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Council supports preservation of historic Lyttelton cottage

13 April 2006

An old cottage, at 62 London Street in Lyttelton, has been bought by Christchurch City Council to ensure its considerable heritage value is not lost to the community.

The Council, at a meeting on 30 March, agreed to provide $260,000 to buy the 584sq m Grubb Cottage property and will sell it on to a trust which would be charged with fixing up the building and looking after it. The purchase was settled today (Thursday, 13 April).

The old two-storey home is dilapidated and has not been lived in for about 40 years. The oldest part is thought to have been built in 1851 – just a year after the arrival in Lyttelton of the Canterbury settlement’s first four ships. The wooden home was added to in the 1890s and some other additions and changes have been made in more recent years.

John Grubb, the original owner, was a prominent early settler and involved in building the town’s first jetty, the site of those historic landings in 1850. His son James became Mayor of Lyttelton in 1902 and the family’s presence in the community lasted at least until the 1960s.
Neil Carrie, the City Council’s senior professional with responsibility for heritage and urban design, says there’s a good deal of work needed to restore the building and outbuildings but the effort will be worthwhile. It is listed in the Banks Peninsula District Plan as a protected heritage item and as a Category II Historic Place by the Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga (register number 7370).

“The heritage significance of the house is considerable, in particular because of its original construction on land bought from the first land sales by the Canterbury Association,” Mr Carrie says. “The form of the original dwelling’s still there and there’s a significant amount of `the original timber construction.”

The Council’s aim is for the building and land to be sold on to an organisation which will restore and care for it. That could be the Lyttelton Information Centre Trust or another set up especially to buy, conserve and manage it. It is expected that on-sale will be at the full purchase price.

Bob Parker, the city councillor elected from the peninsula, says this first step in securing the building and land’s future is great news. “It was important to grab an opportunity to keep a unique piece of heritage in community hands,” Mr Parker says. “I’m confident the wider community will now come in behind the fundraising and restoration effort.”
● The City Council’s website includes information about historic Lyttelton buildings

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