102 Albert Street, Invercargill

  • Lennel, 102 Albert St, Invercargill.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 389 Date Entered 27th July 1988 Date of Effect 27th July 1988


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land/part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 4748 & Lot 2 DP 10893 (RT SL6C/774), Southland Land District and the building known as Lennel, thereon.

City/District Council

Invercargill City


Southland Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 4748 & Lot 2 DP 10893 (RT SL6C/774),Southland Land District

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

John Turnbull Thomson was a very important man in the settlement of Otago and Southland. His survey methods allowed for rapid settlement by run holders before the gold rushes began. The system had such advantages that it was adopted for the whole of New Zealand and Thomson was made Surveyor-General.

Thomson had surveyed off Invercargill in 1856 and had himself purchased a number of blocks in the late 1850s. When it was time for him to retire in 1880, he wound up his affairs in Wellington and shifted to Invercargill to build a house similar to that on the Northumbrian farm of Glororum where he was born. Unfortunately he died in 1884, two years after its competition, but his descendants have lived in it ever since.


It is a particularly fine example of a large Victorian house.


The house is set down a drive in among its trees and cannot be seen from the road.


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Physical Description


It is a plain, solid, Victorian house. It is said to be similar to the Northumberland house where Thomson was born.


The exterior is largely unmodified except for the addition of a bay window to an upstairs bedroom before 1927. The garage and other back store rooms may be later additions. The back staircase in the servants' quarters has been removed. Any modifications to rooms other the two front rooms could not be documented. The building is in need of repair.

Notable Features

Its association with J T Thomson, its unmodified nature, its mature garden.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 -

Construction Details

The walls are double brick plastered over. The roof is mostly slate but the veranda and the more recent garage are roofed with corrugated iron. There is flat iron over the front bay window. The numerous brackets under the eaves are concrete. The house is two storied and extends well back from the relatively narrow front which is the width of two rooms and a hall. The bottom floor consists of a drawing room, dining room, study, nursery, kitchen, scullery, wash house, garage and about six store rooms. The upper floor which was reached by two staircases contains about ten bedrooms, dressing rooms and bath rooms. The two front rooms still have their original fireplaces, black marble in the dining room and white marble in the drawing room. Both rooms have coffered ceilings - dark varnished wood in the dining room and white plaster in the drawing room. The hall is floored in coloured tiles. (The rest of the house was not examined because of a misunderstanding with a Regional Committee member).

The house still has approx. one and half acres of grounds with mature rhododendrons, limes, copper beeches, horse chestnuts and other trees. There is a simply designed glasshouse on the north west corner of the house. The grounds included a tennis court, croquet green, orchard, stable, well and further greenhouses.

Other Information

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.