Colonial Architect's Office (Chief Draughtsman) - Pierre Finch Martineau Burrows

1842 - 1920

The office of the Colonial Architect formed part of the Public Works Department from the late 1860s to mid-1880s. William Clayton was the first and only official Colonial Architect from 1869 – 1877, but his work was continued by his Chief Draughtsman, Pierre Burrows from 1877 – 1884.

Burrows was born in Norwich, England, of Huguenot descent, and he came to New Zealand in 1865. He joined the Public Works Department in 1874, working under W.H. Clayton in the Colonial Architect’s Office and becoming Chief Draughtsman in 1875. When Clayton died in 1877, Burrows took over his duties until his services were dispensed with in 1884, but he did not receive the designation of Colonial Architect.

Burrow’s most important public buildings include the Post Office at Christchurch (1877), the Supreme Court House in Wellington (1879), and the Mount Eden Prison (begun 1883). He also designed Wellington’s Mt Cook Prison, a huge building on a radial plan that was only partly built before being demolished for the Dominion Museum. One of his most important achievements was the construction of the Supreme Court in masonry, this being the first major Government building in Wellington to depart from the tradition of timber in the earthquake-prone capital. He was responsible for a number of smaller post offices and courthouses throughout the country. His brother, Arthur Washington Burrows, was also an architect, practising in Auckland and Tauranga.


Anderson, Grahame.  "Pierre Finch Martineau Burrows, 1842-1920," unpublished paper, 1982
WCC Heritage Inventory 2001.


Last updated: 8/27/2015 12:34:53 AM