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

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John Elliot's House 2018

2018 View: By Hamish Crimp

This house was constructed during 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 from early 1871 was occupied by at least one of his sons, John Elliot.

John Elliot advertised for tenders for the construction of a six-roomed house at Waitara during February 1871 and seems to be complete by August 1871 when 'John Elliot's House' was the meeting place for ratepayers to form the Waitara East (or 23rd) Road District. John Elliot had earlier resided in the present cottage at 99 Inland North Road, Tikorangi, which he sold in June 1872. Interestingly, it wasn't until mid-1875 when Peter Elliot formally gifted the sections to his son. 

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.

See Taranaki Land Deeds Index I11, page 1

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