Interestingly this Dudley Character Area in Richmond, is in part thanks to Richard Seddon & “prominent local architects”: Hurst Segar, Cecil Wood, Barlow and England creating architectural designed social housing.
Richard Seddon, concerned at the number of homeless and substandard conditions, decided that the the State should play a larger part in housing. Seddon came from England and had seen for himself good quality council housing available to low income families.
This Character Area is an important part of Richmond’s identity/heritage & should be protected, especially after so many buildings were lost after the earthquakes.
Richmond Housing History
“My last article (November 2008) said that State housing was introduced in 1936. I should have said it was re-introduced in 1936. In 1905 the government introduced the Workers Dwelling Act which would allow for the purchasing of land and the construction of affordable homes for workers at what was to be modest rents.
34 designs were selected from 130 submitted by architects throughout New Zealand. Some of these homes were built in poorly selected locations away from public transport and at rents beyond the reach of many. A second act passed in 1910 increased the cost limits further still.
Richard Seddon, concerned at the number of homeless and substandard conditions, decided that the State should play a larger part in housing. Seddon came from England and had seen for himself good quality council housing available to low income families.
These homes could be leased with the right of renewal or could be purchased outright with the proviso that upon the death of the owner, ownership would return to the State. Seddon said it would give relief from profit hungry landlords, however, many workers with a bring home pay of three pounds per week, found the rents of up to 15 shillings a week beyond them.
When this early experiment was finished, over 640 homes had been built throughout the country. In Christchurch, some of these homes were designed by some prominent local architects including Hurst Segar, Cecil Wood, Barlow and England.
Three pockets of these homes were built in Christchurch in 1918 to 1920, one being in Chancellor Street. This small group of homes run between Julius Terrace and Shirley Road. They are still standing. Over the years some have rented and some altered beyond recognition but recent years have seen a turn around with new owners restoring and putting back the lost character and charm. Of the three pockets of these homes built in Christchurch, little remains of the other two, so Chancellor Street is unique in the fact that they are all still there and are in good hands.
It would be interesting to know how many of these original 640 homes still exist throughout the country. Following this initial building programme nothing happened until 1934 when 600 homes were built, then the following year the newly elected Labour government decided to make State rental housing available to everyone.
State architects produced a variety of plans and private builders could contract to build them but the standard was so high not everyone wanted to.”
(Chancellor Street Today by Alan Williamson, Richmond Community News, February 2009)
Christchurch Suburban Character Area Assessments (2015)
“Character Areas 10 and 10a are located to the north-east of the Christchurch central city, south of Shirley Road and west of the Avon River in the suburb of Richmond. Character Area 10 covers a large residential area – comprising most of Warden, Guild, Dudley, Slater, Petrie and Chrystal Streets, most of Stapletons Road, all of Randall, Nicholls Street and Averill Streets and all of Poulton Avenue. Character Area 10a comprises Dudley Street and is contained within the boundaries of Character Area 10.
Character Area 10 has been identified as a Character Area due to the consistent style and era of dwellings (primarily consisting of single-storey wooden villas and Californian-style bungalows of the 1920s – 1940s), which have a strong relationship to the street, consistently generous street setbacks, low to moderate level fencing, mature boundary vegetation and grass berms.
Character Area 10 has been significantly impacted by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, with a number of dwellings either damaged or demolished.
Common architectural elements of the existing housing include pitched roofs, both hipped and gabled, corrugated iron or tiled roofing, timber weatherboard walls and occasionally areas of shingle within the gables. Most of the dwellings contain at least one large timber bay window facing the street.
There are a few more recent building additions within these Character Areas – but these are generally in keeping with the existing scale and form and are for the most part, sympathetic in style.
Character Area 10 has approximately 86% of sites that are classified as either primary or contributory and Character Area 10a has approximately 91% of sites that are classified as primary or contributory.
The approximate street-by-street breakdown of the percentage of primary/contributory buildings is as follows: Warden Street 82%, Chancellor Street 92%, Guild Street 100%, Averill Street 84%, Poulton Avenue 93%, Dudley Street 91%, Randall Street 93%, Nicholls Street 82%, Chrystal Street 64%, Slater Street 95%, Stapletons Road 88%, Petrie Street 84%.
It is recommended that Character Area 10 (Slater/Poulton) is retained with a change in boundary to remove a few properties at the very northern end of Slater Road (see the Site Classification and Boundary Map, Appendix 5), and remove Chystal Street and Poulton Avenue, to consolidate and strengthen the Character Area boundaries. It is recommended that Character Area 10a (Dudley), is not retained as a separate Character Area, but rather is incorporated into Character Area 10 in its entirety.
It is considered that the key elements that embody the character of Character Areas 10 and 10a – that should be retained and protected in the future, include:
– Building height: generally single storey.
– Building scale: generally moderate-scale, individual bungalows and villas. – Building and roof form: simple to more complex forms with projections, porches and verandas and hip and gable roofs.
– Architectural detailing: including materials, bay and bow windows, shingle gable ends, weatherboard cladding.
