Timaru Boys' High School Memorial Library

211 North Street, Timaru

  • Timaru Boys' High School Memorial Library.
    Copyright: Timaru Boys High School. Taken By: Jeff Elston. Date: 21/01/2009.
  • .
    Copyright: Timaru Boys High School. Taken By: Jeff Elston. Date: 21/01/2009.
  • .
    Copyright: Timaru Boys High School. Taken By: Jeff Elston. Date: 21/01/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7491 Date Entered 15th June 2001

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City/District Council

Timaru District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt RS 2335

Summaryopen/close

The Timaru Boys' High School Memorial Library was opened in 1924. It is a single storey brick building designed by Percy Watts Rule and was built as a memorial to commemorate the 52 Old Boys who sacrificed their lives in World War One. In 1955 the building was extended and a memorial window erected in memory of the 133 past pupils who died in World War Two.

Timaru High School opened in 1880 as a combined Girls' and Boys' school in Hassel Street. In 1898 the school split on the same site into separate boys' and girls' schools. In 1913 Timaru Boys' High School relocated to its present site in North St. The Memorial Library is the only 'original' building left in the school grounds.

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Historical Significance or Value

Timaru High School, a combined girls' and boys' school, was founded in 1880. The school was divided into separate girls' and boys' schools in 1989 although they remained on the same site in Hassel St. The Boys' High School moved to the present site in 1913. In 1917 at a meeting of Old Boys and parents of present pupils it was decided to 'endeavour to raise funds for the purpose of erecting a Memorial to all Old Boys who will have served in the Great War. It was agreed that a Hall would be the most suitable form for such a Memorial to take, as it would be of great service to the School, serving as a Library, a Museum and an Assembly Hall.' Further it was felt that the school had a duty to erect a 'worthy memorial' as they owed both 'the Old Boys who so nobly answered the Empire's call' and 'the school in which they received their training.' The cost was estimated at £3000 and fundraising began. However, with the high cost of building and there being no prospect of receiving a Government grant, the idea of the Memorial Hall was dropped. It was suggested that memorial gates be erected instead. However, with £1500 in hand it was decided that a Memorial Library would be erected and that an “artistic building could be erected and one they would all be proud of”. Mr P.W. Rule was instructed to prepare plans.

As the Memorial Library was to be of educational value to the school, the secretary to the High Schools Board of Governors made an application to the Department of Education for a £1 for £1 subsidy on the voluntary contributions. This was approved with the condition that the Department's contribution would not exceed £1000. The Memorial Library was opened in 1924, by the then Governor-General Lord Jellicoe. A large crowd of some 3000 people were in attendance. The complete cost of the building was £4000.

In 1955 the building was extended by the original architect to incorporate a memorial window, designed by Frederick Ellis, and erected in memory of the 133 Old Boys who died in World War Two. It was first proposed that an ambitious music appreciation hall be added to the library but this scheme was waived in favour of building a northern wing with a stained glass window. The new wing was opened by Colonel R.D. King CBE DSO during the 75th Jubilee celebrations.

A new school library was built in 1971 and the Memorial Library lost part of its original function. Renovated and restored by the Old Boys' Association as their centennial gift to the school, it has been restored to a worthy role as the school museum and archives. It houses the school's historical archives, trophies, memorabilia, and photographs, with mention of many distinguished academic and sporting personalities from the past (such as Jack Lovelock's medal collection consisting of over 100 original medals, donated by the family). The Memorial Library is also used for special functions.

The Library is still the focal point of Anzac Day services where people parade through the building passing the memorial window. The Memorial Library is an important feature of the school and is held in high esteem by the school and community.

AESTHETIC:

The design and decoration of the building creates a venerable air fitting for a memorial from the classical columns flanking the main entrance to the highly decorative interior. The atmosphere is created by the use of columns, oak panelling, the bronze half size Graeco-Roman sculptures of Mercury and The Stooping Discobolus, the plaster relief panels replicated from the Parthenon, decorative plaster ceiling, and marble Roll of Honour from World War One . A stained glass window dedicated to those who fell during World War Two dominates another wall further enhancing the sense of commemoration. The Memorial Library featured prominently in the Canterbury Edition of NZ Building Progress Vol. XIX No. 8 of April 1924, and was described by the Timaru Herald of the day as 'surely the most beautiful room in Timaru' and a source of lasting inspiration to all who visit.

