House

Hulcote House; 217 Willis Street (pre:c.1910 street renumbering); Whareoru hospital; Nurse Lucas’ hospital; Gilby’s Business College

290 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    c.1878 - 1914

  • Architect(s)

    Unknown

  • Builder(s)

  • 290 Willis Street is a handsome two-storey Victorian villa that dates from c.1878, with an ‘operating theatre’ addition that dates from 1914. The building is notable for its elegant and symmetrical Willis Street façade and for the unusual agglomeration of additions to the sides and rear of the property that are indicative of its changing use and fortunes over the past 130 years. 

    The building has had a range of uses that are representative of the history of Willis Street. It was occupied as a boarding house, a grand family residence and as a private hospital. It was later purchased as part of the enabling works to create the Wellington motorway on-ramp. 

    The building and the two adjoining elm trees have townscape value for their location on a prominent corner at the entrance to the motorway on-ramp.  

  • close History
    • This grand two-storey house was built in c.1878-79 and leased to various tenants over the past 130 years; the most notable of which were a boarding house; to the households of several prominent Wellingtonians; and as a private hospital. It was owned in the 70 years from 1880 - 1950 by Joseph and Annie Nancarrow and their estate, but there is no suggestion that the family ever occupied the house. 

      The first record of the building is an 1879 Evening Post advert for rooms to let at Hulcote House on the corner of Abel Smith and Willis Streets, and the first photograph, taken in 1885, shows that all of the houses between Palmer and Abel Smith streets had been completed by this date.  Hulcote house was occupied by Mr & Mrs Jobson from at least 1882 – 1887, where Mr Jobson was a salesman and Mrs Jobson let out rooms to ‘single gentlemen.’

      290 Willis Street later became the private residence of several prominent Wellingtonians including Captain Henry Rose - the local manager of the New Zealand Shipping Company, Richard Mestayer – the drainage engineer who planned and executed the main drainage scheme for Wellington, and W T Glasgow – the Secretary of the Customs Department. It remained in use as a private residence from at least 1892 – 1904.  

      Upper Willis Street was Wellington’s equivalent of London’s Harley Street and many nurses, doctors, dentists, chemists and surgeons lived and worked in the large houses that once lined this road. Nurse Lucas and Nurse Broadbent converted 290 Willis Street into a private hospital in c.1906,  and Nurse Lucas ran the hospital from at least 1909 – 1920 when Nurse Broadbent resigned.Evelyn Maud Lucas (1875 – 1955) was the daughter of Canon Lucas of Nelson, she served as a nurse for 15 months in WWI and later married Frank Osmond in 1920. Amy Grace Broadbent (1878 – 1958) resigned from the hospital in 1909, served as a nursing sister in WWI and married Lieutenant Henry Marshall in 1915. The hospital, named Whareoru, was the scene of a fire in 1913 that damaged part of the second floor. Nurse Lucas also carried out the first major alteration to the building – the addition of a first floor operating theatre in 1914. 

      Transit (now the NZTA) purchased the property as part of the construction of the Wellington motorway on-ramp / Karo Drive inner city bypass in 1981. The building was re-piled in 1985 by the Ministry of Works, but was not refurbished or relocated (unlike many of its near-neighbours on Willis, Cuba, and Kensington streets and Tonks Grove). The ground floor windows are currently hoarded and the building appears to be unoccupied (2013).



