Former 1860s blacksmith's home- turned 'fairytale cottage' for sale –

Jamie Wood often picks up bits of horseshoe while digging in his garden – a reminder of his Canterbury home’s rich history as the original blacksmith’s residence.
After years of research, Wood has put together a comprehensive 11-page document detailing the 1860’s home’s history, which is available to prospective buyers now that he and his wife, Tess Cole, are selling the Lincoln, Selwyn home.
The section at 14 William Street, was first purchased by blacksmith Keith Forbes Gray in 1865 for £15, and was sold on to blacksmiths William Keith Watson and George Johnston (Gray’s former business partners) for £140 just over a year later.
The jump in price is most likely due to the home and smithery having been constructed in the interim.
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A photo from the 1940s shows the original L-shaped blacksmith workshop still in situ, although it had been demolished by 1963.
The property was in use as a blacksmith’s at least until 1926, when a newspaper article indicates that TJ Keast bought the premises to set up as a builder and contractor.
“He also intends to do wheelwrighting, painting, decorating and plumbing work, and is prepared to install hot water systems,” the article states.
Wood and Cole have been living in the home since 2017, joined by their now one-year-old son last year. They both work in science research and have a fascination for history: Wood has worked in palaeoecology, and Cole studying ancient DNA.
Wood believes it is the oldest house in Lincoln, pre-dating the better known Liffey Cottage, which was built in 1875 and is shown as an example of a “workingman’s cottage”.
He says visitors to the house are “amazed”.
“It’s the sort house you would see in a fairytale, with its design – dormer windows, slanted roof and very colourful,” he says. “It’s the sort of house that people will just fall in love with.”
The two-storey cottage has three bedrooms, master with walk-in wardrobe, an open plan kitchen and living room, and an established cottage garden on a quarter acre section (1012 square metres).
It has original timbers throughout, including Baltic pine, kauri and rimu, and pitched ceilings in the kitchen, bathroom, and upstairs bedrooms.
Wood has detailed the improvements made in the past five years, including:
Wood said although he was sad to sell the home, he and Cole had “had a couple of years to enjoy it in its current state”.
The couple is moving to Adelaide, South Australia, to be near Cole’s family while their son is young.
When they bought the house, they had wanted a project and “something that had history”.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We both kind of fell in love with it when we saw it,” Wood says. “Since we both really like the past, having that history and the character of an old house has made it enjoyable.
“Every time we plant a tree in the yard or dig a hole we find lumps of metal left over from the furnace.”
They have a framed display of pieces of horseshoe found in the garden.
Wood says locals have shown interest in the building and both he and Cole are members of the Lincoln and Districts Historical Society. “We’ve written an article for their newsletter and had the society around for people to look through the property.”
The home covers 136sqm on the 1012sqm section. It has a 2021 RV of $730,000 and its current price estimate is $905,000.
Wood says he has no price expectation “because it’s so unique”.
The property is being marketed by Jan Green, of Harcourts Four Seasons Realty Lincoln, and will be auctioned on March 9, unless sold prior.
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