House and Stables (Former)

25-27 Princes Street, Auckland

  • House and Stables (Former), 25-27 Princes St, Auckland. East elevation (pre 1908 portion on left).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 9/04/2007.
  • House and Stables (Former). Stables 25-27 Princes St, Auckland. West and south elevations.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 9/04/2007.
  • House and Stables (Former). Stables 25-27 Princes St, Auckland. Building detail.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 9/04/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7732 Date Entered 15th February 2008 Date of Effect 15th February 2008


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lots 1-2 DP 129618 (RTs NA76A/216, NA76A/217), North Auckland Land District, and the buildings and structures (including the house and former stables) thereon, and their fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information). The registration encompasses all archaeological material within the extent described above.

City/District Council

Auckland Council


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lots 1-2 DP 129618 (RTs NA76A/216, NA76A/217), North Auckland Land District

Location description

On the western side of Princes Street, to the south of its junction with Bowen Avenue


The house and former stables at 25-27 Princes Street, Auckland reflects elite residential activity linked with the medical profession, and is one of a significant group of properties linked with the creation and development of a well-to-do neighbourhood from the 1870s and 1880s. Located on the Symonds Street ridge, the site incorporates a brick stables constructed in 1883, and a two-storey brick residence whose surviving elements date to pre-1908 and 1934. These were erected on top of the remains of the Albert Barracks, the largest military installation in colonial New Zealand. Itself erected in the 1840s on the possible site of an earlier Maori settlement known as Horotiu, the fortification was decommissioned following the final withdrawal of British troops in 1870, after which much of the land was subdivided for private lease. The choicest allotments lay on the western side of Princes Street, next to the planned location of Albert Park. The redevelopment was consciously planned as an elite neighbourhood, being located next to places of high social status such as the Colonial Governor's Auckland residence (Old Government House), the Supreme Court (now the High Court) and one of the main cultural venues in the city (Old Choral Hall). Conditions were placed on the construction of all new residences, requiring that they should be of at least two storeys and cost a minimum of £700.

No visible remains survive of the first house on the site, a large timber residence built for brewer Thomas Whitson (1845?-1881) in 1877. However, a distinctive brick stables erected by his successor, Dr Charles Haines, in 1883 still exists in the northwest corner of the property. This was accessed from a service lane at the rear of the site. Of L-shaped construction with a gabled roof and polychrome décor, the stables appear to have had room for at least six horses and two carriages at ground floor level, with tack in a separate room and fodder above. Haines was a significant individual in the neighbourhood, acting as a personal physician to wealthy neighbours and occupying office as president of the elite Northern Club in Princes Street on more than one occasion. His brother, Humphrey, who also temporarily lived on the property, is said to have been a noted ear, nose and throat surgeon. Brick additions made to the residence prior to 1908 may have incorporated a specialist consulting room and surgery. This accommodation was of superior, ornate construction.

By the 1930s, the nature of the neighbourhood had changed, although it retained its genteel reputation. It was increasingly dominated by medical practitioners and by the expansion of Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland). Demonstrating its intellectual leadership, the University College engaged a noted architect, American Roy Lippincott, to design several of its new educational facilities in the 1920s and 1930s, including the groundbreaking Arts and Commerce Faculty building (now often known as the Old Arts Building or Clock Tower). In 1934, the president of the University College, Kenneth Mackenzie commissioned Lippincott and partner Martin Hutchison to design a private residence for himself on the site of Whitson and Haines' villa, almost immediately opposite the Arts building. After the relocation of Whitson's timber villa, a large new element was grafted on to the pre-1908 brick remainder in what has been described as 'a remarkably harmonious and elegant whole'. The distinctive new building is considered to have drawn on a variety of American influences, including Spanish Mission, Chicago School and the Prairie ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright. Also a professional surgeon, Mackenzie may have practiced from the house.