    • Modifications close
      • 1914
      • (00053:178:9836); Abel Smith Street and Willis Street [290 Willis Street], addition of operating theatre to private hospital
      • 1952
      • (00056:443:B33729); 290 Willis Street, fire escape and partitions
      • 1985
      • (00059:0:D861); 290 Willis Street, re-pile (by the Ministry of Works)
      • 2001
      • (00078:698:78292); 290 Willis Street, removal of part of building built over boundary and construction of new wall inside boundary
    • Occupation History close
      • 1879
      • Newspaper adverts for rooms for let in Hulcote house from 1879.
      • 1883
      • T B Jobson- salesman
      • 1885
      • T B Jobson (note Mrs Jobson advertised rooms for let at Hulcote House from 1882 - 1887)
      • 1887
      • T B Jobson
      • 1892
      • Captain Henry Rose (the local manager of the New Zealand Shipping Company)
      • 1894
      • Richard L Mestayer M.I.C.E (A drainage engineer who planned and executed the main drainage scheme in Wellington)
      • 1896
      • Richard L Mestayer
      • 1898
      • W T Glasgow – secretary of the Customs Department
      • 1900
      • W H Kinvig (of H Broderick & Kinvig)
      • 1903
      • W H Kinvig
      • 1904
      • H Clarridge
      • 1909
      • Broadbent and Lucas, nurses, private hospital
      • 1910
      • Miss Evelyn Maude Lucas, certified nurse
  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      290 Willis Street is a two storey Victorian villa built on the corner of Willis and Abel Smith streets. The northern elevation shows clearly that the building was constructed in two halves – the original villa and the surgery addition of 1914. The western end of the building is notable for the unusual projecting first floor addition, as well as for the lean-tos, small sheds and utility rooms built in the space underneath the addition. The addition was built in a similar style to the original building, but alterations over the years have changed the windows and general character. The eastern elevation is a simple symmetrical double-bay arrangement, featuring a pair of elegant bay windows, each with a single double-hung window above. There is an inelegant timber fire escape in the centre of the elevation. 



    • Materials close

      Timber framing

      Timber rusticated weatherboard cladding

      Timber sash windows

      Corrugated mild steel roof


    • Setting close

      290 Willis Street is set on a corner site near the busy intersection of Willis Street and the motorway on-ramp. It is one of a complete row of four Victorian houses built in the late 1870s – early 1880s and located on Willis Street between Palmer and Abel Smith streets. It is also notable for the pair of fine mature elm trees in its north (side) garden  

      Upper Willis Street was once Wellington’s equivalent of London’s Harley Street and the doctor’s houses, consulting rooms and hospitals originally constructed in the area include:
      Dr Henry Pollen’s house and surgery at 12 Boulcott Street
      Sir Donald McGavin’s house and surgery at 200 Willis Street 
      The former Children’s Dental Clinic at 254 Willis Street

      An obstetric hospital at 278 Willis Street  / Dr Levy’s maternity home  (the building was relocated to 130A Abel Smith Street and the site at 278 Willis Street is now occupied by a relocated commercial building WCC ref 16/355/2]PC63).

  • close Cultural Value
    290 Willis Street is a handsome two-storey Victorian villa that dates from c.1878, with an ‘operating theatre’ addition that dates from 1914. The building is notable for its elegant and symmetrical Willis Street façade and for the unusual agglomeration of additions to the sides and rear of the property that are indicative of its changing use and fortunes over the past 130 years. 

    The building has had a range of uses that are representative of the history of Willis Street. It was occupied as a boarding house, a grand family residence and as a private hospital. It was later purchased as part of the enabling works to create the Wellington motorway on-ramp. 

    The building and the two adjoining elm trees have townscape value for their location on a prominent corner at the entrance to the motorway on-ramp.  

    • 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?

        290 Willis Street is a handsome two-storey Victorian villa that dates from c.1878, with an ‘operating theatre’ addition that dates from 1914. The building is notable for its elegant and symmetrical Willis Street façade and for the unusual agglomeration of additions to the sides and rear of the property that are indicative of its changing use and fortunes over the past 130 years. 

      • 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?

        Upper Willis Street was once known as a medical precinct and a large number of doctors’ house / surgeries were located in the area, and the building has group value for its use as a hospital in the early 20th century.

      • Townscape

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

        The building and the two adjoining elm trees have townscape value for their location on a prominent corner at the entrance to the motorway on-ramp. 

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important historic event, theme, pattern, phase, or activity?

        The building has had a range of uses that are representative of the history of Willis Street. It was occupied as a boarding house, a grand family residence and as a private hospital, and was later purchased as part of the enabling works to create the Wellington motorway on-ramp.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

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

        Pre 1900 building & Central City NZAA R27/270

    • 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 building has had few intrusive modern alterations or additions in the past 130 years and contributes to the sense of place and continuity of Willis Street.

    • 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 building has had relatively few recent alterations or additions and retains much of its early or original built fabric 

      • Representative

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

        The building is a good representative example of a large Victorian villa.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      16/255.3

    • Legal Description

      LOT 3 PT LOTS 2 5 DP 3 (Note 2013 Encumbrance to the WCC)

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      None 2013

    • Archaeological Site

      Pre-1900 building & Central City NZAA R27/270

    • 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: 11/27/2017 3:13:56 AM