224 Collingwood Street
Stanton Cottage, 224 Collingwood Street is an Italianate villa, built approximately 1865.
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. Collingwood Street is named after Cuthbert Collingwood (later Lord Collingwood and an Admiral) who was one of Lord Nelson's greatest friends.
History of the house
Designed by architect William Beatson and commissioned by William Moses Stanton in 1865, this charming cottage was built to accommodate Stanton’s mother Mary and mother-in-law Sarah James, both widows.
Stanton arrived in Nelson on the Clifford in 1842, aged thirteen, with his father William, mother Mary and four siblings. He went on to have many occupations including teacher, insurance salesman, storekeeper and publican. He became a clerk to the courts and during this time, handled the Wairau Affray/Massacre depositions. By 1848 he was a full-time librarian and in 1850 he married Sarah Lee Hodgson who died giving birth to their twins. In 1853 he remarried to Ellen Elizabeth James who had come to New Zealand with her mother on the Fifeshire.
The house was designed so that each of the women would have their own sitting room and bedroom but the kitchen was to be shared. The estimated cost of the construction was £697 pounds, 12 shillings.
In 1899 the cottage was bought by Percy Boland Adams, the owner of Melrose House for Joseph Busch, his manservant and gardener. Busch was a talented gardener and created a beautiful garden at the cottage as well as doing much of the tree planting at Melrose. He held the role until he died in 1937. He lived here with his first wife Sarah and baby Isobel, however Sarah died in her early twenties. He remarried and went on to have a family of four girls and two sons.
In 1951 the house was purchased by Lucy Alborn, a young widow. The garden was smaller than the original as it had been subdivided and the house had been renovated inside, but it still retained many of the charming original exterior features that she had admired as a child when she walked past. Alborn lived in the cottage for fifty-four years.
Style and Construction
Architect William Beatson had also designed William Stanton’s own house at 214 Collingwood Street and the large sections were adjacent. Beatson was a London architect who emigrated to New Zealand in 1851 and designed many of Nelson’s first churches, commercial buildings, houses and schools including the original Nelson College. He was one of the few architects in Nelson at the time who had received formal architecture training.
The design of 224 Collingwood Street was likely inspired by the Italianate villa which was in vogue in England at the time. The design features round-headed windows which light the bedrooms and stair landing and gabled brackets and eave details repeated. It is made of the same materials as Stanton’s original house at 214 Collingwood Street but without the coat of plaster over the top. The roof was covered with galvanised tinned iron tiles. A freer hand may have been given to the architect on this house than for Stanton’s own house and Beatson’s preference for Palladian symmetry and accent of a central focus can be seen.
This information was prepared for the Nelson Cancer Society Heritage Homes Tour 2018 (updated 2021)
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Further sources - 224 Collingwood Street
- Nelson Historical Society. (1966). The Nelson Names. Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, 1966. Retrieved from
- New Zealand Historic Places, 35 (1991: December)