ARCHITECHURAL:

The Timaru Boys' High School Memorial Library was built in 1924. The style of the building is interesting as it combines two distinct architectural styles - the Free Classical style and the Arts and Crafts style. It was designed by Percy Watts Rule of Turnbull and Rule Architects, Timaru. James S Turnbull was a prominent Timaru architect with a national reputation. Rule joined him in partnership in c.1920 and became the firm's chief designer. Rule's work displayed an appreciation for local styles and materials, seen in the use of a combination of styles and use of Oamaru Stone evident in the Memorial Library. He was awarded a gold medal in 1939 for his design of the Timaru Hospital's Surgical Wing. Turnbull and Rule also designed the St James Anglican Church at Franz Josef (1931, Category I), and the Government Life Building, Timaru (1925, Cat II). The builders of the Memorial Library were Malcolm and Lund.

The exterior of the building exhibits Classical elements in the fluted Doric columns that flank the main entrance and symmetry in the façade. The columns are Greek Doric in that they have no bases, as found on the Parthenon. Prominent rusticated Oamaru stone piers flank the columns further emphasising the entrance. The doorway has a Georgian styled fanlight and is framed by a quoined arch of 'long and short' limestone. The use of motifs from different periods of the Classical tradition and the use of columns without crowning entablature, illustrate the free use of Classicism.

The Arts and Crafts style was influential on New Zealand architecture, particularly domestic architecture, during the 1920s. This style was widely used in Timaru around the 1920s and examples include the Caroline Bay Tearooms extension (1931), dwelling Linton, Gleniti Rd (1907), and the Croft Homestead (1915). Aspects of the style can be seen in the design of the Memorial Library. The building has a domestic scale with a conspicuous bell shaped roof of Marseilles tiles. Prominent roofs are a typical Arts and Crafts feature and Marseilles tiles a preferred roofing material. The strong Arts and Crafts preference for fine craftsmanship is evident in the building. Building materials of contrasting colours and textures have been used to enliven the façade. The tall tapered brick chimneys with chamfered stacks and the articulation of the chimneys is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts ethos of the honest expression of function. The prominent eaves are another Arts and Crafts feature with the exposed rafters again expressing rather than concealing the structure of the building.

Arts and Crafts buildings are usually characterised by the asymmetrical massing of forms. The Memorial Library however, conforms to the classical principle of symmetry. It is usual for classically styled buildings to present a classical façade to the street, however the Library, in keeping with Arts and Crafts principles, has been built in the round. All elevations of the building have been decoratively treated.

The interior is also a combination of Free Classicism and Arts and Crafts. Many typical classical motifs are used throughout. However the walls are lined with oak panels in an Arts and Crafts manner. The vestibule through which the building is entered contains elements of both styles. The floor is tiled with black and white marble. Large niches at either end of the vestibule contain bronze statues from Italy. The ceiling is barrel-vaulted in plaster and the walls are oak panelled. A pair of large oak doors, with sidelights filled with bevelled plate glass, leads from the vestibule to the Trophy Hall.

On either side of the hall are the library and the museum entered through large openings with pilasters punctuating the entrance. These entrances are given a colonnaded effect with the addition of two polished Tuscan columns in both entranceways. Above these entranceways in plaster relief are shields connected by running garlands. The cornice is enhanced with evenly spaced leaves. This arrangement presents the Classical Order of Greek and Roman temples with the columns supporting an entablature decorated with a frieze and capped with a cornice.

