main musical venues, Choral Hall. Wielaert was conductor of the newly founded Auckland Orchestral Society and prepared the Festival Orchestra that accompanied Sir Henry Coward's Sheffield Musical Union on the New Zealand leg of its world tour of 1911. Prior to the advent of the National Orchestra in 1946, local orchestras were a significant influence in New Zealand's cultural development. Wielaert's wife was New Zealand soprano Kathleen Schafe. The house was subsequently converted into two apartments, probably in the early 1930s, and was being used as doctor's rooms by 1952, like many other large houses in the lower Symonds Street area. The Presbyterian Church Property Trustees took over the lease at this time, establishing its Presbyterian Overseas Mission office on the first floor. Later acquired by the University of Auckland, it was occupied by the Department of Germanic Languages until 2001, when the School of Music became its tenant. Currently a site office for the construction of an adjacent Business School, the building will be restored at the end of the project and its gardens reinstated.

Bayreuth is aesthetically significant as an ornate urban villa designed in a restrained Italianate style with Arts and Crafts elements. It incorporates a well-preserved interior containing numerous decorative features of note, and external elements that contribute to its aesthetic value, including elaborate cast-iron railings. The place is architecturally significant as an example of the work of noted Auckland architect Charles Le Neve Arnold, and for marking a transitional stage between the Italianate and Arts and Crafts styles. It is culturally significant for its association with musicians Johannes Wielaert and Katherine Schafe, who contributed to the development of music in New Zealand. The place is of historical value for reflecting the ongoing high-status nature of the lower Symonds Street neighbourhood into the early twentieth century, and for its associations with Auckland industrialist and philanthropist, Charles Mennie.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Bayreuth has historical significance as one of several substantial dwellings constructed on endowment land in the lower Symonds Street area, and also reflects the ongoing high-status nature of the neighbourhood into the early twentieth century. The building has historical value for its associations with Auckland industrialist and philanthropist Charles Milne Mennie.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Bayreuth has aesthetic significance as an ornate urban villa designed in a restrained Italianate style with Arts and Crafts elements. It incorporates a well-preserved interior containing numerous decorative features of note, and external elements that contribute to its aesthetic value, including elaborate cast-iron railings.

Architectural Significance or Value

Bayreuth has architectural significance as an example of an urban villa built at the beginning of the twentieth century to house citizens of standing, and as an example of the work of noted Auckland architect Charles Le Neve Arnold. Its combination of Italianate and Arts and Crafts elements can be seen to mark a transitional stage between these architectural styles.

Cultural Significance or Value

The place has cultural significance for its association with musicians Johannes Wielaert and Katherine Schafe, occupants for some years, who contributed to the development of music in New Zealand.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

Bayreuth reflects the ongoing development of Auckland's lower Symonds Street area as a sought-after residential address in the early years of the twentieth century. It is a representative example of the spacious villa housing built on the Symonds Street ridge in the late-Victorian and the Edwardian era to accommodate persons of means. It also reflects the adaptation of large dwellings in the twentieth century into flats, doctors' rooms and as office accommodation for academics in the expanding tertiary education sector.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The place is associated with Johannes Wielaert who contributed to the development of orchestral and choral music in New Zealand at the beginning of the twentieth century, and his wife, New Zealand soprano Katherine Schafe. It also has value for its connection with local industrialist and philanthropist James Milne Mennie who gifted the city a statue of Robert Burns in Auckland's Domain and who made a substantial bequest to the University of Auckland for the teaching of commerce subjects.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

Located beside a main road within a few metres of a busy Auckland thoroughfare and as part of a major tertiary institution, the building has potential for public education about the history of late-Victorian and Edwardian architecture, changing patterns of land use and aspects of the development of the University of Auckland.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

The building is a surviving example of early twentieth-century urban residential architecture and has some significance for the visual simplicity of its design and its appreciable streetscape value.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

The place forms part of an outstanding historical and cultural landscape in the lower Symonds Street area. The surrounding landscape is particularly significant as the epicentre of colonial power in early New Zealand, as a high-status residential and administrative area in the late nineteenth century, and as an important educational precinct during most of the twentieth century. It contains an unusually large concentration of structures, in-ground archaeological deposits and trees of recognised heritage importance. Items include the British governor's house, remnants of the largest military barracks in colonial New Zealand and the oldest surviving stone church in the country.

