Museum & Galleries

Nairn Street Cottage

New Zealand / The Pacific

Nairn Street Cottage is Wellington’s oldest identified building, dating back to 1858. Designed in an elegant late-Georgian style, it was home to the story of the Wallis Family who lived there for three generations. It was built from native timbers, and because of the recent 1848 earthquake, it was only one storey high.William Wallis and his wife Catherine arrived in Wellington as a young, newly wed couple, from Royston, near Cambridge in England. William was a carpenter and soon found employment. He built Nairn Street Cottage himself, and it was ready by the time their first-born child was born. Catherine went on to give birth to nine more. Having such a large family prompted William to build a new home next door – Royston House, where the Cottage Visitor Centre now stands. The Wallis family kept Nairn Street Cottage for 127 years, but Royston House became derelict and was demolished shortly before the Cottage was opened as a Museum in 1980.The cottage is now preserved as a museum and serves to present the lives and events in Wellington’s history. A feature is the time-line which shows what life would have been like between 1830 and 1970.

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