Wednesday, May 30, 2007

corstorphine house

A Short History

In 1843 the four sons of the Scottish Sidey family left London to seek their
futures in the America, Canada and New Zealand. John Sidey was attracted to
the New Edinburgh settlement in Otago, New Zealand, by the ready
availability of land. The new town was called Dunedin, the Gaelic form of
Edinburgh. When John Sidey arrived on board the Blundell in 1848, he
immediately saw that the rapidly-developing town was short of essential
supplies and food. Sidey therefore established a general store on the corner
of Princes and High Streets, stocked with goods and supplies from England.
By 1855, Sidey purchased a 2,000 acre estate located on steep, hilly land on
the southern outskirts of the town and named it ‘Corstorphine’ after a
prominent landmark in his native Edinburgh. Eight years later, Sidey
commenced construction of Corstorphine House in plain but elegant Roman
High Renaissance style typical of the neo-classical architecture in Great Britain
at the time. The house soon became the scene for many grand social
occasions, such as the first champion ploughing match in October 1864,
regular meetings of the Otago Hunt Club and Sidey’s annual champagne
birthday dinner. The original house in ‘Palladian Style’ was later added to with
other styles like art nouveau and the house underwent many refurbishments,
most notably in 1910 when the current Main Dining, Music and Gold rooms
were added.
John Sidey gradually sold or leased much of the Corstorphine Estate,
involving himself instead in public affairs and international travel. In 1915, while
planning his next world trip, he died at the age of 92. One of the new owners,
Sir Thomas Sidey also enjoyed a long and distinguished career of public
service as a Member of Parliament. Amongst Sir Thomas’ achievements, were
the establishment of the Dental School in Dunedin, and the introduction of
daylight saving (or ‘Sidey Time’) in 1927.
The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand purchased the home in 1957.
However, the Sidey connection with Corstorphine House was renewed in royal
style in February 1963, when the son of Sir Thomas Sidey as Mayor of Dunedin
welcomed Queen Elizabeth II. For this occasion, the Sidey dining table was
relocated from Corstorphine to the Grand Hotel (on the site of John Sidey’s
original shop) to accommodate the fourteen settings at an intimate royal
The house, conservatory, stables, gazebo and gateway, now registered with
the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, together with 12 hectares of land, were
purchased by Irina and Nico Francken in March 1998, since when they have
lovingly restored and adapted this historic Dunedin home as a private hotel
and fine dining restaurant.


At 12:41 p.m., Blogger Unknown said...

this link should take you to an aerial photo taken in 1947....Corstophine House is in the top left quadrant, in the trees, you'll have to zoom in alot.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home