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36 Chelwood Street

36-Chelwood -Street

Bulding Details

Address: 36 Chelwood Street, House
Construction date: 1937
Architect/designer: probablyEdmund Anscombe
Architectural style: Spanish Mission
District Plan Category: 2
Building number: 77

Physical and Social History 

 The original plans for this house on the corner of Chelwood and Shamrock Street, are dated 25 September 1937, although the architect is not indicated on them. The plans were drawn up for Mr E Trevor, however, this name should have been Mr GE Trevor. The plans included provision for an electric washer in the laundry.

George Edgar Trevor was a co-owner of the prominent local brick manufacturing and construction firm Trevor Bros Ltd. This firm derived from the contracting firm of a prominent Wellingtonian, James Trevor. Work the firm undertook included a railway tunnel on the Wellington & Manawatu Railway Company. When his sons joined him in the business, it became Messrs Trevor & Sons, and the many large buildings it built there included the (Wellington) Corporation powerhouse.

In 1904, James Trevor's son, George E Trevor, came to Palmerston North on business for the firm - and remained here. At least one other son, Harold, also came to Palmerston North at some point. When James Trevor retired in about 1911 (he died in 1915), his sons took over the business and carried on under the name Trevor Bros. By this time it had branches in both Wellington and Palmerston North. The company's brickworks and clay pit were on the eastern side of present-day Vautier Park, in a portion of the pit/park that has more recently served as a BMX bicycle track.

The company built some very significant buildings around Palmerston North, with surviving ones including the former Central Post Office (1905), the Grand Hotel (1906), the Palmerston North Electric Power Station (1923) and St Patrick's Cathedral (1925). They also built Feilding's St Brigid's Catholic Church (1925). Others now demolished included the Clarendon Hotel, the main BNZ (1914), the Convent of Mercy in Fitchett Street (1925-1984), the Opera House (1904), the new main portion of the Public Hospital as described in 1940, and Palmerston North Girl's High School (actual building status uncertain). Others whose current status is unknown were the New Plymouth and Wanganui Hospitals.[1]

In 1929, Trevor Bros, Mounseys' brickworks (formerly Prentices' brickworks, on the site of the netball courts within the Vautier Park pit) and Brick & Pipes Ltd, merged into one company under the name Brick & Pipes Ltd, and operated from that company's Featherston Street site. This is the site of the historic Hoffmann kiln and the associated Featherston Street Pit.

George Trevor was subsequently managing director of building firm Messrs Bodell & Co Ltd, until his death in Palmerston North in 1940.[2] The Trevor Bros. pit was bought at some point by the Ministry of Works, and in the 1940s it supplied metal for street construction in the surrounding Roslyn state housing area.[3]

CT WN447/281 was issued to Martha Ellen Bodell and Maud Sarah Trevor, both married women of Palmerston North as tenants in common in equal shares. The property then consisted of 1 rood, 24.02 perches. In 1938, in what on paper seems a complex arrangement, Martha Bodell transferred part of her share to Maud Trevor, and then Maud and Martha together passed a portion of the remainder to William Benjamin Bodell. He was described as a building contractor, however, he was also a business associate of George Trevor, and presumably was the husband of Martha Bodell. The balance remaining went to George William Travers.

Maud Trevor's share became CT WN462/271 dated 1938. It comprised about half the previous property and mostly fronted Shamrock Street. A mortgage that perhaps paid for the house was dated the same year.

George Trevor, still of this address, died in mid-April 1940 aged 64. He was buried at Terrace End Cemetery on 16 April 1940.

Originally the upstairs portion of this house consisted of two bedrooms and a dressing room. The downstairs area was larger than the upstairs area and perhaps allowance had been made for the upstairs portion to be enlarged at some future time. Accordingly, the Building Permit records indicate that in 1944, Mrs E (Maud) Trevor added an additional bedroom upstairs.

She owned the property until 1957, and died on 19 July 1982, aged 87. Her address then was 25 Collingwood Street. Her ashes were buried in the same plot at Terrace End Cemetery as George.

In 1957, the house was transferred to John Ferguson Levestaun, a company manager of Palmerston North. In 1959 his wife, Lesley Diane Levestaun was added to the CT.

