Topic: Ferrymead Cob Cottage

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Cement/whitewash rendered cob (or sod) cottage located on the Main Road near the Ferrymead Bridge, Ferrymead

Sod Cottage, FerrymeadBuilt by James Penfold at Ferrymead during the early 1860s, this single storeyed cob cottage, is a good example of the type of homes that Canterbury's first settlers built for themselves.

Originally built with earth blocks (some 3 ft in depth), these were reputedly sods cut from the Heathcote riverbank, but could equally have been mud bricks or cob. Penfold built the cottage on land at Ferrymead that appears to have been owned by an absentee landlord. The original sod cottage
consisted of two rooms with a loft, and a wooden lean-to at the rear of the cottage.

The Penfold family lived in the house until about 1878 when they moved to the Southbridge district following the opening of the Southbridge branch line. A deed exists dated 17 September 1870 that mentions a lease for James Penfold to contract 'to build and complete a sod house with at least two rooms’.

Penfold had been an employee of the Railways and was involved in bringing sleepers from Pigeon Bay for the Ferrymead-Christchurch line (1863), and worked on the construction of the Lyttelton tunnel (1860-67).

After the Penfolds left, the cottage was occupied in succession by a series of families until about 1908 when it was abandoned, and then left to deteriorate until the early 1940s. By this stage very little remained - a fireplace surround and some sods in the back wall. Between 1940 and 1944 the cottage was rebuilt by former dairy farmer Mr Ernest Parish with assistance from members of the Mt. Pleasant Burgesses' Association and the Mt. Pleasant Boating Club (who leased the site). The loft, lean-to, and partition wall were not rebuilt. The cottage roof was thatched, and lattice-glazed windows (that had supposedly been removed from J. R. Godley's former house in Lyttelton around 1900) were installed.

This reconstructed cottage was officially opened on 16 December 1944, with a crowd of 7,000 in attendance.

Scott Brothers Ltd., the then owner of the building, gave it and 8903 square metres of land (now known as Scott Park) to the Christchurch City Council in 1946. In 1948 Parish would once again reconstruct the cottage after it was badly damaged by fire. He continued to care for the building, opening it to the public on a regular basis, until his death in 1969.During this time the roof was recovered in shingles. In the 1980s and 1990s more restoration work was undertaken by the Council which included replacement of the windows.

The cottage was damaged in the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes.


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Ferrymead Cob Cottage

City:Ferrymead, Christchurch