Hardy Street Girls' School (Former)

319 Hardy Street, Nelson

  • Hardy Street Girls' School with pillar letter box. Image courtesy of vallance.photography@xtra.co.nz.
    Copyright: Francis Vallance. Taken By: Francis Vallance.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5117 Date Entered 14th February 1991

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Nelson City

Region

Nelson Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 19225 (CT NL12C/1114), Nelson Land District

Location description

Located within the Albion Square Historic Area which is bounded on the north and south side by Hardy Street and Bridge Street, Nelson.

Summaryopen/close

The following text was prepared as part of an upgrade project and was completed 27 July 2007.

Opened in 1860 at the beginning of the Provincial Council era, and at a time of development for education in Nelson, the Hardy Street Girls' School eventually closed in 1897 when the Education Board moved into the building.

Gee, in his history of Nelson Central School 1878-1978, comments that the 'Nelson settlement can fairly claim to have pioneered education in New Zealand'. The first public school, headed by William Moore, was founded in 1842. The New Zealand Company donated a site in Bridge Street for the school and gave a pound for pound subsidy towards the cost of a building which opened in September 1842. The first private school was formed prior to this in February 1842 by 'a number of Christians' and was headed by Matthew Campbell. In December that same year it would move to premises in Tasman Street. This school would be the predecessor of the Nelson School Society's school in Bridge Street, colloquially known as 'the Matthew Campbell School'. The Nelson School Society, which aimed to encourage, promote and provide for the education of children in the settlement area, first met in 1842. It opened its school in Bridge Street in April 1844. Except for a few private and denominational schools, such as Bishop's School, a school in Nile Street founded by Bishop Selwyn shortly before 'the Matthew Campbell School' in January 1844, early education in Nelson was in the hands of the Nelson School Society.

The Hardy Street Girls' School belongs to the second phase of educational development in Nelson, which was prompted by the establishment of the Provincial Council in 1853. Following the establishment of the Provincial Council, the Nelson School Society initially received more generous grants from public funds. However a Commission on Education appointed by the Council in 1855 found 'that only 600 children of a population of 6000 were attending day schools and that even where the Nelson School Society had established schools, little more than half of the children attended them'. In 1856 the Nelson Education Act, which was based on the recommendations of the commission, was passed by the Provincial Council giving control to a Central Board of Education. Many of the Nelson School Society schools would be leased to this Board and by 1857 their day schools would largely cease to exist.

Construction of the girls' and infants' school in Hardy Street began after the site was conveyed to the Superintendent of Nelson on 2 November 1860. It was originally granted to George William Schroder in 1851. The architect for the building was Maxwell Bury (1825-c1892), the architect of the Provincial Council buildings, and the builder was John Scott. The school opened on 18 February 1861 and contained a girls' schoolroom, an infants' schoolroom, a classroom and a sitting and sleeping room for the mistress. A 1861 report from the inspector of schools commented that:

"The infant school, established in the beginning of the year, at the outset relieved the existing schools from their greatest embarrassment and hindrance, a number of children too young to be taught much, yet requiring constant attention and watchfulness, and a peculiar mode of treatment. The mistress, Mrs Cook, had previously been engaged in similar duties in England; and the children who had been sent from the school are reported upon favourably by their present teachers. The school, therefore, both directly and indirectly, by its own training in habits of attention, order and obedience, and in giving the first rudiments of instruction, and by the indirect relief and aid it gives the other schools, is calculated to have a very useful influence".

It was also recorded that the girls school was divided into upper and lower levels, or first and second division.

By the late 1860s correspondence regarding the school relates to it becoming overcrowded. A verandah and outdoor toilet were added to the building in 1882. By 1886 erection of a new school building in Hardy Street had been proposed but it was eventually decided to improve the existing building. Extra classrooms were added to the north-west of the building during the 1880s, and possibly another extra classroom designed by John Scott was added in 1887. Though the situation had improved by the early 1890s staff and students left the school for others. The school would eventually close in 1897 and the Nelson Central Board of Education, (later the Nelson Education Board) moved into the building.

