36 Brougham Street

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36 Brougham Street is a post-Victorian property, built approximately 1925. It has a Category 2 Heritage listing and shows arts and crafts influence.

About the area

The streets around Brougham Street and Upper Collingwood Street are often known as Nelson's Dress Circle, due to their elevated position and the number of large old houses sited there. Brougham Street was probably named after the Brougham, a ship carrying immigrants which arrived in Nelson in March 1842. Although now a quiet residential street, an early map of Nelson had planned for army barracks at one end of Brougham Street and a house of correction at the other. 

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36 Brougham Street. Image supplied by Nelson Cancer Society

History of the house

Sir Jack & Lady Myrtle Newman

This substantial home, built around 1925, was for many years the home of Sir Jack and Lady Myrtle Newman. Sir Jack was born in July 1902 at the family farm, Naumai, at Brightwater, near Nelson, the eldest son of Christina and Tom Newman. His father was a mail contractor and co-founder (with his brother Harry) of the Newman Brothers coaching firm. Sir Jack started his schooling at Spring Grove and later attended Nelson College where he played in the First XV, captained the First XI and was a prefect. On 27 September 1926 he married Myrtle Olive Alexandra Thomas in Nelson’s Christ Church Cathedral and the couple had four daughters.

Sir Jack followed his father into the Newman Brothers family motor business. By that time Harry had passed away and Sir Jack’s father Tom had bought the shares held by Harry’s sons. Sir Jack was first employed as a driver but worked his way up to traffic clerk then director and eventually managing director. When the TNL Group was formed in 1976 by a group of Nelson transport companies, Sir Jack was appointed as chairman. The company become Newmans Group in 1986.

36 Brougham st photo

36 Brougham Street. Image supplied by Nelson Cancer Society

Sir Jack was always an outstanding sportsman, playing rugby at fullback for the Nelson Rugby Football Club and later becoming chairman of the Nelson Rugby Union's management committee. His greatest sporting achievements however were in cricket where he played for New Zealand in three tests from 1931-33. He went on to become a national selector and manager, president and life member of the New Zealand Cricket Council, a founder and president of the New Zealand Cricket Foundation and a member of the MCC, London. Other sporting achievements included being a Nelson golf representative, a vice president of the Nelson Jockey Club and local champion in bowls.

As well as business and sporting talent, Sir Jack was active in many community organisations. He served on the committee of the Nelson College Old Boys Association, was a Nelson College governor for twenty-one years, a founding member of the Rotary Club of Nelson, and a Nelson City councillor from 1944 to 1953. He worked successfully for the creation of Founders Heritage Park, was a member of the Cathedral building appeal committee and active in many community organisations. He was a Justice of the Peace and was made a CBE in 1963 and a Knight Bachelor in 1977 for his services to the travel industry. Widowed in 1987, he lived in his Brougham Street home until moving into care. He died on 23 September 1996.

Style and construction

This gracious home was designed by architect William (Bill) Houlker who also designed Newman Brothers offices/bus-yard in Hardy Street. Houlker was responsible for many notable structures around Nelson and surrounds including the Nelson Boathouse, the Marsden Church House, the Masonic Lodge on Collingwood Street, the classical stone gates at Nelson College for Girls and Wakapuaka Cemetery.

The house is a large twin-gabled English-style house, post-Victorian and showing an arts and crafts influence. In the Edwardian period, an increasing number of New Zealand architects became interested in the arts and crafts movement, led by English social reformer William Morris in the second half of the 19th century. Morris was concerned that industrialised production was soul-destroying for workers and advocated a return to handcrafting. The movement promoted simplicity, directness, clean lines and a delight in the textures of building materials.

With its classic proportions and generous scale, 36 Brougham Street is a study in elegance. The house is north-facing and sits on an elevated site with glorious views. The house has been refurbished over time and has multiple living and dining spaces. It has a balance of modernisation while still celebrating its heritage features.

This information was prepared for the Nelson Cancer Society Heritage Homes Tour 2018.

Sources used in this story

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Further sources - 36 Brougham Street

Articles

Other

  • Nelson City Council Dress Circle Walk brochure
  • Newmans Centenary Booklet. (1979).
  • Personal communication with I. Bowman, Architect & Conservator

Web Resources