Linden (Former)

22 Royal Terrace, Dunedin

  • Linden (Former), Dunedin.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Derek Smith. Date: 10/06/2002.
  • Linden (Former), Dunedin.
    Copyright: Heriatge New Zealand. Taken By: Amanda Mulligan. Date: 31/10/2014.
  • Linden (Former), Dunedin.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Amanda Mulligan. Date: 31/10/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4768 Date Entered 27th July 1988


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 28 Blk XIX Town of Dunedin (CT OT 41/296), Otago Land District and the building known as Linden (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 28 Blk XIX Town of Dunedin (CT OT41/296), Otago Land District


Linden at 22 Royal Terrace, built in the 1870s, is associated with the prominent Isaacs and Hudson families and is a testament to the position Dunedin once enjoyed as New Zealand’s commercial capital.

The section on which this house stands was originally part of a larger block purchased by John Logan (1819-95) in 1855. In 1878 Section 28 was purchased by Jacob Isaacs (?-1935), a Jewish merchant from Melbourne who was in Dunedin by 1864. He partnered with Bendix Hallenstein in the New Zealand Clothing Factory until he retired in 1890. The purchase of the section was inspired by Isaacs’ marriage in Melbourne, May 1878, to Helene Michaelis, daughter of Moritz Michaelis of the Hallenstein/Michaelis dynasties.

Isaacs commissioned a Mason and Wales design in 1878. The design was likely by Nathaniel Wales. Completed by April 1879, the house was named ‘Linden’ after the Michaelis’ family home in Melbourne. There is even a similarity of design, particularly in the restrained ornamentation, slim columns, quoins and lace-like cast iron veranda.

Linden was a two-storied, two-bay Victorian residence of more than fifteen rooms. The exterior was plastered triple brick with quoins. The foundations were Leith Valley andesite, the roof was slate and an ornate balcony was installed over the front door. The ground floor interior included a lounge-drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, and library; all with 14 foot (4.3 metres) high ceilings, decorated plaster centre roses and detailed cornices. Interior fittings included ‘Heavy Turkey, Wilton Pile and Brussels carpets, Magnificent Gilt Wall and Mantel Mirrors and Girandoles’. Furniture was solid oak, walnut and ebony, manufactured in London to special order. Servants’ stairs lead upstairs to three servants’ bedrooms, a bathroom and sunroom. The entrance stairway led to four bedrooms with a dressing room off the master. Beneath the ground floor was a wine cellar, laundry and storage area. The earthen floor was sealed with pitch, probably an early method of preventing rising damp. Between floors was an early method of sound and heat proofing – cinders.

The Isaacs prepared to move to London and in 1890 Linden was sold to James Wilson. In 1896 Richard Hudson (1842-1903), the founder of Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd., bought Linden. Hudson had arrived in New Zealand in 1865 and after working on the goldfields, he trained as a baker. Hudson set up his own bakery and sold ships' biscuits from a barrow on the wharves. During the 1870s and 1880s he built larger and larger biscuit and confectionary factories. Finally in the early 1900s he bought the present factory site in Cumberland Street. Hudson died in 1903 but his widow Mary lived in the house until 1937.

Subsequent owners converted Linden into a lodging house, and it was not until Professor Richard Dowden bought the house in 1975 that it was restored to its former glory and a family home. In 1986 the house was sold again to become the headquarters of the Buddhist community in Dunedin.

This is one of Dunedin's grandest houses and is relatively unmodified. The elegant Linden is architecturally, historically and socially significant for its association with prominent businessmen Jacob Isaacs and Richard Hudson, and as a fine example of Nathaniel Wales’ design skill. An important part of the group of fine Victorian houses in the Pitt Street/Royal Terrace conservation area, Linden stands as a testament to the wealth and entrepreneurism which established Dunedin as an early commercial centre.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Land Registry records show that Jacob Isaac, the owner of the land on which Linden stands, raised a mortgage in 1878, and Mason and Wales' records show that he commissioned Linden in that year. The house was sold to James Wilson in 1890 and to Richard Hudson in 1896. Hudson did not enjoy it for long since he died in 1903 but his widow Mary lived in the house until 1937. Subsequent owners converted it into a lodging house, and it was not until Professor Richard Dowden bought the house in 1975 that it was restored to its former glory as a family home. In 1986 the house was sold again to become the headquarters of the Buddhist community in Dunedin.

This particularly fine Victorian house is a fitting monument to the rags-to-riches career of the Dunedin business man and benefactor, Richard Hudson. Hudson arrived in New Zealand as an illegal immigrant in 1865, changing his name to Daniel Bullock for a time to evade detection by the authorities. He came from a poor illiterate family and, by hard work, shrew investment and a talent for both engineering and business, founded the Dunedin empire of biscuit and chocolate manufacturing, now incorporated into Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd.