The Nelson Education Board remained in the building until 1928 when, at the suggestion of the Education Board, the Public Works Department (becoming the Ministry of Works in 1943) occupied the building. Further extensions were made to the building in the 1950s, on the north- east side of the building . In 1986 the flat roof of this extension would be altered by the Ministry of Works to match the rest of the building. Following corporatisation in 1 April 1988, Works and Development Services Corporation (NZ) Ltd occupied the building, as well as Jamieson House, 19 Hardy Street, the residence and surgery of the late Dr Jamieson, which was purchased in June 1964 and annexed to the school building soon after. Nelson Polytechnic occupied the remainder of the building from the beginning of 1989 and in more recent times has come to occupy the whole of the building.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Significance [largely relies on description in original registration report 1990]

The Hardy Street Girls' School (Former) is an early extant example of an educational building. It also represents the considerable efforts made by Provincial Governments in New Zealand, and in particular in Nelson, to provide a public system of education. The 'Nelson System', established in 1856, initiated an alternative to a church-based school system and foreshadowed the 1877 Education Act which provided for free, secular and compulsory education in New Zealand.

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

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

The former Hardy Street Girls' School is a fine example of an early New Zealand educational building in the pervasive Gothic Revival style. Its current form is the result of a series of additions, largely in sympathy with the character of the original building. The building's significance is enhanced further by its once stylistic and physical proximity to the Nelson Provincial Government Buildings (1859, now demolished) also designed by Maxwell Bury. This important building was the central feature of the provincial Government precinct of which the only substantial reminder left is the Hardy Street Girls' School. It is, in its own right, a fine example of the work of one of New Zealand's major colonial architects.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The Government Reserve in Hardy Street is planted with well- established trees and as a result the Former Hardy Street Girls' School is sheltered and not a prominent landmark.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Bury, Maxwell

Maxwell Bury (1825-1912) was born at East Retford, Nottinghamshire and was the son of an Anglican minister. He had training in architecture, civil and steam engineering and ship design, and it appears that some of his training was undertaken at Butterley Ironworks. He subsequently went to sea as an engineer officer. In 1853 he married Eleanor Sarah Deighton (known as Ellen) and the following year they travelled to Australia. They found, when they arrived, that Melbourne was suffering from a post-goldrush depression, and consequently the Burys moved to New Zealand. They arrived in Lyttelton in 1854 from Melbourne and settled in Nelson soon after. Bury established himself as an engineer, and became the chairman of the first Nelson Board of Works. He also became involved in various mining ventures and was churchwarden. By 1858 Bury decided to change professions, and took up architecture again. He was responsible for the first Masonic Hall in Nelson, the 1858 enlargement of Frederick Thatcher's Christ Church, and the Nelson Institute. His design for the Nelson Provincial Buildings did not win the 1858 competition but was successful none the less, as his was the only design that could be built for the specified price. None of these timber buildings now survive.

The area's wealth, which enabled Bury to gain these commissions, was based on mining. When this boom slackened, the Burys moved, arriving in Christchurch in 1863. Their involvement in the church led to further commissions for Bury, including an orphanage in Addington, the Riccarton Parsonage and the Church of St John the Baptist in Latimer Square.

He entered into partnership with Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898) in 1864. The partnership only lasted two years, but in that time Mountfort and Bury were responsible for a number of churches: St James-on-the-Cust, St Mark's at Opawa, St Joseph's at Lyttelton and St Patrick's at Akaroa and a few houses including Risingholme and Chippenham Lodge.

Bury and his family then left for London in 1866. Although it seems he intended to return to New Zealand, various problems delayed this. His marriage appears to have broken up and family tradition has it that Bury went back to sea. Around 1870 Bury did make it back to New Zealand, settling by himself in Nelson. He designed the Chapel of the Holy Evangelists for Bishopdale in Nelson (1875-1876) By 1876 Bury was based in Dunedin and won the competition for the design of Otago University, Dunedin, in 1877. Unfortunately costs on this building overran to such an extent that a Commission of Enquiry into the matter was held in 1879. Thereafter Bury found his commissions dropping off. He did undertake further work for the University from 1883-1885. Some time after 1885 he returned to Nelson, and then to Sydney, where he set up office as a civil engineer in 1890. He retired in Sydney six years later, and in 1908 finally returned to England where he died in 1912.