Both the main residence and stables were used for medical purposes until the second half of the twentieth century, and both buildings were saved from demolition in the early 1970s. However, the 1877 Whitson structure - retained on the same site as the stables until that time - was destroyed. The stables is currently (2007) used as an art gallery and writer's residence. The main house is used as a language school.

The former house and stable are considered to have aesthetic value for their setting, elegant appearance and detailing. The site is considered to have archaeological value, incorporating evidence for remains connected with the Albert Barracks and other deposits linked to residential urban occupation. The main residence is architecturally significant as a design by Roy Lippincott. The stables is a rare and well-preserved example of a domestic stables in central Auckland. The place has historical value for its associations with the development of elite urban neighbourhoods and medical practice, retaining this association for nearly a century. It is a significant part of an outstandingly important cultural and historical landscape on the Symonds Street ridge that retains numerous archaeological sites, historic buildings and other places linked to its role as the epicentre of early British colonial power in New Zealand and a subsequent residential neighbourhood of note. The immediate area includes other works by Roy Lippincott.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The place is historically important for its connections with the Albert Barracks and early military activity in New Zealand. It is particularly significant for demonstrating the transformation of a major urban area into an exclusive residential neighbourhood for Auckland's commercial and professional elite in the late nineteenth century and beyond. The place reflects the wealth and lifestyle of such groups and their prominent position in Auckland society, particularly medical practitioners. It has strong connections with nineteenth-century transport and animal welfare.

It is also associated with later developments in urban history, including the ongoing importance of medical practice in the area, the development of the University of Auckland in the twentieth century and attitudes to heritage protection in the early 1970s.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

The place has aesthetic significance as an elegant early to mid twentieth-century urban villa and Victorian-era brick stables. The place has considerable value for its prominent contribution to the visual amenity of the Princes Street and Albert Park landscapes; for the stylish and ornate nature of its main residence including internal detailing, and for the polychrome decoration of its stables. The property is aesthetically important as one of a conjoining group of high-quality historic residences on the western side of Princes Street.

Archaeological Significance or Value

The place has archaeological value as part of the Albert Barracks complex, the largest and most important military installation in early colonial New Zealand. Evidence exists that the place contains the buried remnants of a drill hall and a military road, located immediately outside the main Barracks wall.

The place can also be considered significant for its later colonial use as an elite urban residence. Elements associated with this activity include the comparatively well-preserved stables and garden features. Nearby excavations have indicated that buried archaeological deposits linked with residential and related activity are likely to survive. The archaeological value of the place is enhanced as it is a rare survival of a domestic stables and residential curtilage within the urban centre of colonial Auckland.

Architectural Significance or Value

The place is architecturally significant for incorporating a well-preserved example of nineteenth-century residential stables design. Domestic stables are an unusual survival in central Auckland. It is also important for incorporating a substantial residence designed and remodelled by the noted architect Roy Lippincott and partner Martin Hutchison. Lippincott's work reflects significant design influences such as that of the Prairie School, pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright. The residence incorporates earlier design elements linked with specialist medical practice.

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

The place has significance for its association with British military activity in New Zealand, and Auckland's function as early colonial capital. It is of particular im-portance for reflecting the economic boom of the 1870s and early 1880s, the use of horse transport in late colonial society, and the ongoing association be-tween a genteel neighbourhood and private medical practice for nearly a hun-dred years. It has some connections with Auckland's late nineteenth-century Jewish community.

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

The place is associated with individuals of some significance, including brewer Thomas Whitson, Drs Charles and Humphrey Haines, and Auckland University College President, Kenneth Mackenzie. It is also associated with the noted ar-chitect, Roy Lippincott.

(c)The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has potential to provide knowledge of New Zealand history, particu-larly the activities of the British Army in the early colonial period. The place is notable for incorporating the probable (and rare) archaeological remains of an early drill hall and a military road. A study of these has the capacity to improve knowledge about the organisation and operation of colonial military garrisons in general, and the Albert Barracks in particular.