Summary

The place is a place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value due to the extent to which it reflects the ongoing development of Auckland's lower Symonds Street area as a sought-after residential address in the early years of the twentieth century. The place is also assigned Category II status having regard to its associations with important persons in New Zealand history, including Charles Le Neve Arnold, Johannes Wielaert and James Mennie. The place is further assigned Category II status due to its potential for public education, its early twentieth-century architectural design, and as part of an outstanding cultural and historical landscape in the lower Symonds Street area.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Arnold, Charles

Charles Le Neve Arnold

The Campbell Free Kindergarten is the work of a noted Auckland architect, Charles Le Neve Arnold, who was involved in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in New Zealand. He had joined the Auckland Institute of Architects in 1885. In 1886, Arnold supervised the erection of St Mary's Church in Parnell. He designed a number of important works over the coming years including the Mackelvie annexe to the Auckland City Council building (1892), the Admiralty House (1901), Great Northern Brewery, Colonial Sugar Refining Company Office (1903), Auckland Chamber of Commerce (1903) and the Ante-park at Cornwall Park (1903). He later formed a partnership with Mr Atkinson Abbott and this partnership was responsible for such notable designs as the Dilworth Ulster Institute (1916), the Auckland Grammar School (1913) and the Kings College Memorial Chapel (1922). Arnold died in 1955 at the age of 100.

Arnold established a relationship with John Logan Campbell in the early years of the twentieth century when he was appointed architect to the Cornwall Park Trust Board. In 1903 he designed the Ante-park at Cornwall Park which was completed in 1906. He also designed the Arts and Crafts-style Huia Lodge in Cornwall Park, which originally housed the caretaker and his wife. Campbell had a strong interest in architectural design and proved himself to be a competent amateur architect. In 1869, Campbell had personally drawn up plans for extensive alterations to his home, Logan Bank, to be built in poured concrete using a special patent process. In 1878, he designed a new home to be known as Kilbryde and sent his plans to the architectural firm of Edward Mahoney & Son where they were revised and working drawings prepared. Arnold, in his design of the Cornwall Park Ante-park, was said to have 'to a great extent carried out the desires' of Campbell. However, it is unlikely that Campbell had such a significant role in the design of the Campbell Free Kindergarten. The building was designed late in Campbell's life and at a time that his eyesight and health were failing. In June 1906 his eyesight suddenly deteriorated and he was unable to read thereafter or write anything more than his signature.

Morris, Ebenezer

Ebenezer Morris (1849?-1929)

Scots-born Morris came to New Zealand in 1877. He was in business at Thames, Matakohe and Auckland. One of his early contracts was the single-classroom Matakohe School (1879) (NZHPT register # 470, Category II historic place). During the 1890s he went into business with a Mr McLean. The partnership constructed St Paul's Anglican Church, Symonds Street in 1894-1895 (NZHPT Registration # 650, Category I), but appears to have ended by November 1895 . At the turn of the century Morris, in business on his own account, undertook a number of government contracts including alterations and additions to the Auckland Magistrates Court and to the Courthouse in Te Awamutu (1900); and to the Auckland Asylum (1904), now known as the former Carrington Hospital, or Unitech (NZHPT Registration # 96, Category I historic place). He constructed the Devonport Post Office in 1907 and the Huntly Post Office in 1908.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

Prior to European settlement, there was Maori occupation on today's Symonds Street ridge and Queen Street gully, known as Horotiu. The ridge may have been particularly well-regarded for its fertile soils and was cultivated by Ngati Whatua in the 1830s, when food was grown to supply the increasing number of Pakeha visiting the Waitemata harbour. After Auckland was chosen as the site of the colonial capital in 1840, the ridge was laid out as the epicentre of administrative power in the new colony, incorporating the British governor's house, the Albert Barracks - the largest military installation in the country - and the general assembly, where delegates from throughout the country gathered to discuss political matters. Following the departure of the colonial administration to the newly designated capital at Wellington in 1865 and the withdrawal of British troops shortly afterwards, the ridge consolidated its reputation as a high-status neighbourhood in the 1870s with the construction of desirable housing for the wealthy and places of genteel recreation such as Choral Hall and Albert Park.

The site occupied by Bayreuth was part of a larger area of land on the southeastern side of Symonds Street that was initially an endowment reserved by Governor George Grey under the Grammar School Trust Deed of 1850. A Grammar School for the intended instruction of 'persons of all classes and races' who inhabited the colony was an early attempt to encourage local education, but was not finally established until 1869. The site on which Bayreuth was eventually built was subsequently part of a land parcel leased by the Trust administrators for 20 years to Auckland merchant John Roberton in 1861. In 1864, builder James Gilberd and painter Henry Gilberd took over the lease and built four dwellings. Two of these, a single-storey timber house fronting Wynyard Street and a two-storey cottage fronting Grafton Road, occupied the land at 10 Grafton Road. The increasing desirability of the area for high quality residential housing during the 1870s and early 1880s led to the construction of new villas elsewhere on the Auckland Grammar School Board's lots, such as four allotments fronting the east side of lower Symonds Street in 1884-5. However, the depression of the later 1880s and 1890s resulted in land at the corner of Symonds Street and Grafton Road lying vacant almost two decades. It was only with the advent of better economic times at the turn of the century that the land at 10 Grafton Road was subdivided, creating a 427m² site on which a new building was erected. The earlier structures were sold for removal in 1902.

