Early history of the site
The site is located on the lower western slopes of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), which incorporates the former pa of the Waihoua chief Kiwi Tamaki. Maungakiekie was part of the broader Auckland Isthmus taken over by Ngati Whatua in the eighteenth century, preceding colonisation and the founding of Auckland as capital in 1840. Subsequently known as Epsom, the area to the west of Maungakiekie was subdivided following the transfer of the Waitemata-to-Hobson and Waitemata-to-Manukau blocks in 1841 and became renowned for its fertile farmland and large country homes.
The land that later became Claude Road was part of an 1847 Crown Grant of approximately 22 hectares, taken up by James Williamson (1814-1888) who later established a substantial residence on his Pah Farm estate nearby. Epsom farmer William Gardner (1829?-1899) bought the 22-hectare block in 1866, having leased it since 1859. In 1887 Gardner subdivided his holding into a number of large allotments, laying the basis for creation of Claude, Crescent and Gardner Roads and Emerald Street. A decade later he sold two allotments to Elizabeth Burns, the wife of Auckland hardware and iron merchant, John Burns.
Amidst intensifying subdivision further contributing to Epsom's transformation into a residential suburb, Mrs Burns subdivided allotment 17 into five parcels in 1914. The north-facing properties had a semi-rural aspect adjoining Cornwall Park and also overlooked the grounds of the Costley Home for the Poor (1889-90), which fronted Green Lane.
Purchase of the site by Frank Winstone (1915)
In April 1915, Auckland merchant Frank Martin Winstone (1879-1952) purchased a three-lot parcel immediately adjoining Cornwall Park as the site for a home for his young family. Many large residences were constructed in Epsom by prominent Auckland businessmen and industry leaders in the early twentieth century, reinforcing the suburb's reputation as a desirable middle class area. The desirability of South Epsom may have been reinforced by its proximity to Cornwall Park, an amenity gifted to the people of Auckland in 1901 by John Logan Campbell (1817-1912) an early founder of the city.
Auckland-born Winstone was the son of Mary (nee Martin) and George Winstone. William and George Winstone, Frank's uncle and father respectively, were the 1869 founders of the general carrying and fuel supply business W. and G. Winstone. Profiting from contracts issued by the 1870s Vogel government, the firm became one of the largest haulage firms in the Auckland region. Formation of a limited liability company in 1904 enabled expansion of the firm's growing building supply interests, as attention turned to the production of materials for an urban economy dominated by suburban construction.
Frank Winstone did not enter the family firm, having in 1895 joined the seed and grain business of his maternal uncle Robert Martin. Taking over the firm in 1908 and trading under the name Frank M. Winstone, he capitalised on the completion of the North Island Main Trunk rail line to supply agricultural products to a growing number of small farmers breaking in land in the Hauraki Plains, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. As well as grain and seed, goods included manure products.
Construction and initial use of Marire (1915)
In 1910, Frank Winstone married Grace Harbutt (1886?-1966). A schoolteacher, Grace was the sixth daughter of an Auckland corn broom merchant named Thomas Harbutt. The Winstones initially lived in Northcote, where their first two children were born. In 1914, they commissioned architect William Henry Gummer (1884-1966), a personal friend, to design their new home.
Evidently constructed in 1915, the large two-storey dwelling was sited towards the southeast corner of the 4200 square-metre (one acre) property. The residence was constructed of mid-brown-coloured brick, had tile-hung dormers and a tiled roof. Window openings were timber-framed casements. The grounds, which may have been part of the design concept, included a curving driveway from Claude Road, plantings and extensive lawns.
Known as Marire, the Winstone residence had a Garden City-inspired exterior and a floor plan extending over several levels. Arts and Crafts influences were evident in the dominant roof featuring steeply-pitched gables, dormer windows, and tall chimneys. The earthy-coloured exterior incorporated battering to accentuate the solid appearance of the walls. Elevations incorporated arches, porches and features that contributed to the perception of a structure in the round.
