The properties at 146 and 150 Fendalton Road were built on land originally known as R.S. 18 and first taken up by Walpole Cheshire Fendall (1830 - 1913) after whom the area is named. A road (later Fendalton Road) was cut through his holding and Fendall lost no time in subdividing his property. The original house built on the site was burnt down; no details are known about this building.
"Brenchley" at 150 Fendalton Road was designed in 1915 by the England Bros. who also designed the final stages of Riccarton House and became noted for their ability to adapt traditional English styles to suit the Christchurch conditions. The house was built of heart kauri from the 1906 Canterbury Exhibition, a mansion of 651 sq.m. with 6 bedrooms and 6 living-rooms. It was built for Mr Ralph, then Manager of the Farmers Co-op. Before it was completed he sold it, in 1918, to Edward Gates (1859 - 1943), a farmer and breeder of thoroughbred horses..
146 Fendalton Road was also designed by the England Bros. but later, in the mid-1920s. This was another mansion with 5 bedrooms and spacious living areas. It was built for another member of the Gates family, a Miss Gates who has gone down in history as "having associations with St. Barnabas" - it is not known in what form.
150 Fendalton Road was bought in the 1920s by Mr and Mrs Suckling and at this time the house appears to have been divided into two flats. The Sucklings gave the property the name "Brenchley" after a village in Kent they had visited. Mr Suckling was a dentist.
In 1934/5 the house was sold to Dr Peter (Percy) Allison, son of Charles Allison, a Mayor of Christchurch 1908-10, and his wife, Dr Hazel Allison. Dr Peter Allison had already owned a vacant paddock near 150 Fendalton Road, the entrance to which was from Glandovey Road. Being a keen tennis player and a member of the first Australasian Davis Cup tennis team he saw the opportunity for two grass tennis courts, one backing on to Fendalton Road for family use, the other backing on to Glandovey Road for his own weekend tennis parties.
The property was re-named "Lyddington"- Dr Hazel Allison’s family having come from Lyddington, Rutland, England.
Members of the Allison family have vivid memories of the dances, tennis and boating parties and church fetes held in the grounds. The Wairarapa Stream provided leisure activities with its waterwheel, swimming hole and small jetty. A typical picnic outing by the family was to a friend’s farm where the Ilam Road shops are now. Less than 60 years ago, Makora Street was open paddocks and Memorial Avenue was the unsealed Burnside Road.
The house was restored into a family home and there were only minor alterations to its interior over the next 35 years. The garden was developed with the original native bush being maintained near the stream.
Like many large homes of the time there were bell-pulls in many of the rooms to summon staff from the kitchen. Near the kitchen was a kauri and glass telephone booth in which people could have private telephone conversations. An old coke boiler provided the ducted hot air that heated the house.
In the 1930s supermarkets had not been thought of and there were many home deliveries: meat, fish and bread were bought from carts passing by and milk was poured into billies left at the gate. Groceries were delivered monthly from Frank A. Cook. Sugar sacks of flour, sugar, raisins and currants were stored in large wooden bins in the kitchen.
After Dr Peter Allison’s death his wife stayed on, usually with one or other of her five children and grandchildren staying there as well. She sub-divided the land, selling off both tennis courts.
John and Anne Wheelans and their large family bought 150 Fendalton Road in 1970 after suggestions had been made of demolishing the house. The name reverted to "Brenchley".
In 1990 both 146 and 150 Fendalton Road were bought by Taiwanese businessmen. They formed a joint venture to subdivide five sections and to sell both houses (totally refurbished) at the same time. St. Barnabas Lane was formed to allow access and the land sold at auction set a bench-mark price for sections in the area, fetching an average price of about $370 a square metre. Most of the trees along the stream have been kept, the most notable being an old Redwood, believed to be almost 100 years old.
- MacDonald, G.R., 1891-1967. MacDonald dictionary of Canterbury biographies [Christchurch], 1964?.
- The Press: 14.9.1994, p 49; 17.9.1994, p 34; 28.9.94, p 49; 5.10.94, p 45