Linton House, 2 Bassett Road, Remuera

1. Two storeyed wooden house, on corner of Remuera and Bassett Roads, Remuera (Photo by James Richardson SGGSC 4-RIC86)

2. Designed by Edward Mahoney and Son, Thomas Architects RESIDENCE AT REMUERA, cnr Bassett and Remuera Roads (Auckland Star, 1 Dec 1898 Supplement)

3. Ballroom 2 Bassett Rd, Illustration (Auckland Star, 1898, 1201.2.58)

4. Partington's windmill, 1890s. (J D Richardson, Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 4-150)

5. Mr J Hardie’s residence, Remuera, 1909 (NZ Graphic_1909 02 10 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections)

6. Henry and Priscilla White and daughter 1850s. Daguerreotype. (Auckland Libraries Heritage Collection 1103_22)

7. Mr J Hardie Ex President of Auckland Bowling Club. (AWNS_19001019)

8. Flying Office Ken Rice. (Auckland Star 1945 05 17)

9. Hardie Bros Xmas advertisement (AS19050112.2.51.2-a1-400w-c32)

10. 2 Bassett Rd at Ridge Rd Mahurangi (Premium Real Estate 2017-1)

11. 2 Bassett Rd at Ridge Rd Mahurangi (Premium Real Estate 2017-13)

12. 2 Bassett Rd at Ridge Rd Mahurangi (Premium Real Estate 2017-18)

Linton House which stood on the corner of Remuera and Bassett Roads was a grand house designed by renowned architect Edward Mahoney (c.1825-1895) in the early 1860s. [1]


Mahoney was engaged in architecture in Auckland by 1861, when he designed the Church of St John the Baptist, Parnell, using a pared-back Gothic style and St Mary’s Convent Chapel, Ponsonby (1866). He designed many churches and in 1880 had drawn up plans to extend the stone building which was the original St Patrick’s Cathedral, Auckland. [2]

The 597 square metre (6,426 square feet) house at 2 Bassett Road was bought in 1865 for £410 by Henry White, a stone mason, brick layer and building contractor who was prominent in Auckland’s early business and civic scene. The land was part of over four acres first owned by Robert Kelly under a Crown Grant signed by Governor George Grey in 1848, for which Kelly paid £52-2-0. [3]

Henry, aged 29, and wife Priscilla, aged 31, with their two children, also called Henry and Priscilla, had come from Madron, Penzance, Cornwall, on the barque Westminster from Plymouth in December 1842, arriving in Auckland In March 1843. [4]

Henry set up in business as a stonemason and became one of Auckland’s most successful early builders, securing substantial Government contracts. He built the old post office in Shortland St, the original mental hospital at Whau, Avondale, the High Street Wesleyan Chapel, the Pitt Street Methodist Church, Thornton, Smith and Firth’s old flour mill in Lower Queen Street on the site occupied by Smeetons Ltd, the old Prince Albert College in Upper Queen Street, the Customhouse on Customs Street and the Southern Cross Printing Office. [5]

Partington’s Mill
Charles Partington in May 1850, for £200, purchased two sections on Symonds Street near the intersection with Karangahape Road. On this site he had Henry White build a six-storey high windmill, made of bricks using clay dug from the site at a cost of £2000. The walls were 685mm thick, constructed using special wedge-shaped bricks. The mill was used for the grinding of wheat to make flour and then biscuits. The windmill was demolished in 1950. [6]

Unfortunately Henry White drowned in 1868 off Queen’s Wharf, late on a Saturday night, when he was only 54. His younger son Charles Edmund White, aged 14, had been to Thames and was expected back on one of the weekend steamers. Henry had just completed a job, so he must have decided to remain in town to meet the steamers. [7]  The coroner’s verdict was that “the deceased was found drowned, but by what means he came by his death, there was no evidence to show.” [8]

