On 2 June 1851 the Reverend Benjamin Woolley Dudley, who had arrived in Lyttelton as chaplain on board the 'Cressy' in 1850, purchased 50 acres of rural land (Rural Section 40) from the Canterbury Association. He had been vicar of a parish at Ticehurst in Sussex, hence the name Ticehurst Road bounding his section to the east, and was first incumbent at Lyttelton. Dudley immediately subdivided the land and on 17 June 1851 sold a quarter acre on the corner of Bridle Path and Ticehurst Road to Thomas Kent, a fellow passenger on board the 'Cressy', for £17. Only a few months later, having built the house, Kent sold the property to George Duncan Lockhart and Augustus Edward White for £80, the deed mentioning a newly erected dwelling house. White then sold his share to Lockhart.
In 1857 Dr John Seager Gundry bought the property for £250, probably for rental purposes since for the most part he appears to have resided in Christchurch. Dr Gundry had been surgeon-superintendent on board the barque 'Steadfast' which had arrived in Lyttelton in 1851. In 1870 he sold to Captain Hugh McLellan, a master mariner from the Isle of Islay in Argyllshire, Scotland. Captain McLellan was appointed Lyttelton Wharf Master in 1873, deputy Harbour Master in 1874, and was the second Harbour Master appointed by the Lyttelton Harbour Board in 1877. As Harbour Master he would have been a figure of considerable standing in the community. He named the house 'Islay Cottage' after his birthplace, and this is the name under which the house is most commonly known today. The house remained in the hands of Captain McLellan's family until 1924. Since this time it has changed hands several times. The present owners purchased it in 1988.
Historical Significance or Value
At the time of construction, Lyttelton was the major town in Canterbury and Islay Cottage is an early example of speculative house building. It was later in the hands of Captain Hugh McLellan, who as Harbour Master would have been prominent in the Lyttelton community, and his family for 54 years (1870-1924).
Islay Cottage combines a pitched roof with dormer windows and verandahs. Such features were used repeatedly in mid-nineteenth century New Zealand domestic architecture. Constructed of cob, a technique used regularly in Canterbury at this time, it is little altered other than the enclosure of verandahs and is well-maintained.
Islay Cottage has a prominent location on its site above the intersection of Bridle Bath and Ticehurst Road.
ARCHITECT/ENGINEER/DESIGNER: Probably Thomas KENT (1827-1915)
Thomas Kent was a carpenter and joiner and was probably responsible for the design of Islay Cottage as well as for its construction. He had arrived in Lyttelton in 1850 on board the 'Cressy' with his wife and son. He resided there for a short time before settling in Christchurch about 1853.
This unassuming colonial cottage has a pitched roof with three gabled dormers, each with a single-light and horizontally hung window, on the east side. It appears to have originally had a verandah on the north, east and south sides with a lean-to at the rear but the north and south sides have been enclosed, as have the north-east and south-east corners of the building. Between the two corners the east facade has a square post supporting the verandah roof and simple brackets. French doors open off the verandah.
The interior has a living room with dining room opening off it. The latter has a raised floor and angled ceiling. A rimu-floored kitchen occupies the south side of the house and a small hallway leads to the bathroom and master bedroom. A steep, narrow staircase leads to two upstairs bedrooms with sloping ceilings and dormer windows.
Dates not known - Verandahs along the north and south facades closed in
- Exterior walls roughcast
- Interior walls relined
- Dormer windows replaced
Date unknown: Verandahs along the north and south facades closed in, Exterior walls roughcast - Interior walls relined - Dormer windows replaced
Foundations of stone; walls of rammed earth and pitsawn timber. Roof clad with corrugated iron.
Index Passengers to Canterbury
-MacDonald Dictionary of Biographies
W McIntyre, The Journal of Henry Sewell 1853-7 Christchurch: Whitcoulls, 1980
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976
'Cottage Well Worth Saving', 19 April 1988
W.H. Scotter, A History of Port Lyttelton, Lyttelton Harbour Board, Christchurch, 1968
Frances Porter (ed), Historic Buildings of Dunedin, South Island, Methuen, Auckland, 1983.
John Wilson, 'A Port Apart', pp100-105
Canterbury Public Library
Canterbury Public Library
Province of Canterbury, New Zealand, List of Sections Purchased to April 30 1863, London, 1863
Frances Cresswell, Old Homes Lyttelton Harbour, Pegasus Press, 1955.
Lyttelton Borough Council
Lyttelton Borough Council
Research File, 'Islay Cottage'
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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.