Topic: 'St Kilda' Charles Burgess Residence, 7 Ridge Lane (1897)

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This large home was designed by Frank Messenger in 1897 for Charles Hayward Burgess, a partner in the well known New Plymouth wholesale firm Burgess Fraser and Co Ltd.

7 Ridge Lane 2017

2017 View: By Hamish Crimp

Constructed in 1897 for Charles Burgess, this two-storied Frank Messenger designed villa is one of New Plymouth's most admired homes, located on one of the city's most prestigious streets. Plans for the original house and various alterations are held by Puke Ariki.

Charles was a partner in the prominent local firm Burgess Fraser & Co, and mayor of New Plymouth from 1915-1919. Both Charles and his wife Ann were heavily involved in patriotic work - for which they both recieved an MBE. 

During the First World War, Mrs Burgess formed the Women's Patriotic Committee, held fundraisers for food parcels for soldiers leaving for war, and made her home available for returned soldiers' various functions.

She is credited with organising the first Anzac Day gathering of returned soldiers and relief workers in 1918, which she continued to do until ill health forced her to hand it to the RSA in 1947.

Mrs Burgess organised the afternoon teas held after each Anzac Day reunion, but when these became too large to be accommodated in the Burgesses' home in Mangorei (then named Hapurunui, now known as Burgess Park), they were held in the Army Drill Hall in the town.

About 1000 people would attend these teas, after the small beginnings of just a few and, after the death of Mrs Burgess, they continued as a memorial to the woman lovingly known as "Mother" to so many returned servicemen.

The RSA acknowledged her efforts with a Gold Star award, their highest honour, and life membership.

As members of the War Graves Committee, the couple helped set up the Soldiers' Plot in Te Henui Cemetery, and donated the Cross of Sacrifice (also located at Te Henui Cemetery) in 1927.

The Burgess' lived in the house until 1919, when they shifted to "Hapurunui" or Burgess House, at Burgess Park.

The home's exterior is in largely original condition, being clad in plain weatherboards with several verandahs. 

The residence has a Heritage New Zealand Catergory II listing. 

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'St Kilda' Charles Burgess Residence, 7 Ridge Lane (1897)

City:New Plymouth