The Moorings

31 Glenbervie Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1905

  • Architect(s)

    John Sydney Swan

  • Builder(s)

    Unknown

  • The Moorings has architectural significance as the design of John Sydney Swan, one of Wellington’s more important architects. The building’s architecture is notable in itself as an interesting manifestation of Swan’s style and fascination with the sea.

    The Moorings is historically important for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the home of the John S. Swan and his family. Secondly, The Moorings was at the centre of the resistance against the encroachment of the motorway on the Glenbervie Terrace and Ascot Street area.

    The Moorings is an important contributor to a sense of place and continuity in Thorndon. In a suburb teeming with history, The Moorings is a heritage building of special character and adds another layer of interest to Thorndon’s heritage landscape. It also adds to a sense of continuity for the area, being built in 1905, and surviving the motorway encroachment in the 1960s.

    The Moorings has provided a home to a large number of tenants, especially since it became a boarding house in the 1930s. It is still one of the more renowned flats in Wellington, and holds cultural value as a home for Wellingtonians.


  • close History
    • John Sydney Swan purchased the site of the Moorings on Glenbervie Terrace in 1905. The land was originally granted to Edward Toomath in 1873, and it changed hands several times before coming to Swan’s possession. Swan moved quickly with the site, designing and constructing his family home that same year. John Swan died in 1936 and the house passed to his two sons, John Sydney and Cyril Robert Valentine. It was leased as a boarding house until it was sold, in 1964.

      In 1965 the owners undertook a major restoration of the home. In 1966 a motorway proclamation was issued and ten nearby houses were demolished by the Ministry of Works. The owners of The Moorings resisted this and as a result house is the largest and most prominent building left in this part of the Thorndon residential E-zone.

      John Sydney Swan had a passion for the sea and this can be seen in the design of The Moorings, with its various nautical references. The house was essentially a grandiose gesture to his nautical inclinations. Swan was the Commodore of the Port Nicholson Yacht Club for a number of years, and a firm devotee of visiting sailing ships. He used to run up the flag on a ship's arrival, and subsequently invite the captain back to The Moorings. Swan also owned on the world’s largest collections of photographs of ships.

      This building is a monument to one of Wellington’s leading architects, and effectively demonstrates a freedom of design often associated with his houses. Swan’s personal passion for the sea was a driving force in the theme explored in this design - without the constraints of a client’s brief.

    • Modifications close
      • 1905
      • 31 Glenbervie Terrace, dwelling (00053:0:6496)
      • 1906
      • 31 Glenbervie Terrace, additions to dwelling (00053:131:7330)
      • 1926
      • 31 Glenbervie Terrace, additions to dwelling (00056:19:B1873)
      • c.1920
      • Verandah added to south elevation (later glazed). Wash-house entry altered. Third storey added to west portion of house, later divided into four bedrooms
      • c.1930
      • Addition of ballroom (now games room) to east side
      • 1994
      • 31 Glenbervie Terrace, drain (00060:137:5036)
    • Occupation History close
      • 1905 - c.1936
      • Swan family
      • unknown
      • Current
  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      Interior Style:

      The interior style is Edwardian popular in many houses after the turn of the century, and the interior retains most of its original fabric, decoration and layout. Only the kitchen has been modernised, while the rest of the house remain relatively untouched. It is unusual to find a house of such size and grandeur that retains its original interior features, but this house is a fine example of Edwardian design and planning, built by a prominent Wellington architect for his Family. There have been additions to the house, such as a third level on top of the main house and a ‘games room’ added below the main house. Features of the interior include original wallpapers, dados, frieze, fireplaces, staircase and hall, bathrooms, doors, architraves and skirtings, pressed metal frieze, and some original light fittings.

      Interior Planning:

      The Moorings is designed in a grand Edwardian manner, with two storied galleried halls, and large rooms. In the original plans the entrance to the building is along one side and opens up into a large entrance hall, with stairway and gallery, and from here there are doors to a large study, living room, kitchen and nursery. Along the first floor gallery there are 5 large bedrooms, and a bathroom and WC. The large games-room was added after the original house was built - although very much in the same style, the entrance to this hall is from the living room, where steps lead down to a gallery around two sides of the hall, and further steps lead into the hall itself. Features of the planning of the house include, built in wardrobes, indoor bathrooms and WC’s, inglenooks, and generous space in each room.


    • Materials close

      Timber

    • Setting close

      Perched on the eastern side of the rise that runs separates the southern end of Tinakori Road and the city, The Moorings overlooks a rather desperate part of

      Wellington. What once would have been a spectacular view across the south-eastern corner of Thorndon now has a motorway running through it; the raised flyover not far off from house height. Still, the view across to the Parliamentary precinct, with the harbour in the background is still special, and one that John Sydney Swan must have enjoyed in his time also.

      The Moorings sits within the boundaries of Residential ‘E’ Zone. The zone is centred around the streets of Glenbervie Terrace, Ascot Street, Sydney Street West, and Parliament Street, the E Zone is a heritage preservation mechanism implemented by Wellington City Council in 1973 after lobbying from the Thorndon Society, a heritage enthusiast group. The Moorings is perhaps the most impressive building within the E Zone.

  • close Cultural Value

    The Moorings has architectural significance as the design of John Sydney Swan, one of Wellington’s more important architects. The building’s architecture is notable in itself as an interesting manifestation of Swan’s style and fascination with the sea.