The plaster ceiling is painted Wedgwood blue with white decorative mouldings and rosettes. The Classicism of the interior is further enhanced with four plaster relief panels which replicate four of the Elgin Marbles. The scenes are taken from the frieze which encircled the Parthenon, and depict soldiers on horseback. In the library, above the carved oak mantelpiece, the Roll of Honour of those who died during World War One is carved on a marble slab framed by an elaborately decorated surround, containing square columns topped by a wreath on each side and the school crest centred above. The furniture, including chairs, tables and forms, were designed by the architects.

The Library was extended in 1955 by the original architect in time for the school's 75th Jubilee celebrations. A stained glass window was commissioned for the end wall as a memorial to the Old Boys who fell during World War Two. The window was designed by F.V. Ellis, ARCA, (London), then the Director of the Wellington School of Art, and executed by Roy Miller . It features Sir Gawain of King Arthur's Round Table, the School Arms, the armed forces, and other symbols of self-sacrifice, goodness, conflict, peace, justice and hope.

A further addition was made to the Memorial Library in 1996 to provide kitchen and toilet facilities along with archival space. The addition was placed to the rear of the building, tucked behind the west wing. A small store was demolished and a new door created into the 1955 extension of the hall. The new addition is built of the same materials and in a similar style as the original building. A wheelchair ramp has been installed behind the east wing of the building providing access into the building through the 1955 portion. Unfortunately, a large hall has been built directly behind the Memorial Library. This new hall blocks the light through the stained glass window requiring the window to be spot-lit.

The interior of the Memorial Library is striking for its accurate use of Classical motifs. Designed by a renowned architect, and later extended by the same architect, the building represents a unique blend of Free Classical and Arts and Crafts styles executed with a high level of craftsmanship. Later additions have been sympathetic in design, scale and materials.

The Memorial Library illustrates the importance to New Zealand society of commemorating those who had fallen while representing their country in world wars. Most communities throughout the country responded in a similar way, erecting war memorials of varying types.

In keeping with the ideals held at the time of the educative value of memorials to the younger generation, the Old Boys' Association of Timaru wanted the ex-pupils to be remembered and they also wanted their exploits and achievements to serve as an example to the school's later pupils. Hence the decision to build a trophy hall with library and museum facilities. The library, which would be well used by the pupils, was to serve as an everyday reminder of the sacrifices past pupils had made to achieve peace.

The vast majority of war memorials erected after World War One were more ornamental in purpose, and the greatest number of memorials were erected by communities of place. However, churches and many schools, in particular the major Boys' secondary schools from this period had memorials of some type installed such as memorial halls, libraries, gates or arches, stained glass windows, monuments or plaques. Utilitarian memorials were erected by: Waitaki Boys' High School, a memorial hall (Hall of Memories, Category I); Christ's College, a memorial dining room (Registered Category I); Wellington College, a memorial assembly hall with stained glass window (demolished); and King's College, a memorial chapel (Category I). Many other schools erected ornamental type memorials such as gates, arches, shrines, statues and obelisks.

The Library represents the different strands of memorial philosophy in New Zealand culture. It includes the commemoration of the sacrifice of soldiers and the role of a 'Living Memorial', in that the commemorative building has a functional use rather than a purely ornamental purpose. This change in philosophy became much more fashionable after Second World War.

a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The Memorial Library illustrates the focus given by New Zealand society to the concept of commemorating those who had fallen while representing their country in world wars. Most communities throughout the country responded in a similar way, erecting war memorials of varying types.

The vast majority of war memorials erected after World War One were more ornamental in purpose, and the greatest number of memorials were erected by communities of place. However, churches and many schools, in particular the major boys' secondary schools, from this period had memorials of some type installed such as memorial halls, libraries, gates or arches, stained glass windows, monuments or plaques. Utilitarian memorials were erected by: Waitaki Boys' High School, a memorial hall (Hall of Memories, Category I); Christ's College, a memorial dining room (Registered Category I); Wellington College, a memorial assembly hall with stained glass window (demolished); and King's College, a memorial chapel (Category I). Many other schools erected ornamental type memorials such as gates, arches, shrines, statues and obelisks.

