House

14 Bengston Street And Haswell Street, Eketahuna

  • House, Eketahuna.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7436 Date Entered 30th October 1998

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City/District Council

Tararua District

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 5861 (CT WN288/17), Wellington Land District

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This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical.

The house at 14 Bengston St, Eketahuna, was built in 1878 on land donated to the local school committee by Scandinavian settler Gustav Bengston. Now in private ownership adjacent to the museum (the former school building, 1880, Category II) the simple Victorian double gable box cottage is one of Eketahuna's earliest buildings.

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 Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The Bengston Street House was assessed for historical significance under s23(2) criteria but was not considered to be of sufficient significance for Category II registration under these criteria.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

PHYSICAL SIGNIFICANCE.

The Bengston Street House was assessed for physical significance under s23(2) criteria and was considered to be of Category II significance.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The following comments are made in relation to the significance or value identified under Section 23(2) of the Historic Places Act 1993. Criteria which can be considered under physical significance are 23(2)(c); 23(2)(g); 23(2)(j); 23(2)(k); 23(2)(m).

23(2)(g)

The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place.

DATE: 1878

ARCHITECT: Not known, but possibly Gustav Bengston

STYLE CODE: 19: Victorian Simple Double Gable Box Cottage, c.1840-1906

DESIGN:

The House at Bengston Street, Eketahuna, is a very plain and simple type of early New Zealand dwelling house. Such cottages did not have a great deal of aesthetic pretension in terms of ornamentation beyond windows and chimneys, although it could be argued that the very

plainness and simplicity of the place constitutes a kind of astringent aesthetic quality. At another level it could also be said that the simple qualities of the place evoke the somewhat hardscrabble lives of our pioneer families.

The house is an example of the colonial New Zealand Simple Box Cottage (Rectangular Plan) Double gable type c.1840-1906. While the addition of a verandah to the front of the house, and a lean-to to the back of the house was standard for these houses, or cottages as they should more correctly be termed, in the case of the house at Bengston Street, Eketahuna, these features were not additions, but were original. The form of these places usually consists of a double gable, or two long sheds with pitched roofs built side-by-side, plus a lean-to sometimes added across the two gables, i.e. at right angles to them, or sometimes along the length of one of the sheds as can be seen on the schoolteacher's house considered here at Eketahuna. The interior was invariably of 3-4 rooms with a hall leading from the front door and dividing off the rooms. The house in Eketahuna fits this pattern exactly.

This same house appears to have lost its original chimney, which would have been brick, but has retained its back-to-back fireplaces, one in the lounge and one in the first bedroom. Chimneys and windows in house/cottages of this type were the sole ornamental features of the place. While this may seem to be of very little note in the way of contributing to the architectural quality of the building, it is necessary to remember that in the 1860s and 1870s windows and chimneys were expensive luxuries that settlers could not always count on having in their houses. Chimneys in colonial houses frequently did operate in a back-to-back fashion having two hearths, one on either side of the wall.

Jeremy Salmond says that the Box Cottage was preferred by the average colonial family because the type was so easily adaptable to changing requirements. Usually this meant that in the short term the building would have a verandah added to it, or a lean-to, and replacement of the wooden shingled roof with corrugated iron. Sometimes it could lead to the original windows being changed and upgraded from sash to casement windows. In the case of the House at Eketahuna the verandah and lean-to may or may not have been later additions to the original design of the place. Original Totara roof shingles are still under the present corrugated iron roof. The windows have remained original but the architectural integrity of one side elevation has been compromised to a certain extent by modern replacement Hardiplank weatherboarding.

23(2)(m):

Such additional criteria not inconsistent with those in paragraphs (a) to (k).

On a national comparative scale the House at Eketahuna is an example of a Double Gable Box Cottage of which there are four registered examples, viz., House, St Mary's Street, Wellington, c.1868, Cat.II; House, Holloway Road, Wellington, c.1870, Cat.II; Stoddart House, Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, 1861, Cat.I; Cottage, 383 Selwyn Street, Christchurch, c.1887, Cat.II.

Three of these registered cottages have retained all of their original features while the House in St Mary's Street, Wellington, was modified and altered in the twentieth century.

Summary.

Unmodified or relatively original Double Gable Box Cottages from the Victorian era are small in number with just three appearing on the national register, and a fourth (the House at St Mary's Street, Wellington) that was subsequently altered with the loss of certain original key features consisting of windows, architraves, and sills. The House at Eketahuna is to all intents and purposes an unaltered original, the only compromise to the original design being the replacement weatherboards on one side of the house which are of cement -based Hardiplank manufacture. The chimney has also been removed but it has to be said that neither the Hardiplank cladding on one side of the place, or the removal of the chimney has altered the structural integrity or design of the place which has remained original. At first glance one would not necessarily notice that the Hardiplank cladding is modern mainly because it has been nailed up in shiplap (or overlapping) fashion, the same style that was applied to houses built in New Zealand pre-1860 before industrially machined rusticated weatherboarding became fashionable. In short it does not look out of character on the Eketahuna House in spite of the fact that the rest of the house is clad in rusticated weatherboards of the 1870s.

Coupled with this, one must consider that on a purely local scale of values, the Tararua district is not well represented in terms of domestic housing from the Victorian period. In Eketahuna itself there are no registered houses of the cottage type, and the Former School, now Museum, (1880, Category II) next door to the House at 14 Bengston Street (which was the school teacher's residence) is in fact the only registered building in the town. The next and nearest example of a similar type of colonial house is the House at 11 Allardice Street, Dannevirke, c.1908, Category II, which is not a Victorian cottage. Although the Box Cottage style is standard in terms of the genre, the Dannevirke example has Edwardian refinements such as modillion brackets around the eaves and an overtly concave verandah roof. It also comes at the end of an era in Box Cottage design, and there is a noticeable difference in the appearance of the place from the much earlier example dated 1878 at Eketahuna.

RECOMMENDATION:

Category II, s23(2) (g) (m)

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Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architect:

Not known, but possibly Gustav Bengston.

Architectural:

The House at 14 Bengston Street, Eketahuna, was built as a Victorian Simple Double Gable Box Cottage. Style indicators are:

- House with from three to four rooms, square in plan.

- Two small gables.

- Lean-to at the rear of the house.

- Verandah added to the front of the house.

- No exterior ornamental detail.

- Double-hung sash windows.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1878 -

Completion Date

1st June 1998

Report Written By

Wayne Nelson

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office.

Note that the registration of the museum (the former school building, 1880, Category II) referred to in the Breif Description is currently under investigation.

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.