    The Moorings is historically important for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the home of the John S. Swan and his family. Secondly, The Moorings was at the centre of the resistance against the encroachment of the motorway on the Glenbervie Terrace and Ascot Street area.

    The Moorings is an important contributor to a sense of place and continuity in Thorndon. In a suburb teeming with history, The Moorings is a heritage building of special character and adds another layer of interest to Thorndon’s heritage landscape. It also adds to a sense of continuity for the area, being built in 1905, and surviving the motorway encroachment in the 1960s.

    The Moorings has provided a home to a large number of tenants, especially since it became a boarding house in the 1930s. It is still one of the more renowned flats in Wellington, and holds cultural value as a home for Wellingtonians.

    • Aesthetic Value close
      • Architectural

        Does the item have architectural or artistic value for characteristics that may include its design, style, era, form, scale, materials, colour, texture, patina of age, quality of space, craftsmanship, smells, and sounds?

        The Moorings has architectural significance as the design of John Sydney Swan, one of Wellington’s more important architects. The building’s architecture is notable in itself as an interesting manifestation of Swan’s style and fascination with the sea.

      • Group

        Is the item part of a group of buildings, structures, or sites that taken together have coherence because of their age, history, style, scale, materials, or use?

        The Moorings is part of the Thorndon heritage protection area Residential ‘E’ Zone.

      • Townscape

        Does the item have townscape value for the part it plays in defining a space or street; providing visual interest; its role as a landmark; or the contribution it makes to the character and sense of place of Wellington?

        The Moorings is a Thorndon landmark. Visible from a number of streets and vantage points, not to mention its large scale, the house is an important structure in the Thorndon townscape.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important person, group, or organisation?

        The Moorings is historically important for two main reasons. Firstly, it was the home of the John S. Swan and his family. Secondly, The Moorings was at the centre of the resistance against the encroachment of the motorway on the Glenbervie Terrace and Ascot Street area.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

        Does the item have archaeological value for its ability to provide scientific information about past human activity?

        The archaeological risk of The Moorings is unknown.

    • Social Value close
      • Identity Sense Of Place Continuity

        Is the item a focus of community, regional, or national identity? Does the item contribute to sense of place or continuity?

        The Moorings is an important contributor to a sense of place and continuity in Thorndon. In a suburb teeming with history, The Moorings is a heritage building of special character and adds another layer of interest to Thorndon’s heritage landscape. It also adds to a sense of continuity for the area, being built in 1905, and surviving the motorway encroachment in the 1960s.

      • Public Esteem

        Is the item held in high public esteem?

        The Moorings is held in high public esteem. Though the motorway debate was almost fifty years ago, the house still serves as a symbol against the motorway encroachment.

      • Symbolic Commemorative Traditional Spiritual

        Does the item have symbolic, commemorative, traditional, spiritual or other cultural value for the community who has used and continues to use it?

        The Moorings has provided a home to a large number of tenants in its times, especially since it became a boarding house in the 1930s. It is still one of the more renowned flats in Wellington, and holds cultural value as a home for Wellingtonians.

    • Level of Cultural Heritage Significance close
      • Authentic

        Does the item have authenticity or integrity because it retains significant fabric from the time of its construction or from later periods when important additions or modifications were carried out?

        The Moorings has retained a very high level of authenticity, both interior and exterior.

      • Local Regionl National International

        Is the item important for any of the above characteristics at a local, regional, national, or international level?

        The Moorings is important at a local level.

      • Representative

        Is the item a good example of the class it represents?

        The Moorings is a very good example of a large inner city Edwardian residence of the early twentieth century. The Moorings is also a good representative of John Swan’s work.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      18/ 134

    • Legal Description

      Lots 1 & 2 Deeds Plan 5 & Pt Secs 520 521 Town of Wellington

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      1/Historic Place 1437

    • Archaeological Site

      Risk unknown

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      No

    • Funding Amount

      Not applicable

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      Outside Earthquake Prone Policy

  • close Additional Information
    • Sources close
      • Land Information New Zealand. CT13/33
      • Wellington City Council Archive Files: 00053:0:6496
      • ____. 00053:131:7330
      • ____. 00056:19:B1873
      • Black, Jane, Michael Kelly, and Chris Cochran. ‘Thorndon Heritage Project’. Report prepared for the Wellington City Council, December 2008
      • Cochran, Chris. 'The Moorings'. Proposal for Classification, Buildings Classification Committee Report. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. August 1987
      • Doyle, Eugene. 'A House Divided'. Wellington City Magazine. September 1986
      • McGill, David. 'The Fall and Rise of Thorndon'. Alexander Turnbull Library. Wellington City History Newspaper Articles, Vol. 7, p. 181
      • New Zealand Historic Places Trust. ‘The Moorings: 31 Glenbervie Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington’. Last accessed September 2013
      • ____. ‘Swan, John Sydney – Architect’. Last accessed September 2013
      • Richmond, Mary-Jane. 'Lease of Life, 31 Glenbervie Terrace'. Independent Herald, 20 May 1975
      • Wellington City Council. ‘Heritage Inventory – 1995’.
    • Technical Documentation close
    • Footnotes close

      Not available

Last updated: 6/10/2017 1:50:17 a.m.