Subsequent owners
1963 - Hugh Sydney Trotter, traveller, & Joan Hamilton Trotter, of PN
1977 - Joan Hamilton Trotter as survivor
1980 - Denzil Xavier Chin-Fatt, veterinarian, & his wife Carool Poh Cheng Chin-Fatt
1987 - Stephen Irvine, retailer, & his wife Gaynor Leigh Irvine
1992 - CT shows section's division into two lots, this house being on Lot 1

The Building Permit records include a plan of the house dated 1968. This was done for owner HS Trotter, who wished to build a carport. The plans show a studio on the site of the garage that appears on the original plan. There does not appear to be any other garage on the property in 1968. The carport's architect was Callander & Brogden of Palmerston North.

Hugh Sydney Trotter, of this address, is recorded in the Kelvin Grove cemetery records as having died on 1 July 1977, aged 68. He was described as a grain store manager.

In 1988-9, the Irvines removed a wall between the dining room and passage and did other internal alterations to the house. In 1991, the property was subdivided, with the back of the section being separated off. This new section fronted Shamrock Street.

Architecural Design 

 This two storied house has an 'L' shaped plan with living, dining, kitchen and laundry on the ground floor and two bedrooms, dressing room and bathroom on the first floor.  The angled entry is located in the re-entrant corner leading to a hall and the stair. 

The house is of timber framing with cement render on the exterior.  Tiles are fitted to the parapet and angled entry roof, with the timber truss roof hidden behind the parapet clad with corrugated steel.  The kitchen roof, also hidden behind a parapet is or corrugated steel.

The general form of the house is of two two-storied rectangular blocks with single storey extension to the rear and facetted entrance.  The style of the house is Spanish Mission, a form of Art Deco, made popular by architects such as Edmund Anscombe.  The chief characteristics of the style, as seen in this house are the rectangular forms, the Spanish tiles, the half Dutch gable transition between ground and first floor, external render, cast iron grilles and the arcaded back entry porch.  The semi-circular openings to the front entry porch and the stair window are also typical of this style.  The triple casement windows with toplights is used on many houses of this age, especially Moderne and Art Deco.  The window boxes are an original detail.

The house sits on a corner with the plan of the house a mirror image of the shape of the corner.  The scale and form of the house reinforce the corner location and provide an appropriate containment.  It is taller than many adjacent houses and, with an unusual style, the house is a local landmark.

The possibility of Edmund Anscombe designing the building comes about from the style of the house and lettering style of the drawing, matches other drawings by Anscombe.  Anscombe had a practice in Wellington at the time of the design of the house, 1937 and designed 278-280 Jackson Street, Petone in 1935 in the same style.  Anscombe had a Palmerston North connection in development of a concrete block system that was used in R and WH Symington and Company's factory in the city - see 1-5 Roy Street.

Statement of Significance

 The house has regional and local significance for its historical and design values, its regional rarity of building style and high level of authenticity.

The house is a rare Palmerston North example of the Spanish Mission design style, made popular and possibly designed by Edmund Anscombe.  If it can be proven that Anscombe designed the house, this would enhance its rarity, historical and design values.  The scale, form and style of the house make it a local landmark contrasting with adjacent smaller scaled and differently styled houses.

The house and external details are largely authentic.

The house has historical value in its association with the original owner for whom the house was designed, Mr E Trevor. This is enhanced by its link to the family firm Trevor Bros Ltd, which built a number of other well-recognised historic buildings and sites around the city. The Trevors and Bodells were well-known families in the local construction industry in their day, although the Bodells have not been researched to establish their actual links.

Additional References
PNCC Archives 109/36.
Certificates of Title: WN499/222 (1944), prior WN498/264 (1943)

[1]Evening Standard 19 April 1940 8(6) 'Obituary: Mr George Edgar Trevor.' Evening Post 13 May 1915 8(5) 'Obituary: Mr James Trevor'. Also Jo Kellaway & Mike Maryan, A Century of Care: Palmerston North Hospital 1893-1993 (Focus Books, Australia, 1993): p47; BGR Saunders, Manawatu's Old Buildings (Massey University, Palmerston North, 1987): pp74, 83, 109, 129, 147; RH Billens & HL Verry, From Swamp to City: commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of the city 1877-1977 (Palmerston North, 1937): p45.

[2]Evening Standard 19 April 1940 8(6) 'Obituary: Mr George Edgar Trevor;' 20 April 1940 8(6) Late Mr GE Trevor.

[3] Dorothy Pilkington, Heritage Trails: Palmerston North City Heritage Trail (PN Heritage Trails Working Party, 1993): pp59-60.