Carpenter, Artisan, Architect; Status In Late Nineteenth Century Wellington


  • Adrian Humphris
  • Geoff Mew



Wellington, Wellington Association of Architects, Wellington Architecture


The distinction between a minor professional architect and a leading builder in Wellington was considerably more blurred in the late nineteenth century than it would be today. However, busy architects could make a lot of money and the term "architect" carried status that might open more doors than would be available to a mere builder.  Late nineteenth century Wellington is now apparently only represented by a handful of buildings by prominent architects. Most people automatically think of the CBD and names like Thomas Turnbull & Son, William Chatfield, Frederick de Jersey Clere, John Campbell and perhaps William Crichton. Clayton, Toxward and Tringham were dead or almost gone, and new generation architects were barely emerging. We contend, however, that this picture is an oversimplification and considerably more of 1890s Wellington remains, as does the evidence for a much longer roll-call of architects, some of whom practised on the fringes, both of the city and of their profession. The architects we discuss here did not generally design large, flamboyant buildings, nor did they cater for rich company clients. Many of the lesser-known architects were particularly susceptible to boom-bust cycles and were forced to seek other employment in lean times - hence their rapid arrivals and departures from the trade listings in the directories of these years


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2021-02-10 — Updated on 2007-10-31


How to Cite

Humphris, A., & Mew, G. (2007). Carpenter, Artisan, Architect; Status In Late Nineteenth Century Wellington. Architectural History Aotearoa, 4, 28–33. (Original work published February 10, 2021)

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