Another well-known owner was James Hardie (1838-1915), former lawyer and hardware merchant who came from East Lothian, Scotland on the sailing ship Nimrod (or Nimroud) in 1867, with his brother Joseph. He had married Margaret Campbell of Mangonui in 1867 and worked with Messrs Porter & Co until he set up Hardie Bros hardware merchants in about 1904. [9]  James and Margaret had six children – James, Lionel, Percy, Claudia, Christina and Isabel. When Christina’s wedding to Ernest Henry Clayton took place at nearby St Mark’s Church in April 1894, the NZ Herald reported the house at 2 Bassett Road being called Linton:

“The bride was Miss Christina Campbell Hardie, eldest daughter of Mr. James Hardie (Messrs. Porter and Co.), Linton, Remuera, and the bridegroom Mr. Ernest Henry Clayton, formerly of Auckland, but now of Sydney, brother of Mrs. Alfred Nathan, of this city.” [10]

Hardie Bros. acquired the large block known as the Palmerston building on the corner of Queen and Customs Streets in October 1903. [11]  In December 1903 the Herald reported that the block of buildings in Queen Street, known as the Brunswick Mart, with the freehold of the land, a frontage of 43ft to Queen Street, and running through to High Street, a length of about 188 ft, was sold by public auction a few days ago at Messrs. A. Buckland and Sons’ salerooms. The auctioneer accepted £200 bids, and the property was finally knocked down to Mr. James Hardie, of Remuera, at £12,300. [12]

In 1912 Hardie Bros. built a new ferro-concrete building on the site of the former AMP building on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. [13]  An advertisement for 1918 described it as:

“HARDIE BROS., HARDWARE MERCHANTS FOR USEFUL AND BEAUTIFUL GIFTS.
This fine store is situated in the busiest part of Queen Street—the heart of the city. The building has no pillars or supports of any kind to mar the architectural effect, as it is in reinforced concrete. Some idea of the total floor space may be gathered from the fact that the store is 188 ft., depth by 431t in width, and contains six storeys. Those occupied by the firm are stocked with the goods the firm has made a reputation for. This store the proprietors claim, is the best equipped hardware house south of the line. You may buy a great many things at Hardie Bros., but you will find no inferior articles amongst them. Everything at this store is of the best quality only. If you are looking for a Xmas gift of the sensible, useful kind, this is the right place to seek it. There are many beautiful articles in electroware; a large assortment of novelties in fancy leather; a fine range of clocks (from the little “ticker,” comparatively trifling in cost, to the magnificent time-niece suitable for presentation); watches in white metal, of an inexpensive kind and adapted for hard wear, including the famous “boy-proof” watch for youngsters; a huge and unrivalled assortment of Sheffield cutlery of beautiful quality, comprising pocket and table varieties, etc.; also scissors (of which the firm claims to hold the largest stock in Auckland) ; tool-boxes, suitable as present for boys; beautiful ware of various kinds in beaten copper and brass (lovely (.ants); and full stocks of all sorts of sporting requisites for tennis, golf, cricket, etc., and a fine range of rifles and pins by well-known makers, including the celebrated Fox gun (American), which, it is claimed, is ” the finest gun in the world.” The firm of Hardie’s consists of two brothers, one of whom, is now directing the operations of the business, while the other (Mr. Lionel P. Hardie) is a member of the twenty-eighth reinforcements, and still absent in France.” [14]

James Hardie was very involved in the early life of Auckland – he was on the Remuera Road Board, Remuera Licensing Committee, Auckland Bowling Club, Remuera Bowling Club, Auckland Acclimatisation Society and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. [15] He was also a trustee of the Auckland Savings Bank. [16]

James Hardie died in Dunedin in 1915 and his wife Margaret lived on at Linton until her death in 1930. [17]

In the 1930s Linton became a convalescent home called Aroha. [18] In April 1942 Sister Barrett was forced to sell off the extensive contents when her lease expired:

