Topic: Griffin's Cottage, 65 Ngamotu Road (1903)

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65 Ngamotu Road 2018

2018 View: By Hamish Crimp

This small cottage was constructed in 1903 for James Griffin, and is one of several homes on this section of Ngamotu road constructed around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

This building is located on Part Section 36 of the Spotswood Settlement, surveyed in 1903. In the particulars and terms and conditions for the Spotswood Settlement, page 12,  Section 36 is descibed as a section for 'Workman's Homes'

Section 36 on the Ngamotu Road, is 2 miles 43 chains from New Plymouth by the Ngamotu, Breakwater, and Main South Roads, and 63 chains from the Breakwater. About 1½ acres frontage is fairly flat old grass land, then somewhat broken by intersectiong hollows to the Hongihongi Stream; south of this stream the ground rises somewhat steeply to the back boundary; the whole being in natural and surface-sown English grasses intermixed with fern, &c. The general quality of the soil is good, being a sandy loam onclay formation; well watered. The improvements, which are included in the price of the land, are 6 chains fencing, valued at £1 10s.

James Griffin obtained the lease for Section 36, and in July 1903 it was reported by the Taranaki Land Board that Griffin had "made an application for an advance of £23 on account of building on sec 36, Spotswood Settlement" - this very likely refers to the present cottage on the section, and dates the building to mid-1903. 

In February 1905, Griffin was declared bankrupt, and it was reported that a year's rent, amounting to £15 7s 6d was owing on the property. One of Griffin's unsecured creditors was Boon Bros, who stated they had built Griffin's house for £87 13s 1d. It was reported in June 1906 that Griffin had forfeited the property because of the arrears in rent. However, two months later, in August 1906, it was reported that he was still able to occupy the house on the section as a tenant for 7/6 per week. Griffin was still occupying the section as a tenant in August 1909, when C. A. Skinner applied for permission to take possession of "sections 36 and 44, block 4, Paritutu, Spotswood Settlement, at present occupied by J. Griffin".

Surviving early 1900s workers cottages are fairly rare, with interest in researching the lives of the working class only gaining momentum in recent decades - accordingly, very few workers cottages were afforded protection and many have been demolished. This cottage is located close to both the Port and the Moturoa Oilfield - both important activities in New Plymouth during the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. It is likely this cottage had an association with these activities, and following the demolition of the small workers cottage at 3 Moturoa Street in 2015?(built slightly earlier), 65 Ngamotu Road is thought to be the only small workers cottage remaining in this area of town, and one of the earliest extant buildings associated with the Spotswood Settlement.


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Griffin's Cottage, 65 Ngamotu Road (1903)

City:New Plymouth