The place also has potential to provide knowledge about the functioning and economy of elite urban households in late nineteenth-century Auckland. Con-sidered likely to incorporate a range of material linked to its use as a residence, it probably has particular capacity to supply information about the lives of wealthy mercantile and professional families - including their use of transport - in one of New Zealand's largest colonial urban centres.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The place has potential for public education about the military, commercial and residential history of colonial Auckland, being a highly visible Council-owned property on the fringes of a major park. Lying within Auckland's busy city cen-tre, its potential is enhanced by its location close to two major educational insti-tutions - the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place

The place has been considered to incorporate an architecturally accomplished residence, designed by the practice of noted architect, Roy Lippincott. The nineteenth-century stables are of some note for their unusual polychrome brick design.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement

The place incorporates probable archaeological remains linked with the Albert Barracks, which was operational during the first three decades of New Zea-land's colonial history.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

The place is a significant element within a historical and cultural landscape of outstanding importance. The northern part of the Symonds Street ridge incor-porates places of significance to Maori and was the epicentre of British administrative and military power in New Zealand. It also incorporates significant heri-tage linked with the redevelopment of the area as an exclusive residential and recreational neighbourhood in the late nineteenth century, its ongoing focus as a centre of wealthy residential and medical activity, and its occupation by the University of Auckland during the late nineteenth and twentieth century.

The importance of the place is enhanced as one of a group of places in the im-mediate vicinity that was designed in the 1920s and 1930s by Roy Lippincott.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, f, g, i, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

The site occupied by the house and former stables at 25-27 Princes Street was part of a significant Maori and early colonial landscape on the Symonds Street ridge. Prior to European arrival, land at the northern end of the ridge incorporated a pa known as Te Rerengaoraiti. Another settlement, Horotiu, may also have been located in the immediate vicinity, occupying high ground overlooking the Horotiu (now Queen Street) gully. Ongoing cultivations on the ridge were intermittently maintained during inter-tribal hostilities in the early nineteenth century and re-established by Ngati Whatua in the late 1830s. Ngati Whatua left these cultivations as a result of their offer, and the subsequent purchase by the Crown, of some 3,000 acres at Auckland in 1840 to accommodate a capital for the new British colony.

Following the establishment of Auckland as a colonial town, the Symonds Street ridge was at the epicentre of British administrative and military power in New Zealand. Significant buildings in the area included the Colonial Governor's residence at Government House, the Provincial Council and General Assembly, and the Albert Barracks - which was the largest military installation in the colony. Erected using Maori labour in 1846-1852, the basalt walls of the Barracks enclosed accommodation for approximately 1000 soldiers. The Barracks wall lay immediately to the south of 25-27 Princes Street. A military road connecting the main gate of the fortification to the southern terminus of Princes Street ran directly through the property. A large drill hall flanking the road was also located in the eastern part of the site.

Following the relocation of the colonial capital and its associated administration to Wellington in 1865, many of the troops were withdrawn. In February 1870, the last of the fourteen British regiments to serve in New Zealand left the Barracks, after which the fortification was decommissioned.

Redevelopment of the Albert Barracks Reserve

Decommissioning enabled a large part of the eastern core of colonial Auckland to be redeveloped. Prior to the construction of the Barracks, the Surveyor-General Felton Mathew had intended that the northern end of the Symonds Street ridge should be occupied by residences arranged in fashionable avenues and crescents. In the 1870s, the area remained desirable for its proximity to places of high social standing such as the former Government House, and for its elevated vantage point overlooking Auckland's commercial district. The Auckland Improvement Commission subsequently laid out new roads, subdivided the land and promoted the creation of Albert Park.