The Library represents the different strands of memorial philosophy in New Zealand culture. It includes the commemoration of the sacrifice of soldiers and the role of a 'Living Memorial', in that the commemorative building has a functional use rather than a purely ornamental purpose. This change in philosophy became much more fashionable after Second World War.

b) The association of the place with events, persons or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The building is associated with the Timaru-based architectural firm Turnbull and Rule. James S Turnbull was a prominent Timaru architect with a national reputation. Percy Watts Rule joined him in partnership in c.1920 and became the firm's chief designer. Rule's work displayed an appreciation for local styles and materials, as is evident in the Memorial Library. He was awarded a gold medal in 1939 for his design of the Timaru Hospital's Surgical Wing. Turnbull and Rule also designed the St James Anglican Church at Franz Josef (1931, Category I), and the Government Life Building, Timaru (1925, Cat II). In 1955 Rule had another opportunity to work on the Memorial Library and was commissioned to incorporate an Ellis designed stained glass window, erected in memory of the 133 past pupils who died in World War Two.

g) The technical accomplishment or design or value of the place:

The Memorial Library was built in 1924 and designed by Percy Rule of Turnbull and Rule. The style of the building is an interesting combination of two distinct architectural styles - the Free Classical style and the Arts and Crafts style. The use of motifs from different periods of the Classical tradition, symmetry of the façade and the use of columns without crowing entablature, illustrate the free use of Classicism.

The Arts and Crafts style was influential on New Zealand architecture, particularly domestic architecture during the 1920's. This style was widely used in Timaru during the 1910s and 1920s. Aspects of the style can be seen in the design of the Memorial Library with the bell shaped roof of Marseilles tiles, fine craftsmanship, tall tapered brick chimneys and the prominent eaves.

Arts and Crafts buildings are usually characterised by the asymmetrical massing of forms. The Memorial Library however, conforms to the classical principle of symmetry. It is usual for classically styled buildings to present a classical façade to the street however, the Library, in keeping with Arts and Crafts principles, has been built in the round. All elevations of the building have been decoratively treated.

The interior is also a combination of Free Classicism and Arts and Crafts. Many typical classical motifs are used throughout. However the walls are lined with oak panels in an Arts and Crafts manner. The Classicism of the interior is further enhanced with four plaster relief panels, which replicate four of the Elgin Marble, and the use of Tuscan columns. The arrangement of the interior decoration presents the Classical Order of Greek and Roman temples with the columns supporting an entablature decorated with a frieze and capped with a cornice.

The Hall was extended in 1955 by the original architect with a stained glass window commissioned for the end wall as a memorial to the Old Boys who fell during World War Two. The window features Sir Gawain of King Arthur's Round Table, the School Arms, the armed forces, and other symbols of self-sacrifice, goodness , conflict, peace, justice and hope.

The interior of the Memorial Library is striking for its accurate use of Classical motifs. Designed by a renowned architect, and later extended by the same architect, the building represents a unique blend of Free Classical and Arts and Crafts styles executed with a high level of craftsmanship.

h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place:

The Library is significant in its role as a war memorial school building, dedicated to the past pupils who gave their lives. The Library is one of only a few school buildings specifically built as a war memorial. The building continues to play tribute to these soldiers and also to the achievements of past pupils. The Library is still a focal point of Anzac Day services.

j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

The Library is significant in its role as a war memorial school building, and is one of only a handful of such places. Most war memorials are ornamental in nature. Of the 452 World War One memorials recorded by Maclean & Phillips (1990) in The Sorrow and the Pride, a definitive work on war memorials in New Zealand, only 23 halls, seven libraries, and one hospital are listed as utilitarian memorials. Several bridges are also listed although some can be considered more ornamental than functional. Including the bridges this amounts to less than 8% of the total, leaving 92% of the World War One memorials as ornamental ones such as obelisks, statues and monuments.

