Saturday, November 1, 2008

Archibald Hitchins Spicer: peacocks and school slates

I can't add much more to the story of A. H. Spicer from what has already been published online (unfortunately, the website no longer exists - update April 2018). He was also an early uncertified teacher at the Whau School in the Presbyterian Church before the school regained Provincial Council funding after 1865, and most of his property at Avondale was purchased by Benjamin Gittos under equity of redemption when Spicer nearly defaulted on mortgages.

From the site linked above:
"He purchased a property of about ten acres which he named "Glenlaveroch". It was situated near the corner of Blockhouse Bay and New North Road, which was then dangerously far from any centre of settlement. The house was a fine one for the times, with a hipped roof of corrugated iron. No lead was used on the roof as it was feared (being the time of the Waikato Wars) that the Maori would strip the lead for making bullets.

The property was laid out in gardens, with flower beds, and peacocks walking about. There were household servants. Archie employed a groom to drive him into the office in the "dog-cart". The house was still standing in the 1930's.

Unfortunately Archie's circumstances changed. He lost his position at the Customs Office and became ill. The family returned to live in Auckland. Archie spent his final sixteen years working as a clerk in the Deeds Office. His fine writing can be found in the old ledgers."

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