Nott House and milk stand adjacent to Middleton Road

Ivy Bank Farm

400 Middleton Road, Glenside, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1860

  • Architect(s)

    Unknown

  • Builder(s)

    Unknown

  • Nott House has significant historical value as one of the first buildings constructed in the Wellington area. That it is a rare survivor only adds to this value. The complex of outbuildings and sheds helps interpret the history of the use of the site and adds further significance.

    It has aesthetic value – while relatively plain in design and ornamentation, it is nonetheless elegantly composed and well planned for the site and possesses high architectural interest for its early design.

    The house is valued highly by the Glenside Community, particularly the local Progressive Association and the Tawa Historical Society and has some social value for this.

  • close History
    • The house at 400 Middleton Road, known variously as the Nott House and Ivy Bank Farm, was constructed circa 1860 by early colonist William Nott. William and his first wife Ann arrived in New Zealand aboard the Birman in 1842, and settled in the Wellington district. Ann died in 1853. William Nott purchased Section 29 Porirua District off the Honourable Algernon Tollemache on 26 July 1860 for £144, and is believed to have constructed at least part of the existing house soon after this. He had purchased part of Section 30 in 1863 which, combined with Section 29, became Ivy Bank Farm. Access to Ivy Bank was across a bridge across the Porirua Road. The farm’s name was inspired by the ivy growing wild over the bridge ramparts.

      William Nott died in 1895 and left the property to his second wife Emma and two of his sons, James and Frank. James Nott later transferred his share to his mother. She died in 1914 and Frank, along with his sister Mary, died of influenza during the epidemic of 1918. This tragic event may have contributed to the decision of surviving family members to sell the farm to David and Priscilla Rowell in 1919.

      The Rowell family ran dairy cows and sheep on the land, which comprised 241 acres. However (against their wishes), part of the farm was taken under the Public Works Act for railway purposes in c.1929. Prior to this the entrance to the farm was off what was known as Old Porirua Road (now part of Middleton Road). The new railway line cut across this access, so the Railways Department constructed a new road to the farm, later named Rowells Road. A footbridge was constructed, enabling the Rowell family to carry cans of cream (and later milk) from their milking shed through a gate, across the railway line and over the bridge to their milk stand on the main road. The milk stand still survives, albeit in a slightly different location, as it was relocated two metres south to accommodate alterations to Middleton Road in 2004.

      Herbert Dorset (known as Max Dorset) purchased part of the farm, including the house, in 1947 for £1500. He fought as a seaman with the Navy during World War Two and prior to this farmed at Silverstream and worked as a civil servant in the War Pensions Department. After purchasing the property he ran cattle on the land and continued to work for the Pensions Department. In 1951 part of the farm was taken for the Wellington-Foxton motorway. Mr Dorset was paid £1 per acre for the land and 10 shillings per tree lost.

      In addition to his own farming activities, he leased out his woolshed for a variety of non-farming activities. It first housed a factory, which conducted experiments into rust-proofing vehicle undersides. After this business moved to Petone, chemist Cecil Mason used to shed to manufacture “Borafume”, a chemical used to prevent borer beetles destroying timber. Mason, who lived in the historic house now located at 1–3 Westchester Drive East in Glenside, later became Chief Chemical Engineer for the New Zealand Forest Service. Later still the shed became a soap factory supplying hospitals in Wellington and the Hutt Valley. The only visible trace of the shed today is a short flight of concrete steps.

      Dorset achieved some notoriety in 1956 when he shot dead his wife’s lover George Grandison as Grandison and Mrs Dorset were leaving the farm together. The shooting took place on the road outside the property. Mr Dorset was charged with murder, but his (relatively) successful defence of the act as a crime of passion saw him convicted of manslaughter instead, and he served one year in prison. Later in his life Mr Dorset attracted the reputation as an eccentric, sitting naked on his porch in full view of passing trains. He died early in 2011, and the house has since been sold.

      The house and farm, though reduced in size, are a notable part of a wider historic rural landscape under pressure from urban sprawl. The house, despite being somewhat dilapidated, contains a significant amount of original internal and external fabric. Other notable features include an outhouse, a fruit orchard and macrocarpa stands, the railway foot bridge, the milk stand, farm paddocks, sheds, fences, gates, and hand-cut tracks, the latter probably dating from the Nott family’s time. No building permits detailing alterations or modifications to the house or any other structures have been located, though modern plasterboard is evident in some rooms.

  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      Along with the Halfway House to the south, the Nott house is a very rare survivor of the early farming community in the Glenside area, and the last to have continued in a farming use almost to the present day. It has great rarity value for that.

      The house is a two-storied gabled cottage with a corrugated iron roof, sharply pitched at 45°, a prominent bull-nosed verandah facing west to the road and railway line, a mix of rusticated timber weatherboard and vertical corrugated iron cladding and two substantial brick chimneys. It is finished on the exterior with timber joinery that appears mostly original, although more modern windows are present in the service areas at the back of the house.

