Legal History of the Land
1851 July 1st – The Canterbury Association sells town section 45 to Mr John Grubb, shipwright, for £23. This is the first land to be sold by the Association once they had distributed land to those who had pre-purchased in England.
1864 – Lyttelton Municipal Ratepayers Roll records John Grubb’s Town section 45 with dwelling having a rateable value (R.V.) of ₤55 , T.S 46 is recorded as land only with an R.V. of ₤18; his boatshed on section 326-7 on Sumner Rd/beach has an R.V of ₤18. 1868
– The Lyttelton Municipal Council Ratepayers Roll records John Grubb as owning town section 45 (value £60) and 46 (value £30), both with land and dwelling house, also town section 114 (land and dwelling, value £30) on Dublin Street and land only at town section 326-7 on the Sumner Road (value £15).
THEREFORE John Grubb built the cottage on TS 46 (Now 64 London Street) between 1864 and 1868 so it is most probable that this is when he extended the 1851 dwelling because the style of the front of these two cottages is very similar and of this era as seen in other Lyttelton cottages.
See the 1980’s photograph of the neighbouring cottage at 64, London Street (TS 46). According to primary source material at Archive NZ (Christchurch) John Grubb built this dwelling between 1864 and 1868 and this would have been when he would have extended the south facing frontage of his 1851 cottage at 62, London Street (TS 45).
1878, November 23rd – The right hand side of town section 45 is leased to a Mr Radcliffe and a Mr Dyer, two partners in a Lyttelton painting business. The rent for this part of the section is £30 per annum. The following transactions apply only to the leased part of town section 45.
1879, January 14th – Dyer sells his part of the property they have built to Radcliffe for 5/-.
1881, June 17th – Radcliffe mortgages his land for £100 from Lyttelton Public Building Society.
1883, July 13th – Radcliffe is in debt; Lytteton Public Building Society as trustees sell to Dyer for £100, who takes out a mortgage with them for the same amount.
1887, July 14th – Dyer pays off the mortgage.
1889, September 27th – the lease is renewed with John Grubb for £30 per annum.
1898 March 10th – John Grubb has died, and his will mentions his ownership of town sections 45 and 46. The Land and property is left to his 3 sons.
1900, September 25th – there are two conveyances on this day, one for the right hand side and one for the left hand side of town section 45.
The right hand side (leased by Radcliffe and Dyer) is conveyed from James Grubb (John Grubb’s son, also a shipwright) to David Grubb.
The left hand side (62 London Street) now appears in the first deed since John Grubb bought it in 1851. James Grubb buys his two brothers' share and becomes the sole owner.
1917, April 12th – In his will, James Grubb leaves the property and land to his daughter, Mary. He leaves the family boatshed and workshop in Dampiers Bay to his brother David and David’s son John.
1919, July 10th – John Grubb and Helen Grubb (a clerk) pay £400 to Mary. Mary is registered as being Mrs Mary Parker, of Featherston, wife of Thomas Parker. A legal declaration is made 4 days later that Mary Parker is James Grubb's daughter.
1920, February 9th – John Grubb buys Helen Grubb's share for £200. He takes out a mortgage on the same day for £150.
1927, October 15th – the mortgage is paid and the Certificate of Title is issued to John Grubb.
1939, December 18th – the land and property pass to Kate Grubb, John Grubb’s widow.
1948 – Kate marries Thomas Parker, retired carpenter of Christchurch.
1961 – the house is sold to F Corbett and V Empson.
The house has therefore been in the Grubb family for 110 years.
John Grubb 1851
to his three sons 1898
to James Grubb 1900
to Mary Parker (nee Grubb) 1917
to John and Helen Grubb 1919
to John Grubb only 1920
to Kate Grubb (his widow) 1939-1961.
In 1851, 62 London Street would have been a simple weatherboard 2-roomed cottage downstairs (living room and kitchen-scullery) and two attic bedrooms upstairs. The section is 20.1 perch. There were in the 1850’s no bathing facilities. At a later date a detached outhouse served as a bathroom and laundry with adjacent outside lavatory.
Early features: a steep pitched roof, double hung windows each with 12 panes of glass. It was built of black pine and red pine, both very hard timbers. The flooring was made from pit sawn heart kauri; the beams and other joinery adzed.
Later, the basic cottage was added to, with three attic bedrooms added to the upper storey and a lounge and bedroom added on the front ground floor with a small veranda. A fireplace was built with the lounge. The stairs were the type that were lowered and raised. The walls lined with scrim and papered.
The full sized dormer in the roof forming an upper storey attic bedroom.
The longitudinal gable adds length to the cottage with an early lean-to at the side.
The house would be a T shape formed by the intersection of two gables.
The house is decorated simply, originally with plainly fretted bargeboards and simple veranda posts and brackets. This light ornamentation suggests the 1860’s period, however bull nosed verandas were more common after the 1880’s.
The other cottages built by Mr Grubb at what is now 64 & 66 London Street were there in 1868, the front section of 62 London Street would have been added when these 3 were built as they are very similar proportions and have the same windows. It is unlikely that Number 62 is of the 1890’s style as ‘suggested ’ in 1980s documentation by an earlier researcher and duplicated in 1996 by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust on registration.
