This gracious home was built in 1910/1911 for Cyril Palmer Brown and his wife (name unknown). It was one of the early homes of the area, built high on a sand dune running the length of College St towards Collegiate School and, without its large trees and gardens, it must have been a pretty raw, windswept property. The house was part of the original Collegiate leasehold estate.
For all but 16 of the next 115 years the house has been owned by “Browns”.
On 30 June 1914 Mr and Mrs Brown had a son named Max, born in the house and in 1917 a daughter. Their births were difficult for Mrs Brown and in 1918 the bottom level of the house was removed and the house lowered to reduce the number of stairs for her to climb. Porches, verandas and a glassed sunroom (off the Watercolour Room which guests in the BnB now enjoy) were added for her to rest and recuperate in.
Renovations for the BnB have revealed many treasures and surprises:
- railway lines under the house to support the back-to-back double story brick fireplaces;
- fragments of news paper from 1912;
- generations of beautiful old wallpapers; and
- a photograph found in the dry dust behind the fire surround in the formal lounge, of a small boy riding a rocking horse (which may well be a photo of Max Brown), which had probably been resting on top of the fire surround and then slipped behind it, only to lie there in the hot, dry, dust and dark for over 100 years, until the day it was re-discovered.
In April 1945 the house was sold to Alick Akehurst Hendry who was transferred to Wanganui by the Land & Income Tax Department, now known as the IRD. He became the District Commissioner of Taxes and Stamp Duties and Superintendent of the Land and Income Tax Dept in Ridgway St, Wanganui. Alick and his wife Constance had six children, raising and schooling them in Wanganui until 1955 when Alick was transferred by the Tax Dept to Auckland.
Alick sold it on to George Everiss, a music teacher at Collegiate School and after 5 years of owning the home George sold it to Meg and Dennis Brown, to move to the South Island to teach music.
Meg and Dennis Brown (no relation to the first family of Browns) agreed in October of 1960 to buy the house with possession date January 12th 1961. The sales agent was a Mr Trevor Healy who said to Dennis Brown, “I have just the house for you!”. “It is a gentleman’s residence”.
Meg and Dennis’s first son Peter was born 7 January 1961 and the next Brown family moved into the house when Peter was 5 days old. Meg and Dennis raised 3 sons in the house (Peter, Chris and Philip), established beautiful gardens and kept many pets (dogs, cats, fish, birds, mice, tortoise, guinea pigs, hens, sheep, stray goats…).
Since 1961 the house has been owned by Meg and Dennis Brown and more recently by their son Peter and his wife Jenny who raised their children Rosie, Max and Finn in the house.
… which brings us to the present and to you. In 2016, with the youngest of Peter and Jenny’s family leaving home, the house was beautifully renovated and altered to create two special rooms to share with guests of Browns Boutique Bed and Breakfast. We look forward to sharing this special place with you and hope that it will in some way also be a part of your history.