(Anne Marchant, 'Maxwell Bury of 'Bury and Mountfort', in Bulletin of New Zealand Art History, 19, 1998, pp.3-15)

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

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

DESCRIPTION:

The Nelson School Society first met in 1842 and the first school building was erected in 1844. The Society aimed to encourage, promote and provide for the education of children in the settlement

area. Following the establishment of the Nelson Provincial Council in 1853, the Nelson School Society received more generous grants from public funds and then in 1856 the Provincial Council took over responsibility of the Society's schools and a Central Board of Education was established.

Construction of the girls' and infants' school in Hardy Street began soon after the site was conveyed to the Superintendent of the Province of Nelson on 2 November 1860. It was originally granted to George William Schroder in 1851. The school opened on 18 February 1861 and contained a girls' schoolroom, an infants' schoolroom, a classroom and a sitting and sleeping room for the mistress.

By 1886 erection of a new school building in Hardy Street had been proposed but it was eventually decided to improve the existing building. In 1896 the decision was made to amalgamate the Hardy and Tasman Street Schools and in 1897 the Nelson Education Board moved into what was now the former Hardy Street Girls' School building. They remained there until 1928 when the Public Works Department moved in. In 1943 the Public Works Department became the Ministry of Works and following corporatisation on 1 April 1988, Works and Development Services Corporation (NZ) Ltd. Works Corp still occupies the north-west part of the building as well as Jamieson House, 19 Hardy Street, which was purchased in June 1964 and annexed to the school building soon after. Nelson Polytechnic has occupied the remainder of the school building since the beginning of 1989.

Physical Description

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

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

The former Hardy Street School for Girls is a collection of disparate parts around a core which is the original 1860 building. These parts have, from time to time, been renovated and remodelled, sometimes more than once, through to the 1980s.

The original portion of the complex is an L-shaped building. Its present principal facade is to Hardy Street, with the second wing at right angles, extending away from Hardy Street. These two original wings are typical of the Gothic Revival style favoured in the mid- nineteenth century for educational and ecclesiastical buildings. The steeply pitched roofs are punctuated by decorative gablets the ends of which are adorned by trefoils. There are ventilators on the ridges of both wings. Walls have vertical board and batten cladding. The windows in the original portion which align with the gablets, are divided into groups of three, the middle one of which has a fanlight above. Each window has a geometric hood mould. There is a wall grill ventilator between each group of windows. The wing on the Hardy Street frontage appears to have been extended on the east end and a further extension to the south forms a gable over the present entrance way. Both these extensions maintain the original ridge and roof lines, but they have no gablets or ridge ventilators, the window architraves are larger and hood moulds are simpler, for there are no fanlights to match the earlier windows. Vertical cladding of the walls is maintained.

The wing extending from Hardy Street has later been continued, to the north in two stages, with a further extension on the west side, parallel with the Hardy Street frontage. While these extensions maintain the ridge and roof lines and the vertical cladding, there are no gablets or ventilators. They have four-light casement windows grouped variously in threes and fours and without hood moulds. Further additions, each generally conforming externally to the overall architectural style, have been accreted in the angles formed by the original wings and their extensions. All these parts form a single continuous structure, which is now attached to Jamieson House, formerly its immediate neighbour.

The interiors of all of these parts have been much altered during successive stages of renovation, additions and remodelling. The arched brace roof framing can still be seen below the false ceilings but many internal walls have been relocated, and walls, floors and ceilings have been relined.

MODIFICATIONS:

There have been many additions and alterations. These include:

1861 Addition of south-east corner.

Date unknown Removal of oriel window from the south gable.

c.1882 Additions to the west of the original north wing including ablution block and verandah.

c.1887 Unspecified additions to the value of £200.

Probably early 1900s Addition of long wing running north of the west additions.

1950s Flat roofed wing added in two sections to the north of the original north wing.

c.1964 Building annexed to Jamieson House.

