These historic places need to be remembered so that the past can bring relevance to the present and so shape the future. Over the last 2 years Lyttelton News segment of the Akaroa Mail has printed some of what I have written about the history of places in Lyttelton so that they can be recognised, remembered and valued.
A place that has a rich social history with buildings that reflect this is special and has a strong community at its heart. If you compare it to a new suburb with no heritage and buildings built within a few months of each other to a standard plan, you would find that most of the people who lived there had few tangible links to each other and that the place lacks a vibrant community.
People say, “What’s so special about that old building?” It is the link with the past that makes our old buildings special and often unique and it is only once they are gone that we realise what we have lost.
We are lucky in Lyttelton that we still have over 300 heritage buildings! Some are still at risk of being lost and some have already been lost forever. If we value our heritage then we need to save it for future generations.
John Godley’s House, Sumner Road. (1849-1944)
Built by Captain Thomas in 1849 for agent of the Canterbury Association and leader of the Canterbury Settlement John Robert Godley. Godley was also a lawyer and writer and lived here with his wife Charlotte; her diaries and sketches give us a real insight into early Lyttelton life and social attitudes of that time. Demolished so that new Plunket rooms could be built on this site in 1944.
The Colonists Hall, Oxford Street. (1867-1943)
Built by the England brothers, this 2 storey wooden building with a huge, unique rose window was an early community hall for Lyttelton, holding its library, reading rooms, assembly and committee rooms and concert and dance hall. In later years it was used for ‘manual’ woodwork and cookery classes by Lyttelton Main School until it was demolished in 1943.
Union Bank, Norwich Quay. (1858-1960)
Lyttelton’s first substantial stone building, built from the red tuft stone quarried from Sumner Rd quarry.
Bank of New Zealand, Norwich Quay. (1879-1964)
Established in 1862 rebuilt in a grand Italianate stone design by architect W.B. Armson. The BNZ bank can be seen in this 1901 photo of Norwich Quay as the large two storey building opposite the 'Harbour Board Export Store'. The photo taken on 17/2/1901 shows a parade of Troops leaving for the Boer War.
Sinclair Melbourne’s, Norwich Quay (site of the present Port Company building). (1890-1985)
A partnership of two old Lyttelton family firms of marine engineers, boat-builders, boilermakers, welders, blacksmiths plus later motor garage owners.
Lyttelton Sailors’ Home and New Zealand Shipping Company buildings, Norwich Quay (both demolished 1970).
Coronation Hall, social centre for Lyttelton’s wharfies. (1889-1972)
Cunningham’s Grain Store, Norwich Quay. (1872-1980)
Lyttelton Borough School, Oxford Street. (1874-1940s)
A large 2-storey, ornate neo-gothic brick school building designed by William Armson.
A 1941 view of the school building also showing the Colonists hall to the right.
The Lyttelton Club, Dublin Street. (1870-1980)
A large 2-storey building with sprung dance floor
Lyttelton Railway Station. (1865-1963)
The Lyttelton Band Rotunda, start of the original Bridle Path. (1909-1962)
The opening of the Lyttelton Band Rotunda in 1908. This photo portrays what the bottom of the Bridle Path looked like before the area was excavated to make way for the Road Tunnel.
38 St David Street
44 St David Street
46 St David Street
Early cottages, St David Street. (Built 1850s-1860’s)
These 1850's - 1860 cottages; classic examples of the early Colonial 'Georgian' workers cottage were surviving on St David Street until relatively recent times. As can be seen from the photograph, Number 38 even had its Regency verandah intact.
Early Villa, corner Dublin Street / Winchester Street. (1850s-1960s)
Early Cottage, 21 Ticehurst Road.
This historic cottage has been demolished in recent years. At one time owned by Eli Salt, well known Lyttelton Storekeeper and Bricklayer. Click here for more information on this building.
Solicitors Office, then Collett’s Chemist, London Street.
An early and decoratively patterned brick building built after the 1870 Great Fire of Lyttelton.
Lyttelton Hospital / Orphanage, Brittan Terrace. (1863-1904)
Built by the England Brothers( Richard & Kelynge )this impressive wooden structure constructed of kauri & totara, was open in October 1863. The hospital consisted of 6 wards; 17 patients to a ward. By the early 1870's the hospital had fallen into disuse; mainly due to the completion of large facilities in Christchurch. Adapted for use as an orphanage; by 1873 94 'wards of the state' were living there. During the 1880's further alterations were made to the building. In 1904 this West Lyttelton landmark was destroyed by fire.
Captain Sam Keeble lived here until 1889 with his wife Amy and seven children, he was Master of several important vessels that came and went from Lyttelton on coastal, trans-Tasman and International routes, the road running alongside his house between Dublin Street and Jackson’s Rd is named Keebles Lane after him.
Devonia, Captain Hatchwell’s House, 10a Bridle Path.
Devonia is a 2-storey weatherboard house with large gables and carved bargeboards. Captain Robert Hatchwell arrived in NZ on Ionic in 1883; he was the local manager of the NZ Shipping Company. According to Miss Margery Hatchwell her parents named it Devonia after their home county of Devon in England. They altered the house when they bought it in 1889 adding a larger bay window on the front and a bull nosed veranda, the original bay window was moved to the side facing the Bridlepath entrance. An inside bathroom and new north facing bedroom was added to the house in 1918.
The Hatchwells conducted a navigation school for officers and cadets in the Navy over almost 50 years at the family home ‘Devonia’; his daughters taught signalling here where they had panoramic views of Lyttelton’s harbour. From this vantage point they could also watch the school of seven whales that came into the harbour as far as Quail Island, by 1930 only three whales remained.
The family owned the launch Onawe. Mrs Ellen Louisa Hatchwell, his wife, was a volunteer nurse during the 1918 flu epidemic. The family were very involved with Lyttelton’s St John’s Presbyterian Church.
Both these houses would greatly benefit from conservation work.
Now that Lyttelton is under the jurisdiction of the Christchurch City Council, owners of heritage buildings can apply to the Council’s heritage department for a heritage grant from their Heritage Incentive Fund that will help pay for 10%- 40% of conservation work / restoration work /seismic strengthening work helping owners ensure the long-term survival of heritage buildings. For further information click here www.ccc.govt.nz/heritage
To be saved
Grubb Cottage, 62 London Street. (1851)
This very early cottage was home to the Grubb family for over a century and built in 1851 with early additions between 1864-8. John Grubb built Lyttelton’s first jetty and was an early boat builder. The cottage escaped the ravages of the 1870 Great Fire. James Grubb, John Grubb’s son, also lived here, he was Mayor of Lyttelton during the first years of the Twentieth Century. Grubb Cottage Heritage Trust
has been formed to manage the conservation work of Grubb Cottage
and its gardens on London Street. This work will start in 2008 once a detailed conservation plan has been completed. The Friends of Grubb Cottage will be set up for all those interested in the cottage’s future.
Liza Rossie - 2008