His­toric rat­ing given

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A Pon­sonby land­mark is fi­nally be­ing recog­nised 120 years af­ter its foun­da­tions were first laid.

Bishop’s House in New St has been reg­is­tered as a cat­e­gory 1 her­itage build­ing with the His­toric Places Trust which iden­ti­fied it as a place of out­stand­ing sig­nif­i­cance.

It has served as the of­fi­cial res­i­dence for Auck­land’s Catholic Bish­ops since 1894 while also act­ing as the head­quar­ters for the Catholic pub­li­ca­tions The Month and Zealan­dia.

Bishop Jean-Bap­tiste Pom­pal­lier first es­tab­lished a res­i­dence on the site with a mod­est wooden house which was re­lo­cated to St Mary’s Rd when Bishop’s House was erected.

The wooden struc­ture was reg­is­tered as a cat­e­gory 1 his­toric place last year.

His­toric Places Trust regis­tra­tion her­itage ad­viser Martin Jones says be­sides its com­mand­ing pres­ence, the brick Bishop’s House has ar­chi­tec­tural claim to fame.

‘‘Its de­sign was heav­ily in­flu­enced by Au­gus­tus Pu­gin – one of the ‘god­fa­thers’ of the Gothic Re­vival style of ar­chi­tec­ture that swept Bri­tain and many other parts of the world in the 19th cen­tury.’’

The build­ing was de­signed by the renowned ar­chi­tect’s son Peter Paul Pu­gin who drew in­spi­ra­tion from The Grange in Rams­gate which was cre­ated by his fa­ther as his own home.

Bishop Luck com­mis­sioned the large brick res­i­dence with funds raised dur­ing a tour of Europe in 1891 and 1892. It is thought the bishop was keen to cap­ture some of the Gothic ar­chi­tec­tural style and pres­ence of The Grange in the new res­i­dence.

State-of-the-art pedestal toi­lets and elec­tri­cally lit gas light­ing meant the house was at the cut­ting edge of de­sign for the pe­riod.

The light­ing hard­ware was bought by Bishop Luck him­self as he passed through the United States and was be­lieved to be the only ex­am­ple of its kind in Aus­trala­sia at the time.

It was also the first to in­cor­po­rate the ex­per­i­men­tal use of Mata­mata stone in New Zealand.

But it is the build­ing’s or­na­men­tal in­te­rior and ex­te­rior fea­tures which still stand out to­day.

‘‘Per­haps one of the most strik­ing fea­tures of the Bishop’s House is the high, crenu­lated tower which pro­vides a stun­ning view of the Mt St Mary and Free­mans Bay ar­eas as well as the Waitem­ata har­bour,’’ Mr Jones says.

The house is now linked by two glazed walk­ways to the Pom­pal­lier Dioce­san Cen­tre, the ad­min­is­tra­tive head­quar­ters of the Auck­land Catholic Dio­cese.

Photo: MARTIN JONES

Out­stand­ing sig­nif­i­cance: Bishop’s House in Pon­sonby has been reg­is­tered as a cat­e­gory 1 her­itage build­ing.

I spy: The Vic­to­rian naval tele­scope which, ac­cord­ing to con­tem­po­rary ac­counts, Bishop Luck used from his high van­tage point, is still part of the house’s chat­tels.

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