Other war memorial buildings associated with schools include: Waitaki Boys' High School, a memorial hall (Hall of Memories, Category I); Christ's College, a memorial dining room (Registered Category I); Wellington College, a memorial assembly hall with stained glass window (demolished); and King's College, a memorial chapel (Category I). Many other schools erected ornamental type memorials such as gates, arches, shrines, statues and obelisks, of which only a small number are registered.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Rule, Percy Watts

Percy Watts Rule of Turnbull and Rule Architects, Timaru. James S Turnbull was a prominent Timaru architect with a national reputation. Rule joined him in partnership in c.1920 and became the firm's chief designer. Rule's work displayed an appreciation for local styles and materials, seen in the use of a combination of styles and use of Oamaru Stone evident in the Memorial Library. He was awarded a gold medal in 1939 for his design of the Timaru Hospital's Surgical Wing. Turnbull and Rule also designed the St James Anglican Church at Franz Josef (1931, Category I), and the Government Life Building, Timaru (1925, Cat II).

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Timaru High School, a combined girls' and boys' school, was founded in 1880. The school was divided into separate girls' and boys' schools in 1989 although they remained on the same site in Hassel St. The Boys' High School moved to the present site in 1913. In 1917 at a meeting of Old Boys and parents of present pupils it was decided to 'endeavour to raise funds for the purpose of erecting a Memorial to all Old Boys who will have served in the Great War. It was agreed that a Hall would be the most suitable form for such a Memorial to take, as it would be of great service to the School, serving as a Library, a Museum and an Assembly Hall'. Further it was felt that the school had a duty to erect a 'worthy memorial' as they owed both 'the Old Boys who so nobly answered the Empire's call' and 'the school in which they received their training'. The cost was estimated at £3000 and fundraising began. However, with the high cost of building and there being no prospect of receiving a Government grant, the idea of the Memorial Hall was dropped. It was suggested that memorial gates be erected instead. However, with £1500 in hand it was decided that a Memorial Library would be erected and that an 'artistic building could be erected and one they would all be proud of'. Mr P.W. Rule was instructed to prepare plans.

As the Memorial Library was to be of educational value to the school, the secretary to the High Schools Board of Governors made an application to the Department of Education for a £1 for £1 subsidy on the voluntary contributions. This was approved with the condition that the Department's contribution would not exceed £1000. The Memorial Library was opened in 1924, by the then Governor-General Lord Jellicoe. A large crowd of some 3000 people were in attendance. The complete cost of the building was £4000.

In 1955 the building was extended by the original architect to incorporate a memorial window, designed by Frederick Ellis, and erected in memory of the 133 Old Boys who died in World War Two. It was first proposed that an ambitious music appreciation hall be added to the library but this scheme was waived in favour of building a northern wing with a stained glass window. The new wing was opened by Colonel R.D. King CBE DSO during the 75th Jubilee celebrations.

A new school library was built in 1971 and the Memorial Library lost part of its original function. Renovated and restored by the Old Boys' Association as their centennial gift to the school, it has been restored to a worthy role as the school museum and archives. It houses the school's historical archives, trophies, memorabilia, and photographs, with mention of many distinguished academic and sporting personalities from the past (such as Jack Lovelock's medal collection consisting of over 100 original medals, donated by the family). The Memorial Library is also used for special functions.

The Library is still the focal point of Anzac Day services where people parade through the building passing the memorial window. The Memorial Library is an important feature of the school and is held in high esteem by the school and community.

Physical Description

The style of the building is interesting as it combines two distinct architectural styles - the Free Classical style and the Arts and Crafts style. The exterior of the building exhibits Classical elements in the fluted Doric columns that flank the main entrance and symmetry in the façade. The columns are Greek Doric in that they have no bases, as found on the Parthenon. Prominent rusticated Oamaru stone piers flank the columns further emphasising the entrance. The doorway has a Georgian styled fanlight and is framed by a quoined arch of 'long and short' limestone. The use of motifs from different periods of the Classical tradition and the use of columns without crowning entablature, illustrate the free use of Classicism.

