In 1947, after 104 years in residence (since 1843) and then ownership (since 1851), Riccarton House (built 1856, 1874 & 1900) and its estate leaves the ownership of the Deans family. It is purchased by the Christchurch City Council for £16,500!
Since the death of Catherine Edith Deans (daughter-in-law of Jane Deans) 10 years earlier, the house had been leased out to tenants, while still in the ownership of Catherine’s eldest son, John Deans III and his wife Ruth. At the time of the sale of Riccarton, John also sold his Coalgate farm of ‘Kirkstyle’ to enter into his retirement in Christchurch. He always kept a watchful eye on Riccarton though as the Chairman of the Riccarton Bush Trust Board and did do for 54 years. This trust still exists today and consists of 2 Deans family members, 6 members of the C.C.C and 1 representative of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society. Nothing happens on the property without their say so.
In 1966, the house went under serious alterations to prepare it for commercial use. But by 1992, a restoration took place to reinstate the decorative schemes of its early 20th century life, just as the Deans family would have had it.
Riccarton House has just faced its biggest restoration of its long history after being damaged in the earthquakes of 2011/2012. In only what can be described as a real ‘shining up’ of the gem of Riccarton, the strengthening that has also taken place assures us that Riccarton House will be around for many more generations to come!
For a more in depth look at the story of Riccarton House, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/jane-deans/
*The post is courtesy of Discover The Delights Of Peeling Back History www.facebook.com/PeelingBackHistory
*image courtesy of the Canterbury Public Library http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/ – File Reference CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0079