‘The Venetian blind was pulled down but not drawn close. Long pencil rays of sunlight shone through and the wavy shadow of a bush outside danced on the gold lines.’ Prelude
Katherine Mansfield's father, Harold Beauchamp, built a house for his family in Thorndon. Three generations of the Beauchamp family lived together here from 1888 to 1893: Katherine Mansfield; her maternal grandmother, Grannie Dryer; aunts, Bell and Kity; mother and father, Annie and Harold; and sisters, Vera and Charlotte, all lived together in the modest two story house.
The house was returned to its original layout and design in the 1980s when the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society was established by Oroya Day.The restoration project was a significant undertaking. The house had been chopped about and changed over the years but thankfully some lovely original features, such as the bamboo style banisters, remained largely intact, and scraps of wallpaper were found that enabled their reproduction.
Inside the house you will find some items that once belonged to the Beauchamps: chairs that belonged to Katherine Mansfield’s mother; her father's desk and other decorative arts from the period. The Society also has in its care items that belonged to Katherine Mansfield.
‘The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind’
The heritage garden is full of flowers and plants that were popular during the lifetime of Katherine Mansfield. She was tremendously fond of flowers and mentioned them often in her writings.
The House & Garden has a special garden-party plant sale every year on the first Sunday in December, the same day as the Thorndon Fair.
The garden is listed with the New Zealand Gardens Trust.