1986 Flat roof of 1950s addition replaced with pitched roof.

Removal of internal walls in the two north wings.

Space between two north wings filled in.

Space between school building and Jamieson House filled in.

1988 Further internal alterations including relocation of services in Jamieson House

Notable Features

Gablets and hood moulds of the 1860-61 part of the building.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

Addition
1861 -
Addition of south-east corner

Modification
-
Removal of oriel window from the south gable

Addition
-
Addition of extra classrooms

Addition
1882 -
Additions to the west of the original north wing including ablution block and verandah.

Addition
1887 -
Extra classroom designed by John Scott, unknown if built. Unspecified additions to the value of 200 pounds

Addition
-
Addition of long wing running north of the west additions

Addition
-
Flat roofed wing added in two sections to the north of the original north wing

Modification
1964 -
Building annexed to Jamieson House

Modification
1986 -
Flat roof of 1950s addition replaced with pitched roof. Removal of internal walls in the two north wings Space between two north wings filled in. Space between school building and Jamieson house filled in.

Modification
1988 -
Further internal alterations including relocation of services in Jamieson House

Construction Details

Timber frame on brick and wooden foundations. Vertical board and batten cladding. Arched brace roof clad with corrugated iron.

Completion Date

30th June 2007

Report Written By

Imelda Bargas

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

'Nelson School Society Report, The 45th Anniversary', MICRO MS 782, 'Nelson School Society Report for 54th Anniversary', MICRO MS 782, 'Nelson School Society Papers 1843-1896', MICRO MS 782, 'Electoral Rolls for the province of Nelson, 1854/55-1858/59, 1861, 1865/66- 1876/77, 1893-94, Nelson Education Board Historical Booklet, 1856-1956, Wise's New Zealand Post Office Directories, 1878/79, 1883/84, 1885/86, 1900-1929

Broad, 1892 (1976)

L. Broad, 'Jubilee History of Nelson', Nelson, 1892 (reprinted by Capper Press, Christchurch1976)

Gee, 1978

Maurice Gee, Nelson Central School: A history, Nelson [N.Z.]: Nelson Central School Centennial Committee, 1978

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

Plan of Government Reserves, City of Nelson, Section 200, 1929, Plan of School Site and Reserves, Sections 200, 201, 203 and part 179, 189, 202, June 1886, SO 10116; Certificates of title 8/104; 13/259; 161/30; 1B/1088; 1B/1089, Deeds Index 1/52

New Zealand Gazette

New Zealand Gazette

1964, p886

New Zealand Government Gazette

New Zealand Government Gazette

Vol. VII No. 9, May 1859, p38, Vol. VII No. 17, 19 September 1859, p76, Vol. IX No. 2, 20 March 1861, Vol. IX No. 16, 2 December 1861, Vol. X No. 5, 4 April 1862

Newport, 1966

J N W Newport, A short history of the Nelson Province, RW Stiles ad Co Ltd, Nelson, 1966

Stacpoole, 1976

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

Colonist

The Colonist

4 March 1886; 8 April 1886; 6 May 1886; 3 June 1886; 21 June 1886; 8 July 1886; 5 August 1886; 2 September 1886; 7 October 1886; 4 November 1886; 3 March 1887; 15 December 1896

University of Auckland

University of Auckland

Sheppard Collection, re Maxwell Bury

University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

Reference Room File on Maxwell Bury

Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies

Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies

Vol. 1 No. 2, November 1982 pp 11-25

Nelson Historical Society Journal

Nelson Historical Society Journal

Vol. 3, No. 6, November 1980, pp 8-12

Nelson Provincial Museum

Nelson Provincial Museum

Bett Collection, 'The History of Education in Nelson Province 1842-1877', Plans of Hardy Street Girls' School dated 1882 and 1887

Works News

Works News

Vol. 8 No. 5, October 1977, p3

Ministry of Works and Development

Ministry of Works and Development

Works and Development Corporation Limited, Plans of Former Hardy Street Girls' School dated 1984, 1986, 1988

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report on Albion Square Historic Area 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.