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McLean's Mansion - Holly Lea | by Archives New Zealand
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McLean's Mansion - Holly Lea

McLean’s Mansion, a heritage-listed building situated at 387 Manchester Street in Christchurch, has recently been in the news as the McLean's Mansion Charitable Trust, the Christchurch City Council and its current owners are in discussion about the future of the building.


Originally known as Holly Lea, it was built in 1900 for Allan McLean, an early run holder, who moved to Christchurch after Waikakahi Station in South Canterbury was sold to the Liberal government for redistribution in smaller lots. The architects were brothers Robert and Edward England and the builders were William Rennie and Herbert Pearce. McLean’s residence there was short-lived; he died a bachelor aged 85 in 1907. His will entitled his housekeeper, Mrs Emily Phillips, to reside in the house for the rest of her lifetime, and established the McLean Institute, a trust to provide “a home for women of refinement and education in reduced or straitened circumstances”.


Mrs Phillips moved out in 1913, and in 1955 the trust sold the property to the government. It was initially used as a hostel for dental nurse trainees but was vacant from 1977, and sold in 1987. Due to this period of government tenure, our office holds plans and photographic negatives of the building from the Ministry of Works. Several of these items are pictured here.


Archives New Zealand Reference: CH166/1/1-5, CH166/5 (


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Uploaded on August 16, 2017