Construction of the building

A 50-year lease for the site was granted to merchant William McCabe in February 1903. The terms required that a substantial dwelling costing not less than ₤600, be completed within two years. Within a few months, biscuit and confectionary manufacturer James Milne Mennie (1860-1924) had taken over the lease. The substantial two-storey residence appears to have been constructed as a rental property. Aberdeen-born Mennie had come from Melbourne to the Thames goldfields in 1869 where he founded the business Mennie and Dey. He relocated the business to Auckland in 1884. A successful entrepreneur, Mennie was also a noted philanthropist, who made numerous large public donations during his lifetime and in his will. These included a ₤4000 bequest to the Auckland University College, the income arising from which was to be used towards providing University education in commercial subjects.

Tenders for construction of a house closed on 23 December 1903. The design was that of a noted Auckland architect, Charles Le Neve Arnold (1855?-1955), who was involved in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in New Zealand. The builder was Ebenezer Morris (1849?-1929), a Scotsman who had come to New Zealand in 1877. One of Morris' larger projects, with a business partner, was St Paul's Anglican Church in Auckland's Symonds Street (1894-1895). Largely Italianate in design, the new two-storey brick building at 10 Grafton Road also incorporated emerging Arts and Crafts features, such as a roof clad with Marseilles tiles. In this respect it reflected a transition between two popular styles for the grand dwellings of the wealthier citizens of Auckland.

Built close to the Grafton Road pavement and immediately next to Wynyard Street, the imposing house on its corner site was a notable landmark for those travelling up Grafton Road to the city. Both floors had four sizeable rooms at the front. A small room off the rear hall on the ground floor suggests there may have been accommodation for a maid. Highly ornate cast-iron railings with matching gate extended along the front boundary with a short return along the Wynyard Street boundary to enclose the front garden and formal entrance to the residence. Similar cast-iron crestings adorned the front balcony at first floor level.

The first tenant Dr J.E.W. Somerville, took over the house in August 1904. By November 1906 Amsterdam-born music teacher Johannes Wielaert (1875-1948) had leased the conveniently located residence a few doors from nearby Choral Hall. Wielaert had settled in Australia in 1899. He was conductor of the newly founded Auckland Orchestral Society from 1905 until 1913 and prepared the Festival Orchestra that accompanied Sir Henry Coward's Sheffield Musical Union on the New Zealand leg of its world tour of 1911. Prior to the advent of the National Orchestra in 1946, local orchestras were a significant influence in New Zealand's cultural development. Wielaert's wife was New Zealand soprano Kathleen Schafe. During their tenancy which ended in 1913, the house was known as Bayreuth.

Subsequent use and development

'Outfitter' James Gray briefly rented the property until 1917, when Mrs Elizabeth Mugglesworth became the occupant subsequently purchasing the lease in 1924. During her 35-year tenancy the house was converted into two apartments, probably in the early 1930s. In 1952 the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees took over the lease. By this time the premises, like many other houses in the lower Symonds Street area, were doctors' rooms. The church bought the freehold in 1953 and established its Presbyterian Overseas Mission office on the first floor, but continued to let the ground floor out as rooms for medical practitioners.

The Crown acquired the property in 1962. The University of Auckland had been asked in 1956 to accept Princes Street as a 'permanent home'. The proposal had drawn strong objections, including those of several medical specialists who by now practised from the area in large numbers. Formally opened in May 1883 the Auckland University College initially occupied the disused District Court House in Eden Street. By 1965 the University was operating from over 80 buildings in the Princes Street and Symonds Street area, 45 of which were old residences or private hotels.

The building at 10 Grafton Road was occupied by the Department of Germanic Languages until 2001, when the School of Music became its tenant. Currently a site office for the construction of an adjacent Business School, the building will be restored at the end of the project and its gardens reinstated. The building is one of a dwindling group of residences on the lower Symonds Street ridge that demonstrates the area's development as a high-status residential district in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Physical Description

Bayreuth lies in the eastern part of Auckland's central business district (CBD). It is located on the eastern slopes of the Symonds Street ridge, in an area currently occupied as a campus by the University of Auckland. Situated a short distance to the southeast of the main thoroughfare of Symonds Street, the building occupies a corner site on the eastern side of Grafton Road at its intersection with Wynyard Street (now a stopped road). Grafton Road is a broad street linking the Symonds Street ridge with Grafton Gully, and is lined with numerous 100-year-old London Plane trees. These are identified in Appendix 2: Schedule of Trees, in Auckland City Council's District Plan.