      The plan of enclosed spaces is L-shaped and oriented more or less north-south, with a verandah to the west completing the rectangle and a lean-to to the east. At the south end, a prominent gable with elegantly worked barge boards faces the road and contains one double hung window at each floor level, each in two sashes of two lights; at right angles to this gable, another ridge runs to the north and finishes with a gable end which features a substantial brick chimney in the centre. Two gabled dormer windows are spaced along this ridge facing west, each with a double-hung window. Below this, the bull-nosed verandah runs the length of the house back to the first gable, with a solid screen at the north and is supported on two posts with elaborate fretwork moulding between.

      The front door is set to the right of the verandah and opens to the hall and immediately to the original narrow steep stair to the first floor. On the right is a bedroom in which old wallpapers can still be seen in the back of the wardrobe, to the left a living room which was remodelled in the 1940s and is replete with Moderne trims and fire surround. Beyond the hall, all the services are contained in a lean-to at the back of the building, with the kitchen on the right with a large brick chimney and fireplace and laundry and 1940s bathroom to the left. Up the stair, there are two small bedrooms to the right and another two to the left, all built in to the slope of the roof, and lined with unfinished gib-board.

      Overall, the house has been only lightly modified over the years, the most significant alterations contained in the lean-to (1940s era bathroom, laundry and kitchen), and minor alterations to the living room. There is a substantial amount of original fabric remaining in the house and it retains a very high level of authenticity.

    • Materials close

      Timber, brick chimneys, corrugated iron roof.

    • Setting close

      The Nott house is accessed from the end of Rowells Road, but is best seen from across the Porirua road, where it appears set well above the railway line amongst mature trees. It is one of the few houses visible on the hillside in this area.

      The immediate setting of the house is that part of the hillside facing the railway line. It contains an interesting collection of outbuildings, including various sheds, an ivy-covered privy next to the house, chicken coops, kennels and the like, as well as many mature trees, all of which serve to illustrate the history of the occupation and farming use of the site. An old milk-stand sits by the road across the railway line.

      The wider setting of the house is Old Porirua Road; this northern part of the area has not been greatly changed for decades and retains a high level of authenticity. Views of Nott house from the road remain much as they were when the principal traffic was horse-drawn. It makes an important contribution to this wider setting.

  • close Cultural Value

    Nott House has significant historical value as one of the first buildings constructed in the Wellington area. That it is a rare survivor only adds to this value. The complex of outbuildings and sheds helps interpret the history of the use of the site and adds further significance.

    It has aesthetic value – while relatively plain in design and ornamentation, it is nonetheless elegantly composed and well planned for the site and possesses high architectural interest for its early design.

    The house is valued highly by the Glenside Community, particularly the local Progressive Association and the Tawa Historical Society and has some social value for this.

    • 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?

        It has aesthetic value – while relatively plain in design and ornamentation, it is nonetheless elegantly composed and well planned for the site and possesses high architectural interest for its early design.

      • 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 Nott house has status as a local landmark on its elevated site above the railway line on Middleton Road and has landscape value for that; its immediate setting is little changed from the time the railway line was constructed and has a high level of authenticity.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

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

        Nott House has significant historical value as one of the first buildings constructed in the Wellington area. That it is a rare survivor only adds to this value. The complex of outbuildings and sheds helps interpret the history of the use of the site and adds further significance.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

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

        It also has archaeological value as the house was constructed pre 1900.

      • Technological

        Does the item have technological value for its innovative or important construction methods or use of materials?

        The building is of high technical value as the early use and dissemination of manufactured materials and early construction methods can readily be understood from it.

    • 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?

        As one of Wellington’s earliest homes, Nott House has tremendous continuity value.

      • Sentiment Connection

        Is the item a focus of community sentiment and connection?

        The house is valued highly by the Glenside Community, particularly the local Progressive Association and the Tawa Historical Society and has some social value for this.

    • 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?

        It has been little modified over the years, remaining in relatively original and authentic condition inside and out.

      • Local Regional National International

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

        Nott House is important at a local level.

      • Rare

        Is the item rare, unique, unusual, seminal, influential, or outstanding?

        The Nott House has great rarity value and is one of only a handful of known remaining early houses in the Glenside area.

      • Representative

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

        The house is a good representative example of an early settler dwelling in Wellington both in purpose and form – it has continued in its original farming use almost until the present day.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      26/ 211

    • Legal Description

      Part Sections 29 30 Porirua District Block VII Belmont SD

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      2/Not listed (Listing proposal 2909)

    • Archaeological Site

      Pre-1900 building

    • 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

Last updated: 3/11/2017 1:38:45 a.m.