Lower Hutt Station (now Western Hutt)
ArchitectureLower Hutt is a singe-storey timber-framed and clad structure with a tiled roof, and corrugated iron over the verandah. The centrally-located entrance on the road elevation is defined by an ogee-shaped dome and tower. The informal arrangement of gables, doors and windows and the remaining decorative half-timbering display the influence of then-fashionable English Domestic Revival architecture. There are twin gables at the south end of the road elevation and another with a bay window to the north. The converted interior now has little of its original character left, save the timber floor (now partially concrete) and door and window joinery. The platform elevation is relatively unadorned, punctuated by windows (presently boarded up) and doors.
HistorySited on the original main line from Wellington to the Wairarapa, Lower Hutt was built in 1905. It replaced an earlier station (date unknown) and cost an estimated £4000 to complete. The provision of a new station reflected Lower Hutt's rapid growth at the turn of the century. The station was sited some way from the town centre, and from time to time efforts were made to move the line closer. It suffered a major loss of status in 1954 when the Taita deviation opened, reducing the Petone-Lower Hutt-Melling line to a branch line. In 1965 a new station was proposed, but never pursued. Rationalisation of railway services in later years led to the closing of the station building; it has since been converted into a brewery and bar, although the platform and verandah are still used by Melling line passengers.
Architectural SignificanceDespite some unfortunate interior and exterior alterations, Lower Hutt remains one of the finest larger wooden stations. Attractively detailed and picturesque, this station and its counterparts (of which perhaps ten survive) are the closest New Zealand came to matching the elaborate stations in England.
Historical SignificanceLower Hurt station is a reminder of the important role the railway played as a link between Wellington and the Hutt and beyond, to the Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay. It is also a rare but evocative reminder of the part rail travel played in Edwardian New Zealand.
Town / Landscape ValueOnce splendidly isolated, this station has now been almost completely surrounded by the buildings of the Station Village and has lost much of its impact on the streetscape around Railway Avenue. It remains a prominent feature from Western Hutt Road (SH2).