The Arts and Crafts style was influential on New Zealand architecture, particularly domestic architecture, during the 1920s. This style was widely used in Timaru around the 1920s and examples include the Caroline Bay Tearooms extension (1931), dwelling Linton, Gleniti Rd (1907), and the Croft Homestead (1915). Aspects of the style can be seen in the design of the Memorial Library. The building has a domestic scale with a conspicuous bell shaped roof of Marseilles tiles. Prominent roofs are a typical Arts and Crafts feature and Marseilles tiles a preferred roofing material. The strong Arts and Crafts preference for fine craftsmanship is evident in the building. Building materials of contrasting colours and textures have been used to enliven the façade. The tall tapered brick chimneys with chamfered stacks and the articulation of the chimneys is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts ethos of the honest expression of function. The prominent eaves are another Arts and Crafts feature with the exposed rafters again expressing rather than concealing the structure of the building.

Arts and Crafts buildings are usually characterised by the asymmetrical massing of forms. The Memorial Library however, conforms to the classical principle of symmetry. It is usual for classically styled buildings to present a classical façade to the street, however the Library, in keeping with Arts and Crafts principles, has been built in the round. All elevations of the building have been decoratively treated.

The interior is also a combination of Free Classicism and Arts and Crafts. Many typical classical motifs are used throughout. However the walls are lined with oak panels in an Arts and Crafts manner. The vestibule through which the building is entered contains elements of both styles. The floor is tiled with black and white marble. Large niches at either end of the vestibule contain bronze statues from Italy. The ceiling is barrel-vaulted in plaster and the walls are oak panelled. A pair of large oak doors, with sidelights filled with bevelled plate glass, leads from the vestibule to the Trophy Hall.

On either side of the hall are the library and the museum entered through large openings with pilasters punctuating the entrance. These entrances are given a colonnaded effect with the addition of two polished Tuscan columns in both entranceways. Above these entranceways in plaster relief are shields connected by running garlands. The cornice is enhanced with evenly spaced leaves. This arrangement presents the Classical Order of Greek and Roman temples with the columns supporting an entablature decorated with a frieze and capped with a cornice.

The plaster ceiling is painted Wedgwood blue with white decorative mouldings and rosettes. The Classicism of the interior is further enhanced with four plaster relief panels which replicate four of the Elgin Marbles. The scenes are taken from the frieze which encircled the Parthenon, and depict soldiers on horseback. In the library, above the carved oak mantelpiece, the Roll of Honour of those who died during World War One is carved on a marble slab framed by an elaborately decorated surround, containing square columns topped by a wreath on each side and the school crest centred above. The furniture, including chairs, tables and forms, were designed by the architects.

The Library was extended in 1955 by the original architect in time for the school's 75th Jubilee celebrations. A stained glass window commemorating the Old Boys who fell during World War Two was also installed at this time. A further addition was made to the Memorial Library in 1996 to provide kitchen and toilet facilities along with archival space. The addition was placed to the rear of the building, tucked behind the west wing. A small store was demolished and a new door created into the 1955 extension of the hall. The new addition is built of the same materials and in a similar style as the original building. A wheelchair ramp has been installed behind the east wing of the building providing access into the building through the 1955 portion. Unfortunately, a large hall has been built directly behind the Memorial Library. This new hall blocks the light through the stained glass window requiring the window to be spot-lit.

Notable Features

A stained glass window was commissioned for the end wall as a memorial to the Old Boys who fell during World War Two. The window was designed by F.V. Ellis, ARCA, (London), then the Director of the Wellington School of Art, and executed by Roy Miller . It features Sir Gawain of King Arthur's Round Table, the School Arms, the armed forces, and other symbols of self-sacrifice, goodness, conflict, peace, justice and hope.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1924 -

Addition
1955 -
Extension

Addition
1996 -
Extension to provide kitchen, toilets and archival storage.

Construction Details

Brick, Marseilles tiles, Oamaru stone.

Completion Date

9th July 2002

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Macauley, 1980

G.A. Macauley, Schoolroom and Playing Field 1880-1980: a Centennial History of Timaru Boys' High School, Timaru, 1980

MacLean, 1990

Chris MacLean and Jock Phillips, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Wellington, 1990

Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

Fiona Ciaran, 'Are these New Zealand's Oldest Stained Glass Windows?', No.20, March 1988

Other Information

A fully referenced registration 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.