After working on the goldfields for a few years, Hudson trained as a banker under John Griffin, founder of Griffins Biscuits. Hudson set up his own bakery in the Arcade (Broadway), and made a good profit on selling ships' biscuits from a barrow on the wharves to newly arrived sailing ships. During the 1870s and 1880s he built larger and larger biscuit and confectionary factories and flour mills on Dowling Street, Moray Place and finally in the early 1900s bought a defunct distillery on the present factory site in Cumberland Street. Since water supplies to Cumberland Street were inadequate, he piped water from the spring behind the other Hudson house at 12 Royal Terrace, providing a public drinking fountain in St Andrews Street. He was active in setting up the Dunedin free public library in 1898 and was the first Dunedin employer to give his staff a half holiday on Saturdays and a 40 hour week. He bought land above Wakari for subdivision for workers' housing which eventually became the Hudson block. He died in 1903 leaving a family of six sons and his wife who continued to run the business with increasing success.

Architectural Significance:

This is one of Dunedin's grander houses, with its 15 rooms and ornate balcony over the front door. Compared to many it is relatively unmodified.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

An important part of the group of fine Victorian houses in the Pitt/Royal Street conservation area.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mason & Wales Architects Ltd

Mason and Wales Architects Ltd is the oldest architectural practice in New Zealand, having been founded by William Mason (1810-1897) in 1862 Dunedin. Mason was born in England, studied under Peter Nicholson and worked under Thomas Telford and Edward Blore. In 1838 he immigrated to New South Wales, and came to New Zealand in 1840. Having spent 22 years in Auckland he went to Dunedin at the time of the gold discoveries and was elected the first mayor of Dunedin in 1865. He was active in politics as well as in architecture.

Mason was in partnership firstly with David Ross (1827-1908) and William Henry Clayton (1823-1877) and he took in N.Y.A. Wales (1832-1903) when Clayton left the firm to become Colonial Architect in Wellington. Wales had worked as a clerk of works and was very competent in all aspects of construction.

The firm was responsible for many of Dunedin's early important buildings such as the Post Office (later known as the Exchange Building), Princes Street (1864-68), the Exhibition Building (later the Dunedin Hospital), Great King Street (1864), St Matthew's Church, Stafford Street (1873), and the Wains Hotel, Princes Street (1878).

Mason and Wales designed the Abbotsford Farm Steading (1871) at Outram, Otago (NZHPT Reg. No. 7579). This farm steading was designed for James Shand, a prominent land owner, politician and businessman in the area. Mason and Wales designed another farm steading for Shand at his property Berkeley in 1881 (demolished 1981). In 1881, Mason and Wales also designed a plain concrete Chicory Kiln (NZHPT Reg. No. 3359, Cat II) at Inch Clutha, South Otago for Gregg and Coy.

Mason and Wales continues today. N.Y.A. Wales (b.1927) is a fourth generation director of the firm.

WALES, Nathaniel Young Armstrong (1832-1903)

Wales was born in Northumberland, England, and educated at Jedburgh, Scotland. He immigrated to Australia in 1854 and found employment as a carpenter working on the buildings for the first exhibition held in Melbourne.

He arrived in Dunedin about 1863, and was a clerk of works for William Mason on the old Bank of New Zealand Building (1862-64), the Post Office Building (1864-68) and the Port Chalmers Graving Dock (1868-72).

Wales entered partnership with William Mason in 1871. The firm of Mason and Wales was responsible for many fine buildings in Dunedin including Bishopscourt (1873), St Matthew's Church (1873), Government Life Insurance Building (1897) and Wains Hotel (1878).

Wales had military and political interests and was a Member of Parliament for some years. He occupied a seat on the Dunedin Harbour Board and was a Dunedin City Councillor. In 1895 he was elected Mayor of Dunedin. In 1900 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Significance of Designer:

The design of Linden is likely to have been done by Nathaniel Wales, since Mason had retired in 1874 and Wales was the principal partner in the firm in 1878. It was built for Jacob Isaac.

Architectural Description (Style):

The house is a two-storied, two-bay Victorian residence of more than 15 rooms, with details tending to the classical but showing the influence of the British architect, Charles Eastlake, in its decorative woodwork over the balcony.


Exterior is virtually unmodified and interior very little modified. The kitchen and bathrooms have been modernised.

Notable Features

The ornate woodwork on the front balcony and its unmodified interior, its association with Richard Hudson.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1878 - 1879

1937 -
Converted to flats. Additional kitchens added.

1975 -
Converted to family home. House restored.

Construction Details

The exterior walls are of triple brick, plastered over, with long and short quoins at the corner to imitate masonry. The interior walls are double brick. The foundations are Leith valley andesite and the roof covered with slates.

Completion Date

23rd April 2012

Report Written By

Susan Irvine

Information Sources

Galer, 1981

L. Galer, Houses and Homes, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981

Griffiths, 1973

George Griffiths (ed), The Advance Guard: Series One, Otago Daily Times, Dunedin, 1973

Stacpoole, 1976

John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Otago/Southland Area office of NZHPT.

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.

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.