Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Edward Bartley - The Formative Years

Family researchers and students often contact our archive looking for background information which gives context to the bald data of their source material.
Today I post an extract from our earlier publication Colonial Architect. The information presented here is relevant to both Robert and Edward Bartley researchers seeking to understand their ancestors immigration and settlement in New Zealand, and to those whose interest area relates to the development of early Auckland.
St Helier Harbour, Jersey,Channel Islands image from BFA Postcard collection

The environment and attitudes of Europe in the Victorian Age were to have a lasting effect on Edward Bartley. His formative years were spent in the Channel Islands in a close family environment. He was born in 1839 in the Channel Islands parish of St Helier, Jersey. The Islands were, and still are today, a dependency of the British Crown but not of the British parliament. Their peculiar independent status stemmed from an historical connection with the Duchy of Normandy. The local dialect of Jersiaise is a derivative of that Norman French.
Edward was one of a large family of twelve children. A strong sense of duty and service to community was instilled in all ten surviving children, as they were raised according to the strict Methodist principles of their parents. The Bartley children, like many of their fellow parishioners, were a typical mixture of English and native Channel Islands stock. Schooling and business were conducted in Jersiaise. They lived in a tight-knit local community but had family connections on the island of Guernsey, in England, Europe and in America.
The family home was in Union Court, St Helier- a short lane running off the North side of Union Street. Their home was designed and built by their father, one of several houses in the development of the Court. The Bartley children were well educated, according to the standards of the day. Edward received a solid grounding in drawing, drafting, music and calculation, in addition to the languages, classics and mathematics. He had also acquired a taste for the new science and technologies, which were developing swiftly at that time. In particular the advancements made in the development of the microscope, and in photography, continued to interest him all his life.
Edward was apprenticed to his father, a builder/ architect, at the age of 13. In this he followed his eldest brother, Robert, who was already qualified as a master builder. Two years later he left Jersey, having acquired some work experience and the saleable skills of building and carpentry.
The family’s decision for some members to leave the Islands followed an earlier pattern. An elder married sister, Eliza, left for Australia around 1850. Other cousins and in-laws had settled in America. The local economy was flat, with no further large public building projects being considered. Their father was of an age to retire. He had also contracted tuberculosis, a disease which had already claimed several family members. Emmigration was always a viable option, whether for physical or economic wellbeing. Even the longest sea journey was an attractive proposition with the right inducement.
Edward was fortunate to travel with his eldest brother Robert, a married man, with several children. There were a number of likely destinations available to the family, but the possibility of land grants to approved settlers may have tipped the balance in favour of New Zealand. The Provincial Government of Auckland was keen to attract immigrants and had begun advertising in the British Isles a scheme of free grants of land in the Province. The rate of entitlement for Cabin passengers was one half the sum outlayed in passage money. Robert and Esther bought passage for their family, Esther's sister and Edward, under this scheme. Leaving in June, from England, on board the Joseph Fletcher, the Bartley family arrived in Auckland in October 1854. They must have felt their decision a timely one. In March of that year conditions in Europe had deteriorated further, leading ultimately to the British declaration of war against Russia.
Auckland in 1854 was no sophisticated port settlement.  In the absence of a wharf, the ships anchored in midstream. Passengers and goods were transferred to lighters and run ashore on to the beach to disembark. In some weathers this could be a hazardous and nerve wracking end to a long sea journey, especially for parents of young children who had been penned up for several months.
Edward had worked primarily as an apprentice carpenter and joiner on Jersey. Robert had been employed on a number of large projects there, where the majority of new buildings were constructed from the plentiful local stone. However, the builders waiting at Auckland for the arrival of the Joseph Fletcher that October were keen to acquire skilled labour for a very different kind of construction. Here they were concerned with building entirely in wood, from the very foundations on up. Men with good training who could quickly adapt to colonial methods were desperately needed- men who were not above dressing their own timber in order to get the job done. It was hard physical work that was waiting and there was plenty of it.
Edward's sketch of the first Auckland Prison and Gallows illustrates the contrast in environment between St Helier and Auckland

