Topic: Freeth Residence, 53 Vivian Street (1901)

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53 Vivian Street 2017

2017 View: By Hamish Crimp

This attractive double-bay villa was constructed for Mary and Joseph Freeth in 1901, and has been occupied by commercial premises for a number of decades.

Town Section 730 was originally the site of a mid-nineteenth century board and batten clad house, located near the site of the present villa, and demolished sometime after 1896.

Owner John Ellis sold Town Section 730 to Lydia Elizabeth Shaw in 1900, who soon sold the section to Mrs Mary Ellen Freeth (wife of Joseph John Freeth), the following year. The Freeth's had earlier purchased neighbouring Town Section 731, and had three villas constructed thereon - two of these survive at 47 and 49 Vivian Street, with the third once located at 45 Vivian Street long since demolished.

The present villa is thought to have been constructed soon after Mrs Freeth's purchase of the section. The 1901-02 New Plymouth Borough Council rating book notes the value of Town Section 730 as £10, with no house mentioned as being present (although the transfer to Mrs Freeth is noted). However, by the following 1902-03 rating year, with Mrs Freeth as the owner, Town Section 730 is noted as with house, and is now valued at £30.

By the following 1903-04 rating year, two houses are noted as being present on Section 730, with the rateable value increasing to £66. The second villa was located on the present site of 51 Vivian Street, and was demolished sometime prior to the construction of the present bungalow in 19??.

The house was connected with the telephone exchange, number 276, in April 1903.

The Freeth's had previously resided for a short period in the villa at present 18 Morley Street, relocating to this house upon its completion. Joseph died in 1905, and Mary continued to live in the house for some years after; she is last listed as living in this location in the 1924 edition of Wises Street Directory.

See: Taranaki Land Deeds Index I3, page 388 (for pre-1896 ownership history); DP921; DP1849; Taranaki Daily News, 1 May 1903, page 2

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