Magnificent Fellworth Awe Inspiring


Everything about Fellworth is on a grand scale: it holds a commanding viewpoint dominating Nelson and facing due west along Bridge Street, the main downstairs reception rooms have ceiling heights of 4.3 metres (14ft), the total area of the first and second floors is 620 sq. metres (6,670sq. ft), and it is built entirely out of native timbers: rimu, totara, matai and kauri.  The builder and architect, John Scotland, also built the Provincial Government Buildings (now demolished) and Melrose.  The house was erected in 1876.

Fellworth House, Milton St. Nelson.  The north front.

Fellworth House, Milton St. Nelson. The north front.

The commanding view over Nelson and Bridge Street to the west from the second storey balcony.

The commanding view over Nelson and Bridge Street to the west from the second storey balcony.

A modern crest overlaid on  the front steps in 2006 adds an historical dimension to the building.

A modern crest overlaid on the front steps in 2006 adds an historical dimension to the building.

Intricate carved cornices and plaster embellishments on the corner of the main building.

Intricate carved cornices and plaster embellishments on the corner of the main building.

Matai floors in the ballroom show the quality of the materials used in the construction of this house.

Matai floors in the ballroom show the quality of the materials used in the construction of this house.

Floor to ceiling curtains adorn the windows of  the main reception rooms.

Floor to ceiling curtains adorn the windows of the main reception rooms.

Detail of a typical window design

Detail of a typical window design

Light fittings have been carefully chosen to reflect the late Victorian period of the house.

Light fittings have been carefully chosen to reflect the late Victorian period of the house.

Detail of the embossed brocade wallpaper in the entrance hall.

Detail of the embossed brocade wallpaper in the entrance hall.

John Sharp, the original owner, was also a “big” man. He was registrar of the Supreme Court, provincial treasurer, resident magistrate for three years, a partner in the Kent Brewery with T. H. Harley, had interests in real estate and an  auction firm and was mayor of Nelson from 1888 to 1890.  A member of  the Nelson Volunteer Rifles, the Nelson Bowling Club and a Freemason, he died in 1919 at the age of 90 years.

The main staircase leads to the second floor from just inside the front door.

The main staircase leads to the second floor from just inside the front door.

A tapestry of the Last Supper worked by the mother of the current owners hangs in the entrance hall - an example of the high quality of decoration which the present owners have given to the house.

A tapestry of the Last Supper worked by the mother of the current owners hangs in the entrance hall – an example of the high quality of decoration which the present owners have given to the house.

The ballroom which extends along the south side of the house has a multitude of uses.

The ballroom which extends along the south side of the house has a multitude of uses.

Box hedges form a topiary border at the main entrance.

Box hedges form a topiary border at the main entrance.

Fellworth has been used for many purposes: the Cawthron Institute’s base from 1920 to 1970, a wedding and events venue and a backpackers’ hostel.  Today, it is in the very capable hands of the Djukanovic family trust.  It is available to the public for functions both big and small and there are several rooms available for bed and breakfast accommodation.  It’s restoration is on-going but it certainly reflects the grandeur of its Edwardian past and is a credit to the last two owners who have done most of the work.  It is a building we can all feel proud of.

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