Cox House (Former)

11A Westbourne Road, Remuera, Auckland

  • Cox House (Former). June 1986. Image courtesy of ‘Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. Record ID 1052-M5-15.
    Copyright: Auckland Libraries. Taken By: Unknown.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2632 Date Entered 26th November 1981 Date of Effect 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 22513 (RT NA498/101), North Auckland Land District and the buildings and structures known as Cox House (Former) thereon. (Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 11 February 2016)

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 22513 (RT NA498/101), North Auckland Land District


Cox House (Former) is a weatherboard-clad Arts and Crafts-style residence with long, sloping Marseille tile gabled roofs. It was built in 1929-30 for lawyer John Watson Cox and his new bride Helen (nee Maddox) in the prestigious Auckland suburb of Remuera. The house is architecturally significant as a work by notable Auckland architects Gerald Jones and Arthur Palmer, who had designed one of New Zealand’s most notable churches in the Arts and Crafts style - the Williams' Memorial Church in Paihia - a few years earlier. The place is also significant for its association with John Cox, who went on to have an influential planning career promoting inner-city high density housing in New Zealand.

Remuera has been associated with the settlement of rich and successful Aucklanders since the middle of the nineteenth century. From about 1900, the palatial houses of the wealthiest settlers of the 1800s made room for the smaller, but often grander townhouses of the city’s commercial and professional élite. The area where Cox House was later built was first subdivided into house sections in 1885. The 1920s were a period of suburban expansion, and Remuera became the home for many large new solid houses at this time, including many in the Arts and Crafts style.

John Watson Cox (1902-1984) initially lived with his parents at their house in Westbourne Road, Remuera, which they had owned since 1922. In August 1929, the year he graduated from law school, he bought part of their section. Cox had a considerable interest in architectural design: in later life, he was to become the first president of the influential Architecture Centre, one of two architectural associations founded in 1946 by young idealists who shared a common belief in the transformative potential of modern architecture; the need for urban development to be carefully controlled; and the desirability of planning for a better future.

Cox commissioned Auckland architects Jones and Palmer to design a new house, which was constructed by building contractor T. Anderson. Gerald Jones has been referred to as ‘Auckland’s complete Arts and Crafts architect’ and designed a large number of houses in Remuera. The new one-and-a-half storey timber residence was of Arts and Crafts-style and had a cruciform plan. Its north and south elevations were very similar to each other, although the north elevation also contained French doors opening from the dining room, and the south façade an entry porch. The ground floor contained a porch, sitting room, dining room, hall, kitchen and laundry. Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom.

John Cox and his wife owned the property until the mid-1930s. In the year that the house was sold to mining engineer John Goosman (1936), a garage was added to the section. Later owners included Henry Gift Coldbeck, who carried out reconnaissance missions for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War (1939-1945). Coldbeck was a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III after being shot down in 1942.

Commencing in 1968 with a sunporch, a series of sympathetic additions were made which extended the house eastwards. In 1974 John Gummer, a son of noted architect William H. Gummer, designed a family room with an overlying bedroom. Five years later the family room was further extended, with a flat roof balcony above.

In 2015, the house remained in use as a private residence.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Jones & Palmer

The Auckland-based partnership of Gerald Edgar Jones and Arthur J. Palmer was established soon after the end of World War I, and lasted until the early 1930s. Before their collaboration, Jones had been apprenticed to the Auckland architect Edward Bartley and worked in his own practice from 1906, while Palmer had been employed in the office of Sir Aston Webb in London. The two men took up adjoining offices in the Victoria Arcade after Jones returned from the war, 'drifting into a partnership' as Palmer later recalled. As the son of an engineer, Jones excelled in draughting, while Palmer drew up the specifications.

Palmer had been born on Norfolk Island into a missionary family and through these connections he obtained a number of ecclesiastical, and related commissions. These included the conversion of the 1840s Melanesian Mission building at Mission Bay into a museum, as well as the construction of the City Mission in Grey's Avenue, Auckland and the Williams Memorial Church in Paihia. He was also responsible for Mt Roskill Fire Station and several residences.

Jones helped with the design of several of these buildings and also worked on projects on his own account, including four houses in Victoria Avenue, Auckland. The partnership foundered during the Depression, after which Jones took up employment with the Ministry of Works.

A.T. Anderson and Sons

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1936 -

Extensions to the rear.

1983 -
Swimming pool at rear

Completion Date

3rd December 2015

Report Written By

Elizabeth Cox

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Miller, Caroline L., 'Cox, John Watson', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 7-Jun-2013


Carlyon and Morrow, 2011

Carlyon, Jenny, and Diana Morrow, A Fine Prospect: A History of Remuera, Meadowbank and St Johns, Auckland, 2011.

Gatley and Walker, 2005

Gatley Julia and Paul Walker, Vertical Living: The Architectural Centre and the Remaking of Wellington, Auckland, 2005.

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Northern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand