Front Part of House Sledged from around Lake Horowhenua

The small front part of the house at Number 3 Mabel Street, recently demolished was sledged from around Lake Horowhenua in 1905.

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It had been owned by a sawmiller as a worker’s cottage and was shifted by Mr Pringle, a builder.

This was the information told by her parents to Mrs Betty Drake. The cottage had been bought by, and shifted for, Mr Edward and Mrs Annie Marsh who, with two daughters, had come out from England. 

Originally the cottage had four rooms, but when additions were made it was altered to two average size rooms. Three additions were made over the years. 

The family, with another two daughters, lived on in the house.  When daughter, Miss Betty married, the property was transferred to her. As Mrs Betty Drake, she and her husband, Mr Dudley Drake, their daughter, and Betty’s mother, occupied the house. 

The property was sold to Messrs Sissons and Sim in 1977, and was rented until recently. 

The demolition shows how the sledge was built.  Two skids, 10 inch by four inch, and 25 feet long were beautifully shaped with an adze at the fronts from bottom to top so that the runners would not dig in.  A craftsman then could shape timber with an adze almost as smooth as a woodworking plane.   There were 14 cross struts joined in with half dovetail joints, all being very accurately cut in. 

Rollers for final adjustment were used and left under the runners.  The sledge was left under as the foundation.  Only about one inch of one runner at the bottom had rotted after 80 years on the ground.  The rollers, though soft, had not collapsed.  The timber used must have been of excellent quality.

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Front Part of House Sledged from around Lake Horowhenua


Creator:Corrie Swanwick
Creation date:29/06/1985
Publisher:The Chronicle

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Front Part of House Sledged from around Lake Horowhenua by Pippa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License