The redevelopment appears to have marked a new approach in urban Auckland, consciously creating a neighbourhood based on wealth. Formal restrictions for leaseholders stipulated that sections could not be further subdivided and that the houses erected were to be two storied, roofed with slate or iron and to be built at a cost of at least £700. Plans for the houses were also subject to the approval of the commissioners. Earlier residential areas in Auckland were generally more mixed and influenced by shared places of work (such as occupation of the Symonds Street ridge by high officials and ordinary soldiers alike), although some areas were traditionally more prestigious than others. The redevelopment attracted many wealthy merchants, who had become Auckland's new elite following the departure of government officials to Wellington. The former were often self-made men from working- or lower middle-class backgrounds, whose success reflected the unusually high potential for social mobility in colonial New Zealand. Their rise was assisted by a prolonged economic boom in the 1870s and Auckland's emerging role as a major Pacific entrepot.

As part of the improvements, Princes Street was extended southwards in 1873-1875. In keeping with the proposed elite nature of the area, this and adjacent streets were metalled, lit with gas and provided with drainage and sewerage. In December 1875, the Auckland Improvement Commissioners auctioned 99-year leases for fourteen sites on the western side of the road. Regarded to be the premier plots within the redevelopment, these were advertised as desirable for their 'unsurpassed and uninterrupted view' over the surrounding area and their proximity to the Government House grounds. They were also considered suitable as villa sites for businessmen as they lay just a few minutes walk away from Auckland's main commercial district in the Queen Street gully. All of the eventual purchasers secured at least two conjoining allotments to provide generous sites for their homes.

Initial construction and use of main residence and stables

In 1877 a successful brewer, Thomas Whitson (1845?-1881), purchased the leases for three allotments, Lots 7, 8 and 9. Construction of a large two-storey timber house of a restrained classical Italianate style took place in the same year. Built and occupied as a grand family house, this building was subsequently relocated, then demolished at a later date (see below). Whitson was an associate in Whitson and Sons, whose Albert Brewery in Queen Street is said to have been the largest brewery in Auckland Province. He was also the brother-in-law and business partner of George Johnstone, who had already erected a residence next door, at number 29 Princes Street, in 1876.

In December 1882, the lease for the property was transferred to local doctor Charles Haines (?-1929) starting a near-century long association of the site with members of the medical profession. Although initially purchased by merchants, many of the Princes Street properties were soon occupied by wealthy professionals, including several doctors. Medical practitioners may have initially been encouraged to move to the area by a combination of wealthy patrons and the perceived associations between open space, clean air and good health. The redeveloped area incorporated tree lined streets and a planned public park, and was also located away from the gullies in which commercial and industrial activity took place.

By the time of Haines' purchase, a timber outbuilding had been erected in the northwest corner of the property, probably for use as a stables. In 1883, this was superseded by an impressive brick structure of L-shaped plan. Still standing on the property, the building incorporated stalls for at least six horses on its ground floor, and a loft for storage above. The structure was probably accessed from a courtyard to its south and east, which was itself reached by a service lane at the rear of the property.

The stables were located in the lowest part of the section, potentially enabling drainage to flow away from the house. It also allowed general views to be maintained between the main residence and the commercial heart of Auckland in the Queen Street gully, where Haines had held professional rooms. Employing polychrome brickwork, the stables was designed in a sufficiently ornate manner to reinforce perceptions about the taste and prosperity of its owner. Charles Haines had qualified in medicine in Ireland and is known to have been driven to visit his patients by his coachman. In general, colonial New Zealand relied more heavily on horse transport than more substantially urbanised countries such as Great Britain. A brick garden wall in the southwest corner of the property may have been built at a similar time.

For a few years, Haines' brother Humphrey (1856-?), who was a distinguished ear, nose and throat surgeon, also lived in the house. Both men had married daughters of Edward Isaacs a general merchant and member of Auckland's Jewish community, and were also members of the elite Northern Club. Charles Haines was Club president in 1896 and 1898. Both the Northern Club and Auckland's main synagogue were located on Princes Street, a few doors to the north.

Continuing its medical connection, the property was subsequently leased by Dr Thomas Savage, who extended the main residence before 1908 with a substantial two-storey masonry addition. Located on the south side of the original structure, this was designed in the same classical Italianate style as the earlier timber building, although providing it with a more contemporary, asymmetrical-fronted appearance. The elegant addition incorporated ornate detailing in its downstairs rooms, had separate external access from that of the main house, and may have been purpose-built as a consulting room and surgery. The upstairs area, probably a master bedroom, contained an impressive fireplace and a smaller room enclosed within a unusual cantilevered projection, which was possibly used a bathroom.