Edward later recalled how strange the work seemed to him, used to the more delicate work of cabinetmaking. He and his brother were employed by the builder Mr A Black to construct a block of five two-storey shops at the corner of Queen and Victoria St East. There were no timber mills supplying dressed timber. At this time all the boards had to be planed and the tongue and groove worked by hand. The men worked a twelve hour day.
In 1855 when William Griffin, the Chartist activist, called the first public meeting of the Eight Hour Movement in Auckland Edward and a co-worker William Philcox were in attendance. They became instrumental in organising carpenters to be one of the first trades to take action in support of an eight hour day. Employers were given six months notice of their intention to work eight hours instead of twelve. This gentlemanly consideration was given to prevent the disruption of contracts already tendered for. The Chartist principles and the disturbances they occasioned in Britain had left a deep impression on the young Edward growing up in Jersey. Over the years he continued his association with the Eight Hour Movement, working on the committee and attending the annual soiree and the later picnics on Regatta Day.
By 1857 Edward was working with Mr Edmund Israel Matthews. Mr Matthews had come to New Zealand about 1848 with the Department of Royal Engineers. This former Clerk of Works had retired from service to conduct business on his own behalf as a contractor. His contacts and reliability ensured him the lion’s share of Government work. Edward was now 18 years of age. In that year work began on the Mt Eden Gaol, under the supervision of architect Mr Reader Wood.[i] Mr Matthews, with Edward under his wing, was one of the contractors involved in the construction.
Edward's later career owed a great deal to the guidance of Edmund Matthews. He introduced Edward to the superior methods and systems of the Royal Engineers. He also facilitated Edward's access to the latest developments in engineering and construction through his influential connections in provincial government and the military.
Two years later, in February 1859, Edward married Elizabeth Hannken. Elizabeth’s family had come to New Zealand in 1840, settling first in Coromandel before coming to Auckland. Both the Hannken’s and the Bartley’s worshipped at the High St Chapel and her grandmother was from a Jersey family. Edward and Elizabeth shared an interest in music and had both joined the new Auckland Choral Society. The young couple made their home in Union St, becoming owners of part of the original Hannken property there. [ii]
 In 1858 the Militia Act had divided the country into military districts and a system of ballot was introduced. Allowances were made, however, for men to substitute service in volunteer companies in satisfaction of their militia duties. A great number, including Edward, did so. He became a member of the Royal Rifle Company of Volunteers. Part of his employment in this year was work on the construction of the Whau blockhouse, situated in the area now called Blockhouse Bay. Colonel Mould, of the Royal Engineers, designed the building and was careful to acquire the most strategic site. Set above the harbour it was constructed to monitor and defend the traditional route from the Whau estuary to the Manukau. The payments to E. I. Matthews dated from 14 April 1860 until 9 June 1860.
By this time the population of Auckland had grown to approximately 8000 people.
Improvements had been made in the main commercial area of Shortland St and amenities provided where they coincided with the requirements of the government and the military. Elsewhere the streets were narrow, dusty in summer and a quagmire in the winter. Fire had destroyed much of the High St area in 1858, resulting in a shift towards development of Queen St. At that time Queen St was definitely not a prestigious location. It was divided by the tidal Horutu Creek, which ran down the middle of the street. Known locally as the Ligar Canal, this foetid waterway served as a sewer and a drain for adjacent properties, meeting the sea in a swampy area at the beach. The creek was mostly boarded over with planks by the 1860s, but still a hazard to health and personal safety.
As early as February 1854 there had been petitions and complaints registered against the continued use of wooden construction in the town.[iii] Fire was an ever- present threat and Auckland was without adequate water or facilities to fight back. Most Auckland streets contained rows of small wooden dwellings packed close together alongside workshops, mills, smithies and commercial premises. Apart from the fire risk there were serious public health issues to contend with as the population increased. Sanitation services were rudimentary and infant mortality was high.
In the absence of any cohesive town planning, construction went on in wood, much as before, with gradual expansion of businesses into previously undeveloped sites.
One of these new commercial buildings was the Auckland Savings Bank. The project had already experienced a good deal of delay and dissension before Mr Matthews won the contract for construction with a deadline of March 1862. The architect was, by then, Mr Reader Wood. In May a boundary dispute arose which stopped work and required the intervention of the Surveyor Mr Charles Heaphy. The Daily Southern Cross reported in August that the work on completing the building had been done in a creditable manner:[iv] This despite some debate on the standard of workmanship and the delay in it’s completion. Nevertheless the Bank Trustees deducted from their final payment to Mr Matthews a sum equivalent to the three months’ rent the bank had had to pay for its’ temporary accommodation. This experience may well have coloured Edward’s views on the relative bargaining positions of the contractor, the architect and the client. At this time there were no standard terms and conditions in building contracts. Much was assumed to be understood between the parties who worked together regularly in such a close environment. A specific out-clause for liability for time and cost over-runs was obviously not part of Mr Matthew’s protection in this case.
By 1862 Edward was a foreman, engaged with Mr Matthews in demolishing the original St Paul’s Anglican Church in Emily Place. The front gable and tower were left intact and the Church was replaced by a new design by Colonel Mould.[v] Edward particularly admired the design and construction of the roof principles. The building was, he felt, an example of true Gothic Architecture. [vi]   
Building work continued in Auckland while the atmosphere in the town became increasingly tense. The Waikato was only 40 miles away. Many settlers were sending their families into Auckland for their safety. The Volunteers were attending regular training and assisted in manning the Domain Blockhouse against surprise attack.
When the war broke out in July 1863 Orderly-Sergeant Edward Bartley of the No. 5 Militia was ordered to the Front. His active service was short lived. Eleven tradesmen were required to return to complete the Fort Britomart stores, as capacity was fast being outstripped by demand. Edward returned to town and set to work.
In 1865 Mr Matthews and Edward entered into a partnership. Edward was 26 years old and the father of three young children. He may have been able to bring some capital into the business by this stage, but the economic climate was not favourable to the building industry at this time. The military and immigration-led strength in the local economy was waning, making it a difficult time for any financial commitment. The capital city had been removed from Auckland in February, with the attendant loss of personnel and Government contracts. The gold fields of the South continued to pull people away to those areas of the country with more promise of wealth and few native concerns. The removal of the bulk of British troops was now clearly inevitable, no matter how much decried by the Auckland businessmen and speculators. Their partnership, however, seemed fortunate in securing regular engagements.
Matthew & Bartley, Builders traded from the Matthews Seering Hall in Grey Street, with further premises on Elliot Street.[vii] In later years Edward recalled working on the Wesleyan Church in Pitt St. It was completed and opened in October 1866. An inspection of the trust accounts for the Pitt St Church revealed no payments to Matthews & Bartley. It is likely, therefore, that they were sub-contractors to H White, the head contractor on the project, who managed the construction for the architect Mr Herepath. The foundation work for this building was huge and expensive but the building was finished on time, in less than twelve months.
Wesleyan Church, Pitt St, Auckland

