View of a man, a woman, a boy, a saddled horse and several dogs outside the entrance to Melrose House. Watts House. Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection: 178628.

Throwback Thursday: Melrose House

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The beautiful house on the hill was built for Charles Fowell Willett Watts and his his family around 1876.

Charles surveyed the Brook, Maitai and Takaka Valleys for the New Zealand Company and in 1844 he even forged a route to the Wairau Valley.

The house is more than likely named after Melrose Place in Clifton where Charles’ daughter Flora was born. Flora died after living only a short 11 years and it is believed that the name was a tribute to her.

 

[twentytwenty]View of a man, a woman, a boy, a saddled horse and several dogs outside the entrance to Melrose House.<br /> Watts House. Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection: 178628.throwback thursday melrose house after/now[/twentytwenty]

 

Now, the view of rolling hills in the background is blocked by the now mature tress that sprouted up over the years.

Charles’ other daughter, Frances, married Percy Bolland Adams-Percy who was a Nelson lawyer. The pair succeeded Charles and ran Melrose after his death in 1881.

Melrose was gifted to the Womens Division of the Farmer’s Union in 1944 to create a rest home for women from out of town to stay in before and after giving birth or for local women who needed a break from busy farm life.

After 29 years, Melrose was relinquished and offered to Nelsonians, the offer was initially declined by the council but later accepted in 1975.

Today Melrose is still a popular spot, hosting a cafe as well as many weddings, celebrations and functions.