Rotten Row Baches

Taylors Mistake, Banks Peninsula

  • Rotten Row Baches. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 27/10/1995.
  • Rotten Row Baches.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Robyn Burgess. Date: 8/03/2014.
  • Rotten Row Baches.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: N Jackson. Date: 12/03/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7267 Date Entered 27th October 1995

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Legal Road, Canterbury Land District and the thirteen buildings known as Rotten Row Baches at 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 Rotten Row thereon.

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Legal Road, Canterbury Land District

Location description

The area comprises the row of thirteen baches stretching from the car park to the rock known as ‘the Crocodile’. The individual baches included in the historic area are numbers 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 (Rotten Row).

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Baches were built at Taylor's Mistake and Boulder Bay during the early twentieth century on the 'Queen's Chain' of foreshore. The earliest baches were constructed in the late 1890s and around the turn of the century bach holders began to cut the Pilgrim's Way, a three kilometre track from Taylor's Mistake to Boulder Bay.

By 1911 there were thirty baches in Taylor's Mistake and Boulder Bay, most of them cave dwellings. The first hut in Rotten row appeared in 1913, built by a blacksmith, and by 1920 another dozen or so baches had appeared. The busiest building period seems to have been the 1920s and 1930s, when more baches were built and most of the older places were substantially rebuilt and enlarged.

The baches built at Taylor's Mistake and Boulder Bay were almost all used as holiday homes by Christchurch families, who spent their summers at the Mistake or the Bay. Most bach owning families seemed to have been lower middle class or skilled working people, making use of the small surplus income such families began to enjoy during the early twentieth century and taking advantage also of the tramway system and later the motor car.

Rotten Row is a row of thirteen baches, constructed of a variety of cheap building materials, and which stretches from the car park to the strangely shaped rock known as The Crocodile. Most of these baches have been in place since the 1920s.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The bach may be considered one of the few 'indigenous' forms of architecture. They were particularly important to the lower middle class in the early and mid twentieth century as a way of enjoying the new-found leisure time made available after the 1890s. Baches played an important part in the history, folklore and imaginative life of New Zealand.

CONCLUSION:

The Rotten Row baches represent an important generic building type in New Zealand, and express a New Zealand response to the need for low-cost housing built from available materials. They also illustrate an aspect of the way of life of lower income New Zealanders.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural/Technological:

The Rotten Row baches demonstrate a generic building type in New Zealand. it is notable for its lack of pretension and its plainness of style. The material, features of construction and oddities have produced a great variety within a simple archetype.

The baches are constructed of cheap building materials, recycled items of joinery etc. Very few have been altered and their 1930s appearance remains. The variety of baches illustrate 'kiwi ingenuity' and self sufficiency ie. use of old railway carriages.

Aesthetic:

The area demonstrates the response of a small seasonable community, gathered over time, to the sensory qualities of the New Zealand beach and coast. The landscape relationship is important; the siting of the group is linear, with the baches facing the beach and the bay, and partially enclosed behind the hills.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural/Social:

The Rotten Row baches illustrate a New Zealand way of life from the early years of the century to WWII. They served as holiday homes during the Summer months for those living in the Christchurch suburbs. Lower income families took advantage of the tramway system and later the motor car, to holiday in places that had previously been inaccessible.

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Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Ogilvie, 1991

Gordon Ogilvie, The Port Hills of Christchurch, Auckland, 1991

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern 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

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