Changes to the stables in the early 1900s reflected the decline of horsepower and the advent of motorised transport. Part of the building had been converted into a garage by 1923, at which time the structure was also modified to create X-ray and consulting rooms for Dr Bruce McKenzie. Aspects of this work appear to have been planned in 1921 but perhaps not carried out. Alterations included a new staircase to the upper floor, a garage addition in the building's southeast angle and a single-storey extension to the north to accommodate an office and a utility room. These changes also reflect the increasing number of medical practitioners working from the area in the early and mid twentieth century, which eventually led to the locality being known as Auckland's equivalent of Harley Street.

Modification of the main residence, and subdivision into two properties

Major changes occurred in the 1930s, towards the end of the Great Depression. In 1934, the timber portion of the main residence (1877) was relocated onto the northern part of the property next to the former stables as part of a proposed subdivision. For the next thirty to forty years, the northern and southern parts of the site were under separate ownership.

A large two-storey plastered brick house was built on the southern part of the site, forming a substantial addition to the pre-1908 remnant which remained in its original position. As the main body of the house was rebuilt slightly further west than the earlier structure, the pre-1908 addition assumed greater prominence as a forward projecting element. This work was carried out for a noted surgeon, Kenneth Mackenzie (1885-1942), a founder member of the Clinical Society at Auckland Hospital and an early member of the Auckland Division of the British Medical Council. The earlier additions may have been retained because they incorporated specialist workrooms. The new elements evidently involved the conscious creation of modern living accommodation.

Mackenzie was also president of the Auckland University College (now University of Auckland) Council when these modifications were carried out. He had been a member of the Council since 1921. The Auckland University College had occupied premises in the neighbourhood since the late nineteenth century. The erection of its landmark Arts and Commerce Faculties building (Old Arts Building, University of Auckland, NZHPT Register # 12, Category I historic place) in Princes Street in 1923-26 effectively marked the success of a campaign to maintain the university on a central site in the city. Located almost immediately across the road from each other, the Arts building and Mackenzie's remodelled residence shared the same architect, Roy Lippincott.

American-born Lippincott was an architect of considerable renown, who had been connected with the 'Prairie School' of architecture in Chicago. He had also worked in the Australian practice of Walter Griffin, which had designed Canberra. In New Zealand, Lippincott was noted for several designs carried out on the Auckland University College campus in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly the Arts and Commerce Faculties building, which represented a radical departure in New Zealand architecture. Lippincott was subsequently engaged on other educational buildings, such as Massey University Science building (1929-1931).

Lippincott designed Mackenzie's house in conjunction with Martin Hutchison. Their blend of pre-1908 elements and 1934 additions is considered to have created 'a remarkably harmonious and elegant whole'. The overall design is considered to reflect contemporary American influences, notably aspects of both the Chicago School and Spanish Mission. There were also links to the Prairie houses of the renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Lippincott's domestic work is generally held to explore the principles of the Chicago School, which addressed new forms of living space through an organic response to surrounding context. American styles were not infrequently used for buildings with an educational connection in early twentieth-century New Zealand, as exemplified by the adoption of Spanish Mission for the Auckland Grammar School (1916). This trend can be seen to represent progressive thinking and a move away from more constraining, British-influenced approaches.

Lippincott was also responsible for alterations carried out in 1937 to convert Mackenzie's residence to two apartments and consulting rooms. Further alterations were carried out in the front section in 1942, the year of Mackenzie's death. By 1950 two medical practitioners were working from the address, and Dr H.G. Feltham, the last practitioner to use the building as medical rooms, moved out in 1975. On what was now an adjoining property to the north, the stables also continued in use by radiologist Bruce McKenzie until at least 1950.

