Shelbourne Villa is situated in what is now the central part of Nelson City,on the northwest corner of Nelson’s Town Acre 484. Town Acre 484 itself is sited in an area that formed part of the original sub-division of land for Nelson's first European Settlers.
When the New Zealand Company established Nelson, property owners were granted an acre in the centre town, forty acres of suburban land on the out-skirts of Nelson and a larger holding in the country-side. Each Town Acre was intended to support a household, inclusive of the era’s normal mode of transport, the family horse!
Town Acre 484 was granted on 1 June 1854, to Henry Hubert Swinford, a Cooper, of Middlesex, England. Nelson property records indicate the Acre was sold to a Mr. Blundell in 1857 and to Joseph Webb, a Clothier, in 1863. It appears that the Acre remained unoccupied until 1868, when Webb sub-divided it and sold half on the Shelbourne Street side, together with a 25-foot wide strip through to Collingwood Street, alongside Town Acre 486, to Alfred Oakley, a Professor of Music. A section on Collingwood, beside the 25-foot strip was sold to a Mr. Bond, in 1869. This section, and the 25-foot strip, now comprises 170 Collingwood Street, directly behind Shelbourne Villa. The 1870 records indicate that a cottage was being built on Bond’s section. In 1874, George Haslam, a Printer purchased a section from Webb. A cottage was mentioned in the rates records of 1875. This section is now 172 Collingwood Street, and a piece at the rear is now part of Shelbourne Villa’s garden.
The Shelbourne Street side of Town Acre 484 remained unoccupied. It’s proximity to the over-crowded Nelson Goal, on the site of of a present day low-rise apartment complex, from 1850 until 1901, probably rendered the land undesirable for residential occupation. In 1905, the land, along with the 25-foot wide strip through to Collingwood Street, was purchased as grounds for a Girl’s School that was built on the site of the Goal.
In 1926 the Girl’s School was closed and the building became offices for the Education Board. A sub-divided parcel of land, corresponding roughly to the present Shelbourne Villa property, together with the strip through to Collingwood Street, was sold to George Reynolds Griffin in 1928. At that time the house that has become known as Shelbourne Villa, was built. Griffin sold it to Beatrix Jane Hudson, a widow, in 1929. In 1933 the estate of Beatrix Hudson was transmitted to George Glasgow, Solicitor and Frank Hudson, Medical Practitioner, as Executors, and transferred a few days later to Godiva Hudson, Spinster. In 1935 the property was transferred to Frank Hudson. In 1948 Hudson re-purchased the rear piece of 172 Collingwood Street.
In 1956, the twenty-five foot strip of land running through to Collingwood Street was sold to William Henry Galbraith. In November the remaining land was transferred to George Martin Wansbone, a bookseller and newsagent. He had the property surveyed to its present boundaries.
In 1966, the property was transmitted to Helen Wansbone, widow, and then in October 1976, to Charles William Cameron, Medical Practitioner. Dr Cameron practised from rooms on the lower floor of the house. In January, 1982, the property was sold to Naomi McElwee, widow.
In 1987, the property was taken over by the Government of New Zealand, to accommodate the Education of Education's Physiological Services. When the Education Department Offices located in the old Girl's School were sold to Developers, 21 Shelbourne Street again passed into private hands. The previous owners, Glenn and Renee Schaeffer purchased it in 1998. Under their ownership the house was extensively renovated and the Loft added – the property became Shelbourne Villa Bed and Breakfast.
Val and Wayne purchased the property from the Schaeffer’s in early 2004.
As you have seen, the Shelbourne Villa site has an interesting and varied history, dating from the original mapping and sub-division of Nelson for early settlers; however, the most notable fact is, that over the years, the site boundaries have been "some-what fluid".