The front porch opened into a rectangular hall. The living room and linked dining room had oak panelling and timber beamed ceilings. The living room with an inglenook opened onto a west-facing verandah within the low roofline. A kitchen, pantry and maid's room were located in the rear east portion of the house with a breakfast room in the front.
On the first floor were four bedrooms, a bathroom and a lavatory. In the half-width basement was a garage, play room and washhouse.
Constructed at a time when Winstone Limited was expanding its building supply interests, the house is likely to have incorporated company products. The firm had acquired the agency for bricks produced at Gardner Brothers and Parker's works at New Lynn. In 1913 it added the agency for Cafferata Plaster, which led to the importation of wall board.
The identity of the building contractor is not known.
The designer, Auckland-born William Gummer was articled to local architect William Holman in 1900. Gummer later studied at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, a body dominated by beaux-arts classicism, an architectural style characterised by grandness, formality, symmetry and elaborate ornamentation. He worked in the office of the notable British architect Edwin Lutyens in 1911, a period of emerging classicism in the latter's work. Gummer was to become the most prominent of four New Zealand-born architects who studied under Lutyens. He also worked briefly in the United States in 1912 under Daniel Burnham, a leading figure of the influential Chicago School. There he was exposed to the latest structural ideas for multi-storey commercial developments.
On his return to New Zealand in 1913, William Gummer became a partner of Hoggard, Prouse and the principal designer of the practice, creating technologically advanced multi-storeyed buildings in the restrained classical style. Setting new standards in commercial architecture these structures included the New Zealand Insurance Company Building in Auckland (1914) and the State Fire Insurance Building, Wellington (1915).
Gummer's domestic works, although comparatively small in number, achieved equal distinction. Among the earliest, Marire was heavily influenced by Lutyens' work, as exhibited by its prominent arched entry, low gables, flat-roofed dormers, an inglenook and many fireplaces. The low-roofed verandah suggested an adaptation for an antipodean climate and lifestyle.
Marire was one of a small group of houses designed by Gummer while working with Hoggard, Prouse. The single-storey Cleave or Cotswalds House (1913-14) (Record no. 5440, Category I historic place) evidently reflected few of Gummer's ideas relating to space disposition and design. By contrast the Abbott House at Herne Bay (1913) and two Takapuna residences for James Gunson were something new for Auckland and experimented with ideas Gummer had seen in the newly-designed Garden Suburbs and country areas around London. The sophisticated twin-gabled Champtaloup House (1914) (Record no. 510, Category II historic place) illustrated a developing amalgam of the English and antipodean lifestyle. Other than the brick Cleave House, these works were in timber.
Marire's shady verandah and rotational plan centred around the staircase (possibly an American influence) were elements further developed in more distinctive domestic designs, notably at the landmark Tauroa, Havelock North (1916) (Record no. 176, Category I historic place) and in Gummer's own home Stoneways, Epsom (1926). Tauroa, regarded as one of New Zealand's grandest twentieth-century homes, marked the emergence of a personal approach to architecture signifying a break with more conservative architectural contemporaries.
In 1923, Gummer went into partnership with C. Reginald Ford (1880-1972) giving rise to one of the Dominion's most prominent practices of the 1920s and 1930s. Gummer and Ford produced technically advanced work and undertook some of New Zealand's largest and most complex projects, including the Auckland Railway Station (1926-30) (Record no.93, Category I historic place) and the State Fire Insurance Building, Wellington (1940) (Record no.231, Category I historic place). Although he remained essentially a traditionalist, Gummer joined an international trend towards modernism in the 1930s and began designing in a style later described as 'moderate modernism'. The practice, which provided an important training ground for young architects including leading figures in the modernist movement in New Zealand, was dissolved in 1961 upon the retirement of its founders.
Subsequent use and modifications
After 1915 Frank and Grace Winstone lived at Marire for three decades raising their three children there. Brick steps, piers, paving and stone walls, part of the overall design, were in place by 1917, the year Marire and two other Gummer-designed homes featured in Modern Houses of New Zealand by Architects of Standing. A side gate in the stone boundary wall provided direct access from the property into Cornwall Park. A potting shed and a garden shed were erected at an unknown date. In 1920, the property was transferred into Grace Winstone's ownership.