Heritage protection and subsequent use

By the 1970s, the land on which the main house and stables stood had reverted to Auckland City Council ownership following the expiry of its 99-year lease. In 1963 the Council had decided that the buildings, along with its neighbours on the western side of Princes Street should be demolished to become part of Albert Park. By 1972 a developing awareness of the importance of preserving heritage, and heritage values in formal city plans, led the Auckland City Council to retain and restore the Victorian residences. The Auckland Improvement Trust Act 1971 allowed the Council to keep one or more of the houses as examples of Victorian architecture, and a subsequent Act detailed how the buildings were to be managed. In 1974 the Council resolved to designate the houses and the adjacent synagogue as a conservation area and to restore them.

With the exception of a brick wall in the southwest corner of the site, physical boundaries separating the properties from each other appear to have been removed at this time or later. More significantly, the relocated timber building (1877) on the northern part of the current site was demolished in spite of a public campaign for its retention. A 1923 addition to the stables was also removed at this time.

The stables building was leased to the Auckland University Club, along with the adjacent building at 23 Princes Street. In 1979 a paved area with fountain was established in front. The former stables were converted into exhibition space (ground floor) and two residential flats (loft) in 1986, with funding largely provided by the Sargeson Trust for its writer-in-residence flat. The George Fraser Gallery was named for the late arts patron and former associate director of Fletcher Construction. The work was supported by Fletcher Construction who undertook to renovate the building at cost.

The main residence is currently (2007) used as a language school. Some of its interior spaces have been reconfigured and an upstairs balcony has been incorporated as part of the structure.

The former stables is the only currently known example of this building type to survive in the area that was redeveloped as a premier residential address by the Auckland Improvement Commission in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Other probable domestic stables at 29 and 31 Princes Street have been demolished. Few, if any, other domestic stables are believed to survive within Auckland's inner city from a time when horses were the dominant form of transport. The main house is an elegant and increasingly rare survival of a doctor's residence in the Princes Street and Symonds Street area, a locality that once had very strong connections with the medical profession.

Physical Description


The former house and stables is located in the eastern part of Auckland's Central Business District (CBD), on the Symonds Street ridge. It is situated on the western side of Princes Street, a broad tree-lined thoroughfare that separates the city campus of the University of Auckland from Albert Park, one of central Auckland's main recreational spaces. It is one of several large adjoining historic residences along the eastern fringe of the park. A narrow service access, Bowen Lane, separates most of these properties from the main park grounds.

The immediate area is noted for its historical and cultural heritage significance, encompassing numerous important buildings and archaeological sites. Immediately to the north of the Princes Street residences is the former Synagogue (NZHPT Registration # 578, Category I historic place), and the Northern Club (NZHPT Registration # 663, Category I historic place). To the east are the former Government House and its grounds (NZHPT Registration # 105, Category I historic place), the University of Auckland Old Arts Building (NZHPT Registration # 25, Category I historic place), and a remnant of the Albert Barracks Wall (NZHPT Registration # 12, Category I historic place). To the south and west, Albert Park is also an important archaeological and historical landscape, incorporating the buried remains of the Albert Barracks, several registered historic places (including a band rotunda and a keeper's cottage), and other elements linked with nineteenth-century recreational and Second World War military use.

The immediate area also contains several buildings designed by Roy Lippincott. Apart from the Old Arts Building these include 1925 additions to the Old Choral Hall (NZHPT Registration # 4474, Category I historic place), a Caretaker's Cottage erected in 1928-31 (unregistered) and the 1938 Biology Building (unregistered).

