A Rose between Two Thorns; Tringham, Chatfield and Toxward, 1865 to 1870
Keywords:Architects, Wellington, New Zealand, Architects, New Zealand; Architeccture—biography
Charles Tringham, William Chatfield and Christian Julius Toxward are all alleged to have started practices in Wellington in the mid-1860s. Numerous tenders for building work by Tringham and Toxward can be found in newspapers at the time, but tenders by Chatfield do not appear until 1875. There also appears to have been little other competition at the time. Tringham came to New Zealand from England as a carpenter, progressed to being a builder, and was calling himself an architect by 1867. From then until the end of 1869 he tendered in Wellington newspapers for at least 48 buildings. Toxward, a Dane, spent several years as a draftsman in Victoria, Australia, then traveled extensively in Europe. He came to New Zealand by 1862, working in Dunedin and Invercargill before establishing a private practice in Wellington in 1866. By the end of 1869 his tender notices in Wellington newspapers totaled 25. Tringham and Toxward appear to have had quite different approaches in establishing their Wellington practices. Tringham, the younger man at 26, concentrated on designing houses and shops combined with dwellings; he only tendered for four non-residential buildings in the 1860s. Toxward, aged 35 and a prominent Mason, seems to have concentrated on contracts for more substantial buildings such as schools, churches, stores such as Kirkcaldie & Stains and works for the Provincial Government. He only appears to have designed three houses during this period. Chatfield arrived in 1867 and his obituary claims that he ran a practice from then until 1872 when he joined the Wellington Provincial Government as a draftsman. The lack of tenders in the papers suggests either he had limited success or his work was organised through other means, such as word of mouth. Once his architectural practice was established, his early career (40 buildings in four years) closely paralleled that of Tringham. All three, with the later addition of Thomas Turnbull, dominated the Wellington architectural scene through to the early 1890s. To place their output in context we discuss other architects who appear in Wellington in the late 1860s, and the building profession during this time.