Frank M. Winstone became a limited liability company in 1923, a period when Frank was actively involved in business and community organisations. President of the New Zealand Grain, Seed and Produce Merchants' Association in 1923, he was elected to the council of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce the following year. An office-bearer in the Methodist church for over 50 years, Winstone became treasurer of Trinity Theological College in 1927 a post he held for 25 years. Grace was actively involved in the Wesley Orphanage, an institution originally endowed by William Winstone.
In 1925, Marire's imported roof tiles were replaced with a Winstone product promoted in a 1927 advertisement displaying the house. A single-storey addition at an unknown date shortly after almost doubled the size of the breakfast room but blocked the north arch of a side porch. Other alterations of unknown date included removal of an inglenook (without disturbing the fireplace) to accommodate a small extension with a window seat on the west side of the living room. The remaining verandah area was enclosed to create a sunroom. Two window seats may also have been added to the dining room. A freestanding brick garage with tile roof was erected prior to 1940.
As agricultural pastures became well established, declining demand for grass seed led Frank M. Winstone Limited to diversify into agrichemicals and spray machinery, insurance, importing agencies and flower and vegetable seed retailing. New initiatives in the 1940s included the manufacture of Lily brand paper cups and plates, and drinking straws for the national market. Cardboard pottles and lids were produced for the retailing of food commodities including ice cream and honey in an era before the use of plastic containers.
In 1944 the Winstones sold Marire to nephew Bruce Winstone. Bruce, who had joined Winstone Limited in 1938 as an engineer, became a director in 1948 and was closely involved in the development of the Mt Wellington and Hunua quarries. Alterations to the Claude Road house during his four-decade tenure included modernisation of the kitchen and conversion of the rear porch into a bathroom (1951), work designed by architect Irwin Crookes and undertaken by contractor R. Savoury Limited. A skylight was installed within the south-facing roof. In 1960, a flat-roofed boat shelter was constructed at the southwest corner of the property. An adjoining tennis court was developed at an unknown date in the two preceding decades.
Winstone Limited was taken over by Brierley Investments in 1984 who onsold to Fletcher Challenge four years later. Marire's seven-decade association with the family ended in 1988, around the time Frank M. Winstone Merchants Limited ceased trading under the family name. Subsequently, exterior doors were added to the south wall of a reworked kitchen that incorporated the former maid's room. The ground floor bathroom was redesigned and a new ceiling was provided in the back hall. The house was featured as a significant work of architect William Gummer in a 1990 history of New Zealand architecture. Marire remains in use as a private residence.
Marire is located to the east of Manukau Road and Green Lane West shopping centre in south Epsom. Epsom is an inner suburb of Auckland, lying to the south of the city centre. The site lies immediately to the south of the Green Lane hospital campus. Claude Road is a cul-da-sac to the west of a large open space formed by Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain. The park encompasses the extensive earthwork remains of the pa at Maungakiekie, and also contains structures associated with John Logan Campbell - the 'Father of Auckland'. The latter include Acacia Cottage (Record no. 525, Category I historic place) and the One Tree Hill Obelisk (Record no. 4601, Category I historic place).
Other surviving components of the historical landscape in south Epsom include St Andrews Anglican Church (Record no. 116, Category I historic place), the nineteenth-century Costley Home for the Aged Poor and later buildings comprising part of the Green Lane Hospital on Green Lane West, and an Art Deco-influenced electricity substation at The Drive. Other notable residences in the near vicinity of Marire are the mid-1920s Arts and Crafts-style former Whittome House adjoining the intersection of Gardner Road and Emerald Street, and an Edwardian corner bay villa (the former Ker House) in Emerald Street.
The south side of Claude Road is characterised by large homes on well-established sites fronting a thoroughfare lined by mature street trees. At the east termination of the carriageway, a track leads to a stile over the drystone boundary wall with Cornwall Park.
