Mill House’s historic significance recognised

Mill House owner Richard Ashford and Ashburton Mayor Donna Favel at Mill House.
Photo Sue Newman


An Ashburton building that has for many years been a local landmark, was this week recognised as one of the district’s buildings of historic significance.

Mill House was built in 1912 as home for the family of Derisley Wood, manager of the neighbouring Canterbury Roller Flour Mill.

The mill itself was established in 1873 and bought by the Wood brothers in 1900.

On Wednesday it was recognised by Heritage Mid Canterbury as a building of local historic value and a blue plaque acknowledging this was unveiled by Ashburton Mayor Donna Favel.

The blue plaques are a Heritage Mid Canterbury initiative.

They give a short history of the historic building, informing locals and visitors about its particular historical significance.

The idea aimed to increase the prominence of Ashburton’s historic buildings, encourage awareness of local history and support the retention of existing heritage assets. The idea was inspired by a similar scheme in London.

Today Mill House is owned by Elizabeth and Richard Ashford and is used as a cafe and craft shop.

Mill House was the second manager’s house to be built on the site and originally featured a darkroom library, dining room, drawing room and study on the ground floor.

Upstairs there were five bedrooms with two bedrooms for servants.

Native wood panelling was extensively used on the interior and the exterior is of vertical board and batten on the ground floor with stuccoed upper storey.

As part of recent earthquake strengthening, heavy Marseilles roof tiles were replaced with light corrugated iron roofing.

The Ashford family bought Mill House in 1970 and, as part of its second life, a craft shop was opened in 1981 and a cafe in 1986.

The house was designed by England brothers in the arts and crafts style.

It was built by local builders J Smith and Son who also built the Ashburton Glassworks and the Church of the Holy Name.

– By Sue Newman