“REMUERA RESIDENTS. GEORGE WALKER, LTD., At the Residence, AROHA CONVALESCENT HOUSE, 2 Bassett Road, Remuera, WEDNESDAY NEXT, APRIL 20, 11 A.M. Instructed by SISTER BARRETT, whose lease has expired.
THE WHOLE OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS HOME. CHESTERFIELD SUITE of 3 Pieces, Gramophone and Records, Ultimate Wireless Set, Writing Desk, Occ. Mahogany Table, 9 Carpets (assorted sizes), 11 Seagrass Chairs, 5 Commodes, Sideboard, Settee and Squab, Bookcase, Mahogany Sideboard, Walnut Sideboard, Bronze Figures, Grandmother’s Clock, 2 Mahogany Armchairs, Gold-framed Wall Mirror, Fender and Tongs, 3 French Ornaments and Ormolu French Clock (rare and valuable) Bronze Figures, Painted Fire Screen, 6yds Axm. Runner (52in), 6 ½  yds ditto, 38in; 7 ½ yds ditto, 27in; Curtains in Silk Repp and Cottage Weave. Cretonne and other Curtains, Chenille Hall Curtains, 2 Divan Beds (complete with bedding), 12 Single Rimu and other Bedsteads, 33 Assorted Mattresses, 100 Patons Eiderdowns, Quilts, Bedside Tables, 6 Commodes, 4 Dressing Tables, 8 3-fold Screens, 2 Invalid Chairs, 6 Chests Drawers, 2 Canvas Blinds, Seagrass Lounge. 20 Trays, 12 H.W. Bags, Bric-a-Brac. 47 Assorted Blankets, 6 Pedestal Cupboards, Blackout Curtains, Cushions. Sheets, Table Linen, Runners, Towels, Pillow Slips, Tray Cloths. Draw Sheets, Quilts, 11 Rubber Air Rings, Kitchen Tables, Chairs, Crockery, Alum. Kettle, Bread Saw, 6 Dozen Assorted Cutlery, Marmalade, Cutter, Enam. Bowls and Hospital Appointments, 3 Carpet Sweepers, Step Ladder, Steriliser, Bedpans, Chambers, E.P. Ware, Cooking Utensils, Ice Box. Enam. and Alum. Saucepans, Electric Iron, Wringer, Davis Ball-bearing Lawnmower, 4 3-ply Screens, 2 Large Tents with Wooden Floors and General Appointments necessary for Home of such description.” [19]

However by September 1942, Aroha was advertised as being under new management as a medical and post-operative hospital. [20]

In 1944 2 Bassett Road was mentioned as the home of Sergeant-Pilot H. K. L. (Ken) Rice, “ younger son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. G. Rice, 2, Bassett Road, Remuera, who has won his “wings” and been commissioned as a pilot-officer in Canada. An old boy of Seddon Memorial Technical College, Pilot Officer Rice left New Zealand last October. His elder brother is in the Army and his sister is serving in the R.N.Z.A.F.” [21] Sadly Flying Officer Ken Rice was reported killed in flying operations in 1945. [22]

By 2004 the house was divided into student flats but was then bought for relocation to the waterfront at Mahurangi East north of Auckland. The house was transported in ten pieces to 137 Ridge Rd, Mahurangi East, Auckland. “The owners then embarked on a huge renovation to restore the 597 square-metre house to its original grandeur – as it would have looked when it was home to the James Hardie family in the 1800s.” This included the re-siting of the turret to meet new height restrictions. The house came on the market for sale in 2018 and was described as having “two-and-a-half storeys, with a narrow staircase leading up to a tiny writer’s room at the top. Original features include the beautiful kauri timbers, bay windows, balconies and verandahs, a grand staircase and a large stained glass window that brings light into the stairwell.” [23]

Today a large Norfolk pine is all that remains on the 2 Bassett Road site where apartments were built in the 2000s and named Norfolk Manor.