– Setback from street: generally 7-9m.
– Low- moderate fencing: 1 to 1.5m.
– Visual connectivity between dwellings and the street: through low or no fencing and exclusion of garaging, placement of windows and dwelling entrances and sympathetic on-site landscaping.
– Landscape: boundary vegetation and specimen tree planting, more substantive planting on stream edges.
The ‘primary’ site classification relates to the style/era and materials used in the built form, the compact scale of development, the consistent street setback, the presence of boundary vegetation, low-scale fencing and the visual relationship between the dwellings and the street.
The ‘contributory’ site classification represents those properties that support the defining character, but are not considered to be primary in nature – either because the dwelling is new (but sympathetic in design), or due to modifications to the original built form, inconsistencies in planting, setback or boundary treatment.
A ‘neutral’ site classification has been assigned to those properties that neither establish nor detract from the defining character values of the Character Area.
An ‘intrusive’ site classification has been assigned to those properties that do not embody and detract from the defining character values of the Character Area – due to an obvious change in building style, scale, or materials, a change in setback from or relationship to the street, or a change in boundary or landscaping treatment.”
(Pages 40-45: 7 Character Areas 10 & 10a: Slater/Poulton & Dudley Assessment, Page 113: 19 Summary Table, Page 123: Appendix 5 – Character Areas 10 and 10a: Site Classification and Boundary Map)
CCC Character Area Dudley Design Guide (2019)
“Dudley is identified in the Christchurch District Plan as a Character Area. It has qualities that make it distinctive and appealing resulting in an attractive and memorable area. The distinctiveness is created through the combination of the character of houses and their surroundings. The purpose of the Character Area is to ensure the special qualities are identified, retained or enhanced, when people choose to make changes to or redevelop their property.
Dudley has city-wide significance as an intact residential neighbourhood, strong landscape features, consistent house sizes and styles.
– Generally an intact original subdivision with generous section sizes and a general spaciousness.
– Consistency in building age and style. The original subdivision was comprehensively developed as a result of the construction of the St Albans Park and North Beach tram routes. Many of the original houses date from the early 20th century and are single-storey wooden villas and bungalows.
– The size, form and scale of houses, the roof profile and location of houses on sections are generally consistent along streets.
– Architectural detailing that contributes to a richness in house design and consistency is established through the location, scale and proportion of windows and entrances.
– Street and block layout: While there was damage to the area as a result of the Canterbury Earthquakes, the original subdivision of Dudley is relatively intact. The majority of sections across the area have not been further subdivided, retaining large sections with mature trees that sets up a regular spacing and pattern of houses, fencing and front gardens along the street.
– Landscape and natural features: Dudley Creek is a defining feature and important open space for this Character Area. Extensive recent work along the banks of the waterways in Dudley have opened up spaces that contribute to the amenity and value of the area for the community and residents. A feature of Dudley is how existing sections engage with the waterways. Houses face Dudley Creek and tributaries, vegetation is low but extensive and bridges, both vehicle and pedestrian, span the creek creating a strong visual and physical connection. Redevelopment of sections that are located adjacent to the creek should continue to embrace it as a defining feature of the area’s landscape.
– Balance of house and garden size: A feature of Dudley is the consistent balance between house and garden size. The area has a general spaciousness when viewed from the street with modest house footprints, generous separation between houses and gardens that contain substantial vegetation.
– House setbacks and orientation: Houses within Dudley are located with consistent setbacks along streets and orientated to face the street. New houses should reaffirm this building edge, which contributes to the engaging pedestrian environment within the Character Area.
– Street boundaries: Original houses in Dudley contained low or no fencing on the street boundary, and this openness remains today. Low or no fences allow good visual connection between houses and streets contributing to a sense of neighbourliness and promotes safety. However, the erection of high fencing along the street more recently in Dudley restricts visual connection to houses undermining the quality of the street environment. Redevelopment of existing sections should aim to achieve an openness along streets.
– Access parking and garaging: Original houses in Dudley contained vehicle parking to the side or rear of houses. However more recent development has resulted in vehicle garaging and parking in front gardens. This significantly undermines the character of the area by creating blank walls (from garages), resulting in the removal of front yard vegetation and by reducing the visibility of houses from the street.
– Scale and form: The height of a house and its size are key factors in determining what impact the building will have on its immediate surroundings within the Character Area. This includes how it is perceived from the street and by neighbours, and how successfully it fits with the character of the neighbourhood. Houses in Dudley are generally single storey, stand alone buildings with modest footprints and low-pitched hip and gable roofs.
– Architectural detailing: Architectural detailing is often one of the most noticeable expressions of a Character Area. Details are eye-catching and the style or age of houses can be recognised from them. Houses in Dudley have a range of architectural detailing including weatherboard cladding and corrugated iron roofing, bay and box windows, and occasional shingle detailing on gable ends. A variety of detailed entry features, verandas and porches which are consistent with the 20th century villas and bungalows are also features of the character area.”