Marire occupies its original three-lot land parcel, a site that slopes up to the south and east. The residence is largely screened from view by a tall hedge and mature vegetation. The entrance off the south side of the cul-de-sac is denoted by a pair of tall brick piers, each with a timber pergola top. Each pier has been reinstated on separate occasions, but reproduces the original design re-using the original bricks.
The residence is located well back from the street and is reached by an asphalt drive that curves through spacious grounds. An open clay-tile drain runs along the eastern edge of the carriageway. The south and east margins of the parking area are defined by creeper-covered stone walls that are believed to be part of the early layout. The grounds to the east are in lawn with trees including a poplar, fig and a pair of phoenix palms, specimens believed to be early plantings. Other well-established trees on the site include pohutukawa and a rimu.
On the upper eastern slopes closer to the house, are low basalt-edged planting beds, a path leading to the rear service court, and a transverse path to an old timber gate to Cornwall Park. Midway along the eastern side yard is a tall close-boarded gate which contains a smaller door within it.
Near the south end of the drive, almost opposite a semi-circular parking area is a pre-1940, single-car, brick garage with a tiled hipped roof and timber doors. It adjoins a well-screened lawn area to the north. To the south is a tennis court. A sizable flat-roofed outbuilding (1960) clad with coloured concrete blocks occupies the southwest corner of the site.
The two and a half-storey residence is located to the south of the parking area. The formal approach consists of a well-designed composition of brick or stone walls, piers and flights of brick steps. The steps of the broader lower section rise to a generously-sized pad with an elegant paved pattern in brick. The steps between the basement garage and front entrance also appear to be an original feature. A creeper, possibly Ficus primula, covers garden walls around the front of the house and portions of the main structure.
Within a courtyard to the southeast of the house is an outside lavatory located within easy reach of the kitchen and former maid's room. The small, timber frame building has weatherboard cladding, a corrugated metal gable roof and a concrete floor. The lavatory pan and toilet cistern with chain pull appear to be original features. On the south side of the courtyard, largely screened from view, are a potting shed and a garden shed of considerable age. Both have board and half-round batten cladding and a corrugated metal roof. The interiors were not inspected. A gate beside the house opens onto steps down a west-facing slope, an area not inspected.
The footprint of the two and a half-storey brick residence loosely consists of four rectangular sections based around a centrally located hall. The northeast quadrant has been squared off by the addition of a single-storey extension to the library, but otherwise the external form of the building is well-preserved.
The residence has a complex, tiled roof which is accentuated by three tall brick chimneys and flat-roofed, tile-clad dormers. The design strongly reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The main entrance is located in the north elevation. A second access occupies a porch within the east elevation. The roofline of the residence retains its original form. A single-storey extension enlarging the library at the northeast corner of the house has a flat roof that serves as a deck for one of the first-floor bedrooms.
Polychromatic detailing includes orange brick and narrow edgings of terracotta tiles in areas such as window lintels and the upper arch of the front entrance. Orange bricks also outline long and short quoin work at the corners of walls and chimneys, and appear as a two-course band relatively low on the ground floor exterior providing a contrast within the brown brick walls. The low portions of walls and chimneys have battering in places, that quickly tapers to vertical.
The front (north) elevation has an entrance arch within the low sweeping west side of an asymmetrical gable. The main ridge runs at right angles, terminating in a similar gable divided by a chimney that rises from ground level on the east elevation. On the west elevation the ridge terminates in a half gable. An asymmetrical gable extends from the main roof on the south elevation.
A single, square, bay window on each of the south and west elevations enhances the building's asymmetrical massing. The former west-facing verandah has been enclosed with wood-framed windows.
The interior of the residence is laid out on three levels: a half basement, ground floor and first floor. Only the ground floor level was viewed. Although alterations were made at an early stage and the service area of the house has been modernised, the interior is comparatively well preserved.
The ground floor layout contains four main areas: the central hall; a living room with sun room and dining room (west); kitchen and family room, bathroom, and back hall (south); and the library (northeast).