The house and stables at 25-27 Princes Street is the centremost feature of a group of five surviving residences, and occupies a 1720² m site that is approximately rectangular in plan. The ground is mostly flat but slopes slightly downhill towards the western boundary. The property incorporates a large two-storey stuccoed brick house in its southern half and a smaller brick stables building to the northwest. These sit in an open garden that encompasses lawns, broad paths, seating and a fountain. The garden is separated from Princes Street by a low ashlar wall with concrete coping. A tall historic freestanding brick wall extends a short distance to the south from the southwest corner of the site and has a short return along the west boundary. Slightly below the coping on the south side of the east-west section are seven openings, the base of which are at a raked angle. A large deciduous tree stands some distance away to the west and a rimu grows near the south east corner of the site. The site may incorporate the remains of a drill shed and also a military road that connected the main gate of Albert Barracks with the original southern terminus of Princes Street prior to 1873. It may also contain buried remains associated with the later residential use of the place. Nearby excavations at 31 Princes Street in 1990 revealed the well-preserved remains of features connected with both phases.

Main residence - exterior

The two-storey brick building blends two phases of construction into an elegant structure with a hipped roof. The south (pre-1908) wing facing the street is of classical Italianate style with a double-storey bow window. The larger, northern section of the building (1934) reflects contemporary American design. In plan the structure consists of two irregular rectangles with various projections. As the ground slopes downhill at the rear of the building, part of the 1934 portion incorporates a basement level.

The main elevation is asymmetrical, with a grand, projecting bow window at its southern end. It incorporates a moulded frieze and a rotunda-like roof sheathed in copper. The arched porch of the main entrance at the north end of the façade is accessed by a short flight of steps. At ground floor level between the two entrances is a linked pair of tall round-headed sash windows.

The north elevation has three staggered, regularly arranged bays, each projecting progressively northward moving east to west. The 1934 section of the house has many recessed sash windows on its three levels. On the upper storey above the entrance porch is a small balcony. The south elevation has two chimneystacks and there is a fire escape door at first floor level.

The west elevation of the pre-1908 section has four glazed openings and a doorway at ground floor level. Windows on the upper floor of the 1908 section are sheltered by a tile-roofed awning which is supported by cast iron scroll brackets. A small bay with stepped corbel supports protrudes near the south corner on the second storey and sweeps up to a parapet. Cast iron brackets are also evident above ground floor level windows on the south wall of the 1934 section and similar brackets support a planter box at ground floor level at the front of the house. In the west wall of the 1934 basement level is an external door. A small three-storey bay with roof protrudes towards the southern end of the west wall

Main residence - interior

The interior incorporates two parallel hallways accessed from separate entrances at ground floor level. The main, northern hall provides access to rooms at the rear including previous service rooms. It also leads to a staircase to rooms at first floor level. The southern hall provides access to large rooms in the pre-1908 addition - once used as a surgery and consulting room - and to rooms in the 1934 element on the southern side. A hallway at the top of the stairs from ground floor level leads to a network of rooms, all arranged off the corridor. The largest of these is a former bedroom in the pre-1908 element. The basement is reached from the secondary, southern hall on the ground floor.

The building retains a considerable amount of its internal 1930s detailing and earlier decorative elements in its pre-1908 portion. The main northern hall at ground floor level is lit by two, 12-pane leadlight sash windows. Below the easternmost window is a small timber cabinet fixture, which appears to be of 1930s date. Dark-stained skirtings, timber trim mouldings and square columns are a notable feature of the hall. Its main staircase has elegant metal scrolls in place of balusters and is capped by a simple timber handrail of rectangular profile.

A short flight of stairs at the south end of the stair lobby connects with the secondary, southern hall that runs to the east. The front entrance to the southern hall is lit by a glazed door which has leadlight fanlights and sidelights bearing stylised botanical motifs. The two rooms off the south side of the hall are within the pre-1908 structure. The southeast room is lit is by a large bow window incorporating small leadlights in its upper element. Above the bow window, a deep plaster frieze with swags encircles the room. The room has simple timber panelling and a picture rail with timber brackets. Centrally located in the south wall is an elegant tiled fireplace of 1930s date with a simple timber mantel.

