Lord Mandeville’s Swamp

On the corner of Mandeville Street and Riccarton Road sits Mandeville Reserve, a gift from John Heaton Rhodes to the people of Riccarton Borough.

In 1857, a beautiful house was built on that corner.  It was named ‘Oakford’ and was owned by Henry Joseph Hall.  He became chairman of the Riccarton Road Board in 1875 and served until his death 1897.  Mandeville Street was then known as Chinaman’s Lane as there were gardens – about 30 acres – tended by pioneer Chinese making their way in the new colony.

Robert Rhodes – son of George Rhodes of ‘The Levels’ – purshased Oakford (year unknown) and turned the property into one of the finest estates in Christchurch.  Oakford boasted acres of perfect gardens, an orchard, stables that held Robert’s polo ponies plus a tennis court.  During the development of this estate, a large amount of Maori artifacts were uncovered. This property was passed down to Robert’s son, John.

Pictured here is Oakford in the 1960’s just before it was knocked to make way for the Riccarton Village Inn (since changed names again). John, who had been the chairman of ‘The Press” for 24 years, keep 888 square metres of the garden and made it into the Mandeville Reserve and gifted it to the people of Riccarton Borough.  Riccarton officially became a part of Christchurch city in 1989.

Chinaman’s Lane was renamed in 1859 to Mandeville Road.  Canterbury Association Member, William Drogo Montagu was Viscount Mandeville.  He owned 350 acres of Riccarton land which was known as Lord Mandeville’s Swamp.  The term of Mandeville Road was made official in 1887 but in 1917, the term ‘road’ was dropped and renamed as Mandeville Street.

*Photo of Oakford’s demolition courtesy of Riccarton: The founding Borough by Ian McBride*
*Photos of Oakford courtesy of http://canterburyheritage.blogspot.co.nz/ *
*Photo of Mandeville Reserve taken by Annette Bulovic*

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