Topic: Bickers' Cottage, 416 St Aubyn Street (circa 1902/1917)

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416 St Aubyn Street 2018

2018 View: By Hamish Crimp

This cottage was constructed during 1902 for William Bond Bickers - it was partially rebuilt following a fire in 1917.

The sale of section 46 of Ahuroa [sic] Estate to Mr Bickers was reported in the Taranaki Herald of 11 March 1902. It seems the present house was constructed soon after, with Bickers first appearing as residing in South Road (now St Aubyn St), in the 1903 edition of Stone's Street Directory.

Whilst Bickers relocated to Masterton in 1905 to work for the Wairarapa Age, he retained ownership of his South Road cottage, and it was presumably rented from this time. Bickers returned to New Plymouth in 1907, and in May of that year, this house, described as a "nice 5-roomed cottage with washhouse" was advertised for let by Bickers.

Bickers return to New Plymouth was shortlived, and he appears to have relocated to Marton later in 1907 following a sale of his furniture and effects in September-October - he again retained ownership of the cottage and it was rented-out for a number of years.

The St Aubyn Town District Valuation Roll for 1908-1914 notes that Bickers was the owner of lot 46 of the Town of Ahoroa, and that when valued on 31 March 1908, the property had a capital value of £365 and a house (almost certainly the current dwelling) was present.

In the early hours of the morning of the 10th of May 1917 disaster struck, with the cottage severely damaged by fire. The Herald reported that the occupant of the cottage, Mr J. G. Tunnicliffe, a shunter with the Railway Department, had earlier discovered a fire in the chimney breast, and after considerable trouble believed he had extinguished it. However, it appears to have smouldered, and about 4am a passing motorcyclist noticed flames, alerted the occupants, and called the fire brigade from nearby Morshead's Nursery.

Whilst the Herald reported that the cottage was "completely gutted, and the furniture a total loss", it seems much of the structure was saved, with Bickers later expressing his "sincere thanks to the Members of the Fire Brigade for putting out the fire at my house on South Road, thereby saving me considerable loss". 

See: Taranaki Herald, 11 March 1902, page 2; Taranaki Herald, 28 May 1907, page 1; Taranaki Herald, 10 May 1917, page 2; Taranaki Herald, 16 May 1917, page 7 

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Bickers' Cottage, 416 St Aubyn Street (circa 1902/1917)

City:New Plymouth
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License
Bickers' Cottage, 416 St Aubyn Street (circa 1902/1917) by Hamish Crimp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License