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Our Environment: Issue 18 Autumn 1999

Our Environment: Christchurch City Council's Environmental Newsletter


Glenmore House was notified for demolition in 1996. Public protest and a willing developer led to the dwelling's retention within a new subdivision. However it has been the foresight, determination and dedication of current owner Lolly Fairweather which has ensured that this interesting example of our colonial heritage will pass safely through to the next millennium.

A large two storey residence with wide verandahs on two façades, elegant French doors and a low sweeping roof line, Glenmore has now been restored and transformed internally to reflect features of its colonial past.

The restoration revealed that most of the flooring and door frames are solid kauri. As a result kauri, recycled from the former Cave Rock Hotel in Sumner and Ashburton Freezing Works, was carefully selected for use in the new wing. This has created a common denominator which has allowed the new wing to comfortably integrate with earlier parts of the house.

The new wing abuts the original first floor through the addition of another stairway to the original stairway. This has created a degree of grandeur to the original staircase, which still continues to rises in a single sweep from the ground floor but now turns at right angles on the first landing to create two staircases.

Other interior features include a drawing room with an elegant, white marble fire surround, spacious living and dining rooms with high studs and detailed ceilings and a fully restored 'colonial kitchen'.

The property was originally purchased in 1851 by the Canterbury Association's legal adviser Henry Selfe,1 who built a single storey residence on the site. It was not until after 1865, when the property was purchased by J B Acland, that the two storey dwelling which comprises Glenmore was built.2 J A Hendry notes that this dwelling "...either replaced part of an existing house, or was an addition to one, for the attics of the single storey structure [were] lined with newspapers dating 1857." 3

In 1863 Selfe sold the property to Major Henry Scott of the 12th Lancers. It was he who named the property Glenmore. Scott, who is remembered as the founder of the Canterbury Volunteers, sold Glenmore to J B Acland in 1865. Though Acland, whose interests lay in South Canterbury, built the substantial dwelling that set the current, albeit eclectic, architectural form of Glenmore, it is probable that he only used the property as his town residence.

By the turn of the century the dwelling was in use as the manager's residence for the Glenmore Brick and Tile Company and remained so until 1942. The brickworks were then taken over by Aldersons of Dunedin, later a subsidiary of McSkimming Industries. The house was sold to R T Thompson and remained, until 1996, within this family.

The large, eight-bedroomed house now functions as a homestay. Aided by this new use, the Fairweathers' careful restoration and sympathetic redevelopment of the 2584m2 site it now occupies, has ensured that Glenmore will continue to remain a significant Port Hills landmark.

Jenny May

1 G Ogilvie, The Port Hills of Christchurch, p.113.
2 Oglvie states that the first house was built for Selfe by John Cordy for £100. (Ogilvie, op.cit., p.113.)
3 A J Mair and J A Hendry The Homes of the Pioneers, 1968, no18.

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