Hororata's historic cob cottage, Cotons' Cottage, is open to the public again. Photo by David Hill
A slice of Canterbury heritage has been restored with the
reopening of Hororata's Cotons' Cottage last month.
Cotons' Cottage, one of the region's oldest historic
buildings, was officially reopened to the public on Saturday,
March 15, after being closed due to extensive damage from the
September 2010, 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
''The reopening is a culmination of community hard work and
love for a building that represents a rare remaining link to
Canterbury's early history,'' New Zealand Historic Places
Trust heritage destinations southern manager Paul McGahan
Following engineering advice, the cottage was deconstructed
to its foundations, with as much heritage fabric as possible
retained for reuse.
Earth restoration and building practitioner Blue Forsyth, of
Geraldine, led the restoration, ''working tirelessly in some
adverse conditions'', Mr McGahan said.
He said it was not the first time the cottage had been
rebuilt. Neglected for many years, it was rebuilt in 1977
using clay from the original cottage and the original fire
surround, mantelpiece, window-frames and door surround.
Over the years the Hororata community, particularly the
Hororata Historical Society, had played a key role in the
survival of the cottage, Mr McGahan said.
Bentley and Sarah Jane Coton bought 20ha of land in 1864 and
built the cottage with a cob mixture of local clay and
tussock. It had ''stood for 150 years as a prime example of
an early settler's farmhouse'', Mr McGahan said.
He said the cottage had played an important part in the
Hororata community over the years, including being used for
religious services prior to the district's first Anglican
church being built in 1875.
The cottage and surrounding land were gifted to the Crown in
1974 by its owners for a historic reserve.
''The fact that Hororata got so badly hit in that first
earthquake, it's a significant contribution back to the
community. Despite being a small building, it's a huge part
of the heritage fabric of the district.
''The reopening is also an important symbol of the ongoing
recovery part of Canterbury following the earthquakes.''
- by David Hill