Located within the eastern part of the historic colonial centre of Auckland, Bayreuth lies within a broader landscape of outstanding historical and cultural heritage value. In the same block are St Andrew's Church (NZHPT Registration # 20, Category I historic place) which is the oldest surviving stone church in New Zealand, a house at 5 Alten Road (NZHPT Registration # 7398, Category II historic place) and three late-Victorian villas at 12 to 16 Symonds Street. A surviving early twentieth-century house is situated immediately to the north of Bayreuth. Diagonally opposite, on the western side of Grafton Road, is a former shop of nineteenth-century date. In the block to the north and east are the colonial governor's residence (Government House (Former), NZHPT Registration # 105, Category I historic place), remnants of the largest military barracks in New Zealand (including the Albert Barracks Wall, NZHPT Registration # 12, Category I historic place), the Old Choral Hall (NZHPT Registration # 4474, Category I historic place) which was one of the major venues for cultural gatherings in colonial Auckland, and the Old Arts Building, University of Auckland (NZHPT Registration # 25, Category I historic place).

Bayreuth is built at a slight angle to Grafton Road. It occupies most of a wedge-shaped, 427m² site. This is adjacent to a large University Business School development currently under construction. The site has a cross fall from west to east and from north to south. A small front garden incorporates a series of small, level spaces defined by an ornamental cast-iron fence and gate.

The two-storey villa is constructed of brick and has a plaster finish. It is broadly rectangular in plan although the south side of its façade to Grafton Road projects forward under a separate gable. The building has been described as simplified Italianate in style, although it contains Arts and Crafts elements such as a Marseilles tile roof. It has been noted for its strong contribution to the Grafton Road streetscape. Heavy plain pilasters define the ground-floor bay window and the entrance porch. At first floor level is a balcony with cast iron cresting. The windows on the first floor gable end walls have circular heads and there is an oculus high in each gable. The Marseilles-tiled roof has a deep overhang with exposed purlins. Two chimneys with pronounced cornices and a recessed frieze with Egyptian key pattern are a notable feature as seen from Grafton Road.

The northwest elevation has a square bay, which at ground floor level extends to the north corner of the building taking in a plain, side entrance. The separation between the two floors is expressed on the bay's exterior by a heavy cornice. The north corner on the building's upper level is recessed and is decorated with three squat, lathed baluster-like columns.

The formal entrance porch with marble step and tessellated floor opens into a broad central hall that extends most of the length of the structure. The hall stairway has three ornate newel posts which are rectangular in section and taper towards the base. The post in the main entrance hall is more elaborate than those on the landing and first floor. The dark timber balustrade up the stair is ornate. The arch-supports in the hall on both floors are very distinctive and have a simple stylised decoration. A narrower passage with tongue-and-groove lining extends from the end of the hall, northwest to the back door on the ground floor.

The ground floor has two generously-sized offices off either side of the main hall. A tiled fire register is a notable feature of the southwest room. The corresponding fireplace on the reverse chimney breast in the room behind is blocked off. A sizeable office occupies the building's southeast corner. Off the narrower hall are a toilet, a bathroom and a shower-room. On the upper floor the two rooms on the northwest side have been combined and a hallway formed to access two rooms at the rear. The room in the southeast corner was originally a sizeable open balcony. On the southeast side are three offices - two recently formed by partitioning the front room. All but one of the building's fireplaces has been removed, but original ceilings, ceiling roses and other joinery survive largely intact.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1904 -

Modification
1930 -
Conversion to two flats, kitchen facilities added (first floor).

Modification
-
Balcony enclosed (first floor, southeast corner); Partition wall removed between kitchen and room to northwest, fireplaces removed northwest side Fire places removed (ground and first floors).

Modification
1958 -
Fireplace removed and lobby and storeroom built first floor room second from front (southeast side).

Modification
-
Partition wall removed between two rooms (first floor, northwest side).

Modification
1962 -
Chimney removed at rear of house

Modification
2004 -
room partitioned into two (first floor, northwest side).

Construction Details

Brick, Marseilles tiled roof.

Completion Date

27th April 2007

Report Written By

Joan McKenzie and Martin Jones

Information Sources

Sinclair, 1983

Keith Sinclair, A History of the University of Auckland, 1883-1983, Auckland, 1983

Thomson, 1991

J. Thomson, Oxford History of New Zealand Music, Auckland, 1991

Trembath, 1969

K.A. Trembath, Ad Augusta: A Centennial History of Auckland Grammar School 1869-1969, Auckland, 1969.

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern 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.