Maxwell House soon to go on market

22:25, Mar 20 2014
Maxwell House
John Ryan outside his historic home "Maxwell House" in central Blenheim

A historic house in Blenheim may soon change hands.

Maxwell House on Maxwell Rd has a rich history dating back to 1873.

The owners since 2001, John and Barbara Ryan, said they love the property, which they operate as a bed and breakfast, but they are in the process of putting it on the market.

Maxwell House
Original owners : Mrs Emma Stratford, Mr Edmund Stratford, their son and driver in Blenheim on March 18, 1907

The property has been recognised by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the outer appearance must not be changed, Barbara Ryan said.

The property was first owned by the Stratford family. On May 29, 1869, Edmund Stratford started to clear the land to build the house, pulling out fruit trees and shrubs which he advertised for sale in the Public Notices in the Marlborough Express. His family moved into the completed house in 1873 and lived there until 1877.

"It has been amazing to discover the rich history of this house. You just know when you walk into the dining room with the doors out into the garden that many generations had happy gatherings here," she said.


The furniture in the dining room and the two downstairs bedrooms has been passed on with the house and will be passed on to the next owners when it is sold.

The carved wooden staircase is a real feature of the house.

"Many brides have loved coming down those stairs in their dresses with their family waiting at the bottom of the stairs," Mrs Ryan said.

The most well-known owners of the property were the Murphy sisters - the home was referred to as "The Murphy's" until they sold it in 1981. The house was then used by a building contractor as a hostel and dance studio before becoming a family home again in 1990. The house has been restored to its former glory, in keeping with the Victorian period.

The mature garden includes a 100-year-old mulberry tree.

"We unfortunately had to cut it back to open the side walk at council's request, so many older ladies who have been eating its fruit since they were children can now no longer reach them, but we try and help," she said.

The Marlborough Express