Address: 306 Church Street, House
Construction date: 1930
Architect: AR Allen
Architectural style: Queen Anne
District Plan Category: 1
Building number: 50
Heritage NZ Category: 1
Building number: 5104
Arthur Robert Allan (1887-1963) was born in Napier and initially practised there. Allan helped rebuild Danneirke after a disastrous fire in the town. The new CM Ross and Co building was Allan's first commission, in conjunction with HR Hickson, after arriving in Palmerston North in the mid-1920s. He designed many other commercial buildings as well as houses, schools and churches. Allan was a freemason and a member of the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church.
This house was built for Henry Beecham Free, the general manager and a shareholder in, the local firm CM Ross and Co. Free was a borough councillor from 1931 to 1935. The house was designed by Palmerston North architect AR Allen and cost £2000 to build. It was owned for many years by John Young an optometrist. It was bought by Athol Preece in 1951 and in 1969 the Lutheran Church converted it for use as a manse. Until recently it housed the Da Mario restaurant and is now an architectural firms offices and a first floor flat.
The architectural style is that described as Queen Anne and loosely termed English Domestic Revival but much simplified. This style was made popular by Norman Shaw. The interior is consistent with the style at period of construction with decorated plaster ceilings and cornices, and timber skirtings, architraves and stair balustrading.
Summary of values
A good example of a New Zealand simplified version of the Queen Anne revival style, and an example of local architects' domestic design.
The association with CM Ross and Co, and the architect AR Allen.
A good representative example of the architectural style; an authentic exterior and interior.
Good functional, economic, and didactic uses.
Statement of Significance
This house's significance is derived mainly from its association with one of the city's more important businessmen. As general manager of the city's largest retailers, CM Ross Co, Henry Free was a prominent member of the community. This large residence, located, even then, very close to the city centre, was a conspicuous reflection of Free's relative prosperity and that of the firm he headed. This dwelling. now converted to a commercial use, illustrates the lingering intimacy of Palmerston North's inner-city areas which still afford room for low-rise houses amongst the taller office buildings. The building is a good authentic example of Queen Anne
Building Permit Plans, PNCC (Microfilm file), 115/312
Building Permit Register, PNCC, Archives Series 4/13/1, granted 5/11/29
Biographies Index, ATL
City Planning Dept. PNCC 1987, "Historic Palmerston North 1987" (Calendar), PNCC, PNCC Archives
PNCC "Notice and Order Paper for Special Council Meeting 12/10/1989", List of Mayors and Councillors from 1877 to 1989