The Supreme Court building was another early contract. This building had been started in 1863. The original builders were Amos & Taylor, working to the design of the architect Edward Rumsey. The building had been much criticised in the press, not only for the design but for the interior arrangements as well.[viii]  The services of Amos & Taylor had been dispensed with midway through the construction with acrimony on all sides. Edward later recalled the first payment from this contract came on April 27 1867 and the last in January 1868. This indicates that Matthews & Bartley were involved in the later stages of construction, probably as sub-contractors, from about March of 1867. The building continued to receive unfavourable press in the years to follow.[ix]

Supreme Court, now High Court Auckland

It was about this time that Edward met Anton Teutenberg, a trained engraver who had arrived in Auckland in July 1866 on the Rob Roy with his sisters and his nephew. Teutenberg's brother was already in New Zealand and well known in the Auckland Prussian community. On the voyage out Anton had passed the time with some carving and decorative work for the captain of the ship. Some of these examples of his craftsmanship were shown to the architect Mr Rumsey. This led to his being asked to provide a sample of work in stone  which was accepted, bringing him a commission to work on the heads and gargoyles for the Supreme Court.
Decorative carving detail, Supreme Court Auckland

Edward evidently admired the talents of this young man, maintaining a close business association with him for many years. After Anton opened his own engraving business in Auckland, in 1867, he continued to provide carving for Edward’s buildings. The best known of his later work was the elaborate pulpit and window decorations for St John’s Methodist Church Ponsonby.
February 1870 saw Edward moving to a greater degree of independence with the lease of offices in Albert St, on his own behalf. It was at about this time that he began to apply for purely architectural work in addition to tendering for available building contracts. About June 1872 he moved his growing family to a new home at The Strand, North Shore[x], later building his own home in Victoria Road, Devonport.

[i] Reader Wood trained in Leicester with William Flint, architect and surveyor. He arrived in Auckland in 1844. After serving in the North with the Volunteer Militia he served as Inspector of Roads and Deputy Surveyor General until 1856 when he turned to private practice as an architect and a career in politics as Member for Parnell.
[ii] Allottment 22, section 42, part of. Edward was still resident there in 1871. Refer Auckland Provincial Government Gazette Electoral Roll for West Ward #3 1863
[iii] Refer The New Zealander 11 February 1854
[iv] The Daily Southern Cross August 1862
[v] Colonel Mould was a man of many talents. Active in the Taranaki, he returned to Auckland and set       about organising recruitment, as well as supervising the provision of more satisfactory roads, which were so essential for improving troop movement to the Waikato
[vi] Reminiscences of Edward Bartley. Unpublished Manuscript. Bartley Family Archive
[vii] Auckland Directory 1866-67
[viii] New Zealand Herald 10 May 1865
[ix] New Zealand Herald 11 April 1871
[x] now Queen's Parade, Devonport