Your guide to events in Nelson, New Zealand
Isel House, the Stoke home of the Marsden family, was built about 160 years ago. Initially it consisted of a four room cottage, but over a 67 year period Samuel Marsden developed the house into the two-storey homestead as it stands today. Isel Park which surrounds the house includes some of patriarch Thomas Marsden’s original plantings, and is all that remains of his large farm. Marriage ceremonies are often celebrated in the park. In the summer, the committee often organises tours of the park and Sunday afternoons of band music.
Owned by the Nelson City Council, the house is managed by a charitable Trust which oversees repairs, maintenance and public access. In the past ten years the house has been structurally strengthened and earthquake-proofed, has received a new roof and guttering in the original style, and has been restored in layers of history, reflected in the ornate style of the Victorian era to the modernist style of the 1950s and today. Large doorways