21 Fountain Place


Beachville, 21 Fountain Place, is a cottage with a . It was built in approximately 1862 and forms part of the Fountain Place Heritage Precinct.

About the area

For many years, Fountain Place was known as Beachville Avenue and unsurprisingly, often confused with nearby Beachville Crescent. The new name of Fountain Place was chosen in 1986 and references the area’s history.

21 fountain place.jpg

21 Fountain Place. McLachlan House (Tyree 34890/31/2)

Fountain Square, the grassy area at the top of the street, has a freshwater spring and was once a popular spot for early seamen to stock up on supplies before setting out on their journeys. For over a century, the Nelson City Gas Works was situated near the bottom of Fountain Place. Today, Fountain Place with its interesting collection of old villas, cottages and bungalows is a Nelson City Council heritage precinct. Several of the cottages date back to the late 1800s and ten are listed heritage buildings. 

History of the House

The first recorded settler to own land at what is now Fountain Place was George William Schroder who was granted a 21 acre block of land by the New Zealand Company. After defaulting on his mortgage, the land was re-sold. John Lewthwaite then purchased 12 acres and created a residential subdivision called Beachville Estate.

Margaret McLachlan purchased the cottage in December of 1885. Although married to David McLachlan, who worked as a marine engineer and in the foundry at Anchor Company, the cottage was only in Margaret’s name. David McLachlan was born in Stoke, Nelson and his parents came to New Zealand from Stirling, Scotland. David and Margaret married in 1881 and had eight daughters. David died at the property on 10 May 1930 aged 71. Margaret lived to 83 and in her will, left the property to three of her daughters, Rachel Margaret Marion (b. 1883), Dora Annie (b. 1890) and Agnes Olive (b. 1900). David and Margaret McLachlan are buried together at Wakapuaka Cemetery. Rachel, Dora and Agnes never married and are all buried at Marsden Cemetery. The property stayed in the McLachlan family until 1983.

21 Foundation Place
21 Fountain Place. Image supplied by Nelson Cancer Society
Style and construction

The house started out as a simple two bedroom, single-story weatherboard cottage with a double fireplace, but has been added to over the years. The second storey with two rooms was added in 1902. The bathroom tacked onto the northern side was built in an old army hut and has no insulation. The coal stove in the kitchen is thought to be original. The current owner has replaced the retaining wall along the back of the house which was sloping and leaning up against the house when he bought the property, making the house feel damp and mouldy. The interior of the house has been painted throughout (over the old wallpaper), a rotting beam on the balcony replaced, an unsightly outdoor pool filled in and covered with a deck to create a level outdoor area and a vegetable garden replanted in what is thought to be the original spot.

The balustrade on the deck is a Chinese Chippendale design popular in the late 18th and early 19th century. The taste for Chinoiserie had been popular for some time due to England’s trade with the Orient.

This information was prepared for the Nelson Cancer Society Heritage Homes Tour 2019 (updated 2021).

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Further sources - 21 Fountain Place


  • J. Kirkwood, personal communication, March 2019
  • Ancestors Attic, personal communication, March 2019
  • Fountain Place Heritage Precinct History Board

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