Topic: John Elliot's House, 35 Princess Street (1871)

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John Elliot's House 2018

2018 View: By Hamish Crimp

This house was constructed in early 1871 for prominent Waitara resident John Elliot and his family, and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Waitara. 

Sections 16, 17, 22, 23, 27 & 28 of Waitara East District were originally granted to early settler Peter Elliot in the 1860s. As Peter Elliot principally resided in New Plymouth, and farmed at Hurdon, Upper Westown, he doesn't appear to have ever occupied the land, and gifted the sections to his son, John Elliot, in mid-1875. Whilst the land was gifted to John in 1875, he seems to have occupied the land since at least early 1871, when he called for tenders for building a six-roomed house at Waitara - the present house on the site. 

Tenders for John Elliot's House, TH 11 February 1871, page 1

Taranaki Herald, 11 February 1871

In August of 1876, John Elliot accused a man named Edward Blake of assaulting him at the house. Mr Blake turned up to the property, refused to leave, and tried multiple times to forcefully enter the house through the front door. A fight ensued, in which Mr Blake was thrown off the veranda, and evntually arrested. Blake pleaded guilty to the unprovoked incident, and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment with hard labour.

In August and September 1878, the house was listed for sale by Land Agent William Courtney, and was described as a "commodius gentleman's residence". The house was purchased by C. Y. Fell later in September, and who retained ownership until 1892, when the property was purchased by James Lindsay. In 1905 Lindsay had the still extensive farm surveyed and subdivided into smaller lots.

The exterior of the house seems to retain a high degree of integrity, although the western gable may be a later addition (pre-1905). Cladding is a mixture of plain and rusticated weatherboards, windows are primarily four-light double-hung sashes, and the front door appears to be a circa 1950s replacement.

As a pre-1900 building, any alterations to the original house, or earthworks on the property, may require archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand. 

See Taranaki Land Deeds Index I11, page 1

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John Elliot's House, 35 Princess Street (1871)