Hirst Family "Hen and Chickens" Historic Area

37 Pendarves Street And 84-102 Cameron Street, New Plymouth

  • Hirst Family "Hen and Chickens" Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 23/06/1994.
  • Hirst Family "Hen and Chickens" Historic Area. Willowfield the 'Hen'.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 7/07/2010.
  • 94 Pendarves St, one of the 'Chickens'.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Blyss Wagstaff. Date: 7/07/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7202 Date Entered 23rd June 1994

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Extent of List Entry

The historic area includes the houses located at 37 Cameron Street and 84-102 Pendarves Street, New Plymouth. (Refer to map provided in the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

New Plymouth District

Region

Taranaki Region

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Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The area has an association with the Hirst family who were of some historical significance.

Thomas and Grace Hirst emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1851 with five of their eight children. On settling in Taranaki they farmed at Bell Block, and Grace established herself as a trader of household items - cloth, blankets, shoes, paper and other goods. Thomas set himself up as a general merchant and land agent acting for absentee owners. When the Land Wars broke out Thomas and Grace returned to England. On returning to New Zealand they purchased a block of land in New Plymouth and built the Hen and Chickens for themselves and their children, Thomas and Grace lived in Willowfield until their deaths in 1883 and 1901 respectively.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Aesthetic:

All the houses are in settings of mature trees and shrubs, and the entire block is aesthetically pleasing Five of the trees are listed in the District Scheme The five "chickens were built to the same plan, and have a combined visual impact and sens of continuity. This continuity has been diminished over the years by individual alterations to the houses.

Architectural:

Willowfield, which is currently registered as a Category II historic place, was built in 1863 and has a single storied portion with a double storied portion behind. The single story portion has a hipped roof and a deep verandah. In contrast the double storied portion has a pitched roof and windows with simply supported hoods.

The five "chickens were built to the same plan. The designer is not known. Each had a T-shaped floor plan with a cross gables roof, vertical board and batten cladding and simple detailing. Successive owners have reacted against the uniformity of the buildings by making various additions and alterations.

The Hen and Chickens are representative of simply detailed, timber framed colonial New Zealand houses. They are also rare survivors from the early period of European settlement in New Plymouth.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural and Social:

As a group, these six domestic buildings have cultural and social value. They date from the 1860s and demonstrate the standard of residential accommodation available to an immigrant family in colonial New Zealand.

Together the houses demonstrate a way of life particular to one family. A house (Willowfield) was built for the parents of the Hirst family and five identical houses were built for their (adult) children. This relationship between the buildings and reason for their building is assumed to be rare, no comparable examples of groups of buildings are known in New Zealand.

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Physical Description

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

HIRST FAMILY Historic Area:

Together six houses are known as the "Hen and Chickens". The hen is the house at 37 Cameron St which is also known as Willowfield and the chickens are the five houses on the south side of Pendarves St. Willowfield was built in 1863 and the first of the Pendarves St houses was completed in late 1864.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

Other Information

A copy of the original 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.

Historic Area Place Name

House
Willowfield