Owners and occupiersMr John Grubb
Mr John Grubb was one of the earliest residents of Lyttelton. He was born at Tayport, Fifeshire, Scotland in 1817. He trained as a shipwright and gained his mates certificates. He was a ships carpenter on the General Palmer when that vessel, on a journey from Melbourne to London in 1847, put into Wellington in a leaky condition, and was there condemned.
John Grubb came to Lyttelton in 1848, and in 1849 was involved in the construction of Lyttelton’s first Harbour work; the construction of a 150x15 foot jetty begun in July of that year. Built by Donald Gollan, John Grubb, James McNeil and the Allan brothers (Magnus and Robert Allan, from Port Levy); the jetty was complete by the end of 1849 for the Canterbury Association.
His wife Mary and 3 children came out to New Zealand on the Charlotte Jane in 1850 and lived in a V hut that he had built for them. John had written to Mary beforehand and asked her to bring with her various carpentry tools; cross cut saws, an axe, an adze, steel chisels, files, planes, braces and bits. These were no doubt useful in building their first house in 1851 on the section that John had purchased.
He and the Allans built several punts and lighters for use around the port and to transport settlers’ belongings around to Sumner and Heathcote. He also built the first Heathcote ferry punt for Thomas Hughes. With fellow Scottish emigrant George Marshall he also built a small vessel named the Caledonia, which traded between Lyttelton and Wellington. At Pigeon Bay he built the Canterbury, which also traded in Wellington. Settling in Lyttelton, Grubb started in business as a shipwright, and also owned the first ship in the port.
Lyttelton Times extract, September 3rd 1853.
A most gratifying interlude in the present proceedings for which the day was set apart, took place ay one o’clock on Wednesday last. The first vessel, bona fide built of New Zealand timber and entirely by Canterbury industry, in this port of Victoria (name of happiest augury!), was launched amid the cheers and vivas of a large group of spectators, the animating strains of our improving and admirable amateur band, and the fervent good wishes for the success of the little craft and her worth and industrious owners. She was duly christened with all proper formula by Mrs Grubb, the wife of the senior partner, the ‘Caledonia’, from a natural and national predilection for the country of her builders.
The registered burthen will be about 20 tons, with a capacity to carry about 30 bales of wool; cutter rigged and of a light displacement of water. We hope to often chronicle in our shipping list her industrial career. With the large forests of timber on Banks Peninsula – embracing woods of much varied qualities – there can be no other reason than a dearth of labour to hinder the colonists from building many tons of shipping. It is a matter of some surprise and considerable regret that no saw mill has yet been established, and we take the present opportunity of impressing the necessity which exists of one being speedily erected, if we really wish to develop the resources of the peninsula, and to profit by the great and remunerative demand which now exists for timber of all kinds in Australia.
In conclusion we have to congratulate the worthy builders of the ‘Caledonia’, Messrs Grubb and Marshall, on the success which has attended their efforts to promote the shipping interest of the port, and we confidently look forward to a not distant day when they will be prepared to extend it by building vessels which may render their names famous amongst the shipbuilders of the Pacific. The ‘Caledonia’ is an example to us all of what may be effected by honest, persevering industry, and may she prove as fortunate in her career as that which generally attends Caledonia’s sons, when they are thrown upon the world and their own resources.
Lyttelton Times extract, June 4th 1855:
Mr James Grubb
We have been informed that the launch of the first steam vessel to be built in this province by our energetic fellow-settlers, Messrs Grubb and Marshall, will take place at Pigeon Bay on Wednesday next at about 2 p.m. We heartily wish the owners every success.
Grubb was for many years a member of the early borough council. As a Freemason he was treasurer of Lodge Canterbury Kilwinning for about 20 years.
In conjunction with the Deans of Riccarton, he was instrumental in establishing St Andrews Church in Christchurch, and for many years he was an elder of St Johns Presbyterian Church, Winchester Street, Lyttelton.
John Grubb’s wife, Mary, died in Lyttelton in 1886; John Grubb died in 1898, and is buried in Lyttelton’s Canterbury Street cemetery.
Born in Lyttelton in 1852, he went to Scotland after finishing school and worked for some years with the Tay Shipbuilding Company and other large shipbuilding firms.
He returned to New Zealand in 1880, but worked for some time in coastal sailing vessels. He then joined his father in business as a shipwright, and carried on the business himself from about 1892. As a freemason he was for 8 years Worshipful master of Lodge Canterbury Kilwinning. He was also a member of the Scottish Society.
He started public life in 1895 when elected to the Lyttelton Borough Council, and became mayor in 1902.
James married a Miss McDonald, and had seven children.
The Cylopedia New Zealand of 1903 mentions James Grubb as mayor, and adds: ‘a part of the house in which the family resides was built in 1851, yet appears to be as strong and in as good a condition as the more recent additions to the home.
The 1919 Lyttelton Rate Payers Roll mentions other Grubbs:
- John Grubb, of London Street, a railway clerk.
- Helen Grubb, also of London Street, a spinster.
- David Grubb and William Grubb, carpenters, at the house next door, now number 64.