Alterations have been made to some spaces, however, the main living rooms largely retain their original features including doors, fireplaces, detailing and fittings. Original timber panelling removed to accommodate alterations in the living room and library has been re-used. The central hall, stair and dining room appear to be intact.
Upstairs, a storage room off the main landing has been enlarged onto the roof space where a skylight has been installed. The bathroom retains its original terrazzo floor. It is not known how much of the original basement layout survives. A laundry chute from the ground floor remains in use, suggesting that the laundry occupies the same relative to the original with access to the backyard.
On the ground floor, the north-facing porch with terrazzo floor accesses an open lobby which is part of the hall. The space is lit by a clear and pale-toned leadlight window on the stair landing. The hall has a low, timber dado. The simple balustrade of the staircase consists of plain, obliquely set, square-profiled uprights.
The living room, accessed by double doors on the west side of the hall, has three-quarter height dark timber panelling, as does the dining room which lies through double doors off the south-side of the living room. Plain plaster board ceilings have timber beams, flat battens and a duck-board style latticed centre. Off the living room, a small sunroom occupies the northwest portion of the former verandah. The original living room fire place is built in dark brick and has a mantle piece incorporating dark panelling. A window seat in part of the former verandah area to the right is an early alteration replacing an inglenook.
The dining room has a window seat in the south and the west wall respectively. Adjacent to the doors from the living room is a gas heater (an original fitting) set within a tall, tiled surround and hearth framed by a timber mantle piece.
A doorway opening east from the dining room accesses a narrow, back hall that connects with the kitchen. On the north side is a door connecting to the front hall. A laundry chute and storage cupboards in the north wall are part of the original design. Off the south side of the hall, a modern bathroom occupies a former rear porch. The hall ceiling has been lowered or replaced.
An open-plan kitchen and family area (former kitchen and maid's room) opens onto an outdoor living court to the south. The stove and sink occupy the same relative positions as in the original layout. White tiles lining the back of the stove alcove are a surviving original feature. The window above the kitchen sink looks into a small east-facing porch. The position of a brick arch which originally framed a view over part of the front garden is evident in the south wall of an early addition to the library on the north side of the porch.
The library (former breakfast room) is situated in the north east corner of the house. The oak doors, and an oak panelled wall incorporating a sideboard and an arched marble fireplace, are original features. A strong contrast to the simple style of the rest of house, the wall incorporates classical detailing including pilasters and composite capitals. Doors are also of a more lavish style with heavy diagonal cross timbers. Fan lights above the casement windows reproduce a detail from the window on the hall landing. The plain plastered ceiling has wide scotias.
The interiors of the garden sheds, garage and boat shelter were not inspected.
Two garden sheds
Inglenook removed, living room extended; sun room created in remaining verandah space; skylight in south-facing roof
Kitchen modernised; bathroom built in south porch
Former maid's room incorporated into remodelled open-plan kitchen and family area with doors added south wall; bathroom remodelled
House and outdoor lavatory
Concrete foundations, brick and timber, tiled roof (house)
Concrete foundations, timber frame and cladding, metal roof (lavatory)
Concrete foundations, brick walls, tiled roof (garage)
Concrete floor, timber supports, steel beams, malthoid roof (boat shelter)
3rd June 2010
Report Written By
Lucy Mackintosh and Joan McKenzie
Richard Apperley, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds, A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present, Sydney, 1989
Lloyd Jenkins, 2004
Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, At Home: A Century of New Zealand Design. Auckland: Random House, 2004
Peter Shaw, New Zealand Architecture: From Polynesian Beginnings to 1990, Auckland, 1991
G.W.A Bush, (ed.), The History of Epsom, Auckland, 2006
Frank Simpson, The First Century: A Century Review of Winstone Limited, Auckland, 1965
Paul Waite, In the Beaux-Arts Tradition: William Gummer Architect, Napier, 2005
Nann Keyes and Co., Modern Homes of New Zealand by Architects of Standing, Auckland, 1917
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.