At the top of the main stairs is a tall built-in cupboard, apparently an original fixture. The upper four of its six doors have leadlight glass. The pre-1908 southeast room with bow window corresponding with the room below has pressed metal ceilings. An ornate fireplace on the south wall incorporates a shield-shaped mirror. Towards the southwest corner of the principal room is a tiny square room which has a pressed metal ceiling and built-in cupboards. A small square bay in the west wall of the 1934 building has a built-in table and seating, possibly created as part of Lippincott's alterations in 1937. In the northeast corner of the room that contains the dining alcove is a small kitchen area with built-in cupboards.

Stables (Former) - exterior

The one-and-half storey brick stable building is broadly L-shaped in plan with a gabled roof clad with corrugated iron. It includes a single-storey addition in its southeast angle. Its rear wall on the west boundary abuts Bowen Lane. Of polychrome design, horizontal bands of cream brickwork link the heads of door and window openings on all elevations. The majority of the rest of the building is of exposed red brick, laid in English bond.

The east façade of the north-south element, facing the former stableyard, includes a central dormer with the remains of a projecting hoist for lifting goods to a loft. Most of the ground floor of this elevation has been incorporated within the interior of the single-storey extension. The projecting elevation at the eastern end of the north wing has a roughcast cement finish and two sash window openings on each storey. The upper openings have segmental heads. The north elevation faces the yard of an adjoining property at 23 Princes Street. It includes a sash window at ground level, while an inserted door at the top of a modern timber stairway provides access to two small flats within the upper level. A window has been added in the north gable of the main north-south section of the building.

In the west elevation, a window near the north end originally lit a small room that at one time contained a staircase to the loft. A distinctive row of six arch-headed windows originally lit stalls at ground floor level in the central and southern part of the building. The south elevation is plain other than for a band of cream brick midway up the wall and another associated with the sash in the upper gable.

Stables (Former) - interior

The ground floor of the stables building comprises two large interconnected spaces, currently used as exhibition rooms. One, the west gallery, is located where the horses were originally accommodated. The other, in the east wing, is where the horse-drawn vehicles would have been kept. In the southeast corner of the west gallery is a small office and kitchen space. A toilet area has been constructed in the corresponding southwest corner. The windows and door openings in the west wall have been covered over with plywood or a similar material. The southern section of the eastern exhibition space is comprised of glass walls and also admits natural light through a skylight. The brick walls of the original building are generally uncovered and have been painted white.

On the upper floor are two residential flats. Both are predominantly lined in modern materials, although they have original or early windows and exposed timber roof trusses.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1877 -
Main Residence: Two storey brick bay section, added to south side of 1877 house. Separate brick boundary wall may be 1880s or later.

1934 -
Original (1877) portion relocated

1934 -
Large addition to pre-1908 brick portion to create a predominantly new structure

1937 -
Remodelled dwelling converted into two flats

1942 -
Alterations (ground floor)

Demolished - Other
1977 -
1877 Timber building demolished

1991 -
Internal alterations for language school

1994 -
Internal alterations for language school

Original Construction
1883 -
Stables (Former)

Part conversion to garage

1923 -
Conversion of remainder to X-ray and consulting rooms

1923 -
Single storey extension on north side

1974 -
Removal of single storey extension on north side

1986 -
Conversion to art gallery and two flats

1986 -
Single storey flat roof, glassed in extension to south side; external staircase to upper floor north wall

Construction Details

Main Residence: Brick, tile roof

Stables (Former): Brick, corrugated iron roof

Completion Date

8th November 2007

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Davis, 1949

Eliot R. Davis, A Link with the Past, Auckland, 1949

Easdale, 1980

N. Easdale, Five Gentlemen's Residences in Princes Street Auckland: The Occupants and Their Enterprises 1875-1900, Auckland, 1980

Southern Cross

Southern Cross

Stone, 1973

R. C. J. Stone, Makers of Fortune: A Colonial Business Community and its Fall, Auckland, 1973

Other Information

A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Northern region office.

Management of the place is governed by the Auckland Improvement Trust Amendment Act 1973. Section 4 of the Act provides constraints on use and modification.

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.