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Randell Cottage Open Day Wraps Up Spring Festival

Randell Cottage Open Day Wraps Up Spring Festival

One of Wellington’s ten oldest colonial buildings opens its doors to the public on Sunday, 4 October. Randell Cottage, at 14 St Mary Street, Thorndon, was built in 1867 by English migrant William Randell as a home for himself, his wife Sarah and their children.

Built in classic settler style, the cottage originally comprised two simple wooden sheds gabled at each end, set side by side so that the long inner wall was common to both. In this simple four-roomed home the family grew until there were nine children. In about 1874 William added a third ‘shed’ to form two extra bedrooms. When the tenth child was born in 1877, the six-room cottage was larger than most of Wellington’s houses.

Today the Cottage is a writers residence, providing a Wellington home away from home to writers from New Zealand and France. Recent residents have included Denis Welch, Tina Makereti, Pat White, and most recently the novelist, playwright and essayist Witi Ihimaera who was jointly awarded the 2015 New Zealand residency with Owen Marshall.

The residency was made possible by an act of extraordinary generosity on the part of one of William Randell’s direct descendants, the children’s writer Beverley Randell, who in 1994 with her husband, publisher Hugh Price and daughter, historian Susan Price, bought the cottage at auction, painstakingly restored it and gifted it to the Randell Cottage Writers Trust.

“Open Day is an opportunity to say thank you to Wellington for the support the Cottage receives from the Wellington City Council. It’s a chance to hear the Cottage’s history and to marvel at the changes in living conditions and ideas of personal space that have taken place over the past 150 years,” says trustee Sian Robyns.

The Cottage, writers shed and garden will be open from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free but koha is appreciated.

ENDS

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