Lyttelton’s Godley Quay is one of the most important heritage streets in Lyttelton. It was named after John Robert Godley the agent for the Canterbury Association 1850. This is a very old part of Lyttelton with much early port history attached to it. Important Lyttelton residents linked to the port and shipbuilding lived here in close proximity to their work. Lyttelton’s port was originally a railway port. Before the 1964 road tunnel and containerisation the residential roads did not share heavy port traffic. Nowadays, very few people walk along Godley Quay to admire its beautiful historic houses because of the hazards of the heavy traffic that travels to and from the port’s tank farm area.
6 Godley Quay
6 Godley Quay known as “Captain Simeon’s House” was built between 1853-60. It is a charming triple gable, pit-sawn timber dwelling with early features including small paned windows. It was home to early Lyttelton resident Henry Le Cren; agent to the ‘First Four Ships’ and colonial merchant .
President of Lyttelton Boating club and Commodore of the Lyttelton Regatta: David Davis also lived here; he was also elected as one of four Lyttelton members of the Canterbury Provincial Council. This property is already registered as an historic building with the NZHPT.
8 Godley Quay
8 Godley Quay is a two storey Arts and Crafts style house built c1919.
10 Godley Quay
10 Godley Quay was a villa built c1900 and has an interesting older outbuilding. It was home to Joseph and Mary McLean, a master mariner and his wife. 10 Godley Quay is typical of the square house style of 1890 – 1910. The outbuilding to the left of the property is older than the house, and is from the earlier house that can be seen in an 1860s & 1870 photo of Dampiers Bay, next to Dalcroy House. This original cob cottage is pre 1860. It is rare due to the fact it is a cob-lined and has original wooden shingles under the tin roof, it had the original small paned windows, and may well be worthy of a conservation project.
14 Godley Quay
14 Godley Quay, known as “Loch Ranza”was built in 1882 by M.J Miller. This is a two storey square house with high studs. The most impressive feature is the double veranda and intricate iron lace work. The main material is timber of the rusticated style. Heads of doors and windows are decorated with a narrow hood and corbels. Malcolm Miller Snr. was father of Malcolm James Miller. In 1880 he bought ‘Dalcroy House’ next door to section 274, and owned section 274 as land only. He was one of the early shipbuilders in the colony. He had earlier had a shipyard on the Wanganui River and the first pontoon ferry. His wife, Mary Macdonald, came out to Invercargill in 1863 and moved to Lyttelton in 1873. She lived at Glencoe. They had four sons including Malcolm J. Miller (Jimmy); he started a ship building business at Corsair Bay in 1874. He and his sons also worked on vessels in the dock and at the slipway close by at Godley Quay. They built the famous yacht ‘Pastime’ in 1886. Mr Miller Snr. died on the 29th July 1909 aged 71. He left 4 sons and one daughter. Malcolm J. Miller (Jimmy) and his sons Arch and Jack helped him in the boat building business, they moved their business to Godley Quay on the site occupied later by the Plume tank; in 1916 they took over the Black sheds and Rowing Club sheds and in 1920 son Jack formed the boat building firm J. Miller Ltd.
Malcolm James Miller (Jimmy) was the builder of 14 Godley Quay. He bought a part of section 274 and 272 from his mother, Mary Miller. Malcolm James Miller resided at ‘Loch Ranza’ on Godley Quay when he was Mayor of Lyttelton between 1910 and 1913. Miller also owned other properties; in the valuation roll of 1919 to 1920 he was recorded as owning ‘a dwelling’ on Canterbury Street, 2 houses on Brittan Terrace, 2 houses on Godley Quay, a ‘dwelling’ on Cressy Terrace and 4 houses on Governors Bay Road. Miller’s houses’ at 40-44 Brittan Terrace where his employees lived above ‘Sandy Bay’ overlooked his boat yard. Malcolm Miller built Seaview Terrace houses when he purchased old church land in 1896. The Church land had been intended for a cemetery, but was instead sold to raise funds for the building of St Saviour’s vicarage, at nearby 2,Brittan Terrace. Mr Miller owned ships that transported wood from Australia, which was used as dunnage. When he had surplus timber he built houses with it. His wife, Anne Eliza, is also recorded as owning property: ‘4 dwellings and land on Simeon and Godley Quays’.
John Joseph Plimmer bought this house in 1947. He was a marine engineer, his great grandfather was John Plimmer who came out to NZ from England in 1841 and Plimmerton, Wellington is named after him, as are the Plimmer steps; much early Wellington history is linked to him and a statue has been erected there in his memory. John Plimmer lived into his 90’s so got to see his great grandson, before his father John David Plimmer, a marine engineer moved to Lyttelton in 1905. John Joseph Plimmer also worked as a marine engineer for the Harbour Board; Arlene Stanley, nee Plimmer, his daughter remembers a very happy childhood spent here (oral history tapes: Lyttelton Community Oral History Project 2005). Her mother, Violet, lived here until 1974, when she moved to St Saviour’s cottages after the death of John Plimmer. Arlene’s daughter, Joanne, was the first woman to qualify as a tug pilot in New Zealand.
16 Godley Quay
16 Godley Quay known as “Dalcroy House” was one of Lyttelton’s first schools, built in 1865 for Presbyterians. It is now a guesthouse. It was built by J.D. Ferguson in 1865 and enlarged by 1879. Constructed in timber, made up of gables with carved ornate wooden bargeboards, and a roof built of slate. The corners of the house were decorated with wooden quoins, and a 1st storey veranda with vertical balustrades was above the front door. The bay window has its own shaped hood and finials and shaped sashes characteristic of these early houses. It is thought that the architect of Dalcroy House was Samuel Farr, who was a close friend of James Ferguson, both being Presbyterian and keen anglers. In 1866 Ferguson advertised for pupils and boarders at the school in the “Lyttelton Times”: Education In Lyttelton. The Rev. J.D Ferguson intimates his intention to RE OPEN his classes for the education of young gentlemen on Monday February 5th at 9 a.m. Mr Ferguson will devote all his time to the duties of the school. He has accommodation for a limited number of boarders to whose comfort and training every attention will be paid. Bathing and boating will not be allowed without the consent of parents, and only then in Mr Ferguson’s company. Drill under an experienced sergeant, two or three times a week. Terms: boarders, seventy to eighty guineas per annum according to age and proficiency. Dampiers Bay, Lyttelton, January 24th 1866.
It is seen very clearly in the Dampier’s Bay 1870 photograph at Lyttelton Museum. This property is also registered as a historic building with New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
18, 22 and 24, Godley Quay are villas built c1890.
26 Godley Quay
26 Godley Quay is “Dampier House” built 1848-50. This early timber cottage has various interesting early additions built on including an early tower-like 2 storey section. Christopher. E Dampier (1801-71) called his house ‘Waicliffe’ when he lived there. As he was its earliest resident this area was named after him: Dampier’s Bay (as seen in the Lyttelton Times of 21.2.1852), West Lyttelton was so named for many years; his house was known as Dampier’s Bay House and Dampier House. He came out as solicitor to the Canterbury Association arriving in Lyttelton with his wife on the ‘Phoebe Dunbar&rsquo on 8th November 1850. Dampier was here prior to the arrival of the First Four Ships and was what was known as a squatter occupying land that had not been yet legally allocated to him but was granted permission by Godley (see Canterbury Association Letter Books). He moved into the house of Captain Thomas, the Chief Surveyor, who had packed up after a disagreement with Godley.
Dampier enlarged the original house using totara, kauri and black pine and bought land in Lyttelton and Christchurch at the first land ballot. He practised law in the port and had an office on the corner of Cashel Street and Oxford Terrace. In 1853 Dampier was a Lyttelton representative on the Provincial Council. By 1870 Dampier bought Brockenhurst; 400 acres at Woodend where he moved and leased ‘Waicliffe’ to a master butcher: Thomas Parkinson.
Parkinson owned Dampier’s Bay house from 1871 but there is no decisive proof that he occupied the house until 1883 when he died, and his will deals with his whole Kaituna Estate. Codicils to his will refer to the Dampiers Bay house, in that it was to remain a family house. His wife appeared to be living at their Gebbies Valley house, ‘Park Hill’. His funeral notice in the Lyttelton Times (25th September 1883) says that the funeral procession ‘will leave Dampiers Bay’, and that he died in Lyttelton after a long illness.
His death certificate records his place of death as Lyttelton. The Cyclopaedia New Zealand of 1903 notes that his death was as the ‘result of an accident at Dampiers Bay’. It appears that he was retired, and had sons who worked the Kaituna estate; he lived in a new house in the Gebbies Valley and at his Lyttelton residence in Dampiers Bay. The house remained in the family until 1900.