For some, it’s a matter of not wanting to lose business by scaring away customers with stories of ghosts. For others, like churches and places of religion and belief, it is always a forbidden subject (even frowned upon, in some cases). Others are sceptics and “don’t want to entertain that kind of rubbish”. (an actual quote from a location owner I wrote to) For some it’s a simple matter of health and safety. Many buildings are old and weak in structure, so it just isn’t worth risking injury or life by allowing someone into your derelict old building.
The two buildings below I have been watching for well over a decade. The St Stephens House at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road, Parnell. In that time both houses have stood empty with every window well boarded up tight and the doors dead-bolted secure.
I’ve repeatedly asked for permission to gain access to document the interior and been rejected every time. The two houses are both owned by the Holy Trinity Cathedral Trust Board.
The St Stephens House has a local reputation of potentially being haunted. There are ‘urban-myth’ type claims of seeing shadows moving around; a person seen standing in a top floor window, the movement of curtains as if someone was looking out, voices and talking heard at night by a person out walking his dog, bangs and sounds of footsteps on wooden floorboards etc. Activity has been mentioned to me a few times over the past decade, which I will admit has been fascinating to hear and definitely intriguing; yet frustrating due the inability to go in to try and experience or document these apparent spooky residents for myself.
The two houses are due to be demolished any day now. Another ‘strike out’ for the progression of paranormal research. Ah well, I tried; and at least I have a few years-worth of exterior photographs I have taken whilst visiting the area.
If anyone does happen to have any interior photos of the houses in their current derelict and empty state, I’d love to see them. I also find it somewhat ironic and nonsensical that there are protected trees on the property, that will be looked after, whilst the two (equally as old, maybe even older) houses are being demolished.
From an online article; “The Very Reverend Anne Mills, Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Parnell, has informed that Waitematā Local Board that the two wooden houses standing next to the Cathedral at 9 Saint Stephens Avenue and 1A Brighton Road will be demolished. Work at the site commences on 23 April 2019.
The Cathedral Trust Board and Holy Trinity Cathedral are creating an endowment fund to meet the need for long-term, sustainable funding for maintenance of the Cathedral, surrounding buildings and grounds. The creation of this fund will be funded by the ground lease or outright sale of the land the houses sit on.
Dean Mills reports that annual maintenance of the Cathedral, buildings and grounds costs over $300,000 and this will only continue to increase. Major maintenance projects such as the planned re-roofing of Saint Mary’s Church will also need to be covered.
The Cathedral and Trust Board worked to have the land on which the houses sit re-zoned as Terraced Housing and Apartment Building (THAB) under the Unitary Plan. Following that re-zoning, they obtained a Code of Compliance Certificate with an option to demolish or relocate the two buildings on the site.
The buildings are not listed as heritage buildings and the Trust have assessed them as economically infeasible to refurbish to a commercial standard on-site.
Following negotiations with private buyers to sell the two buildings for renovation and relocation, all parties have come to the conclusion that the size and structure of the buildings make relocation too expensive, so the decision has been made to demolish the buildings.
The project to prepare the land for sale may include the removal of some vegetation and trees at the site but none of the 17 protected trees in the Cathedral precinct, including the impressive Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) believed to have been planted in 1898 at the street frontage of 9 Saint Stephens Avenue, will be affected and management plans are in place for these protected trees.”
Recent photos of 9 Saint Stephens Avenue, Parnell
Recent photos of 1A Brighton Road, Parnell
For more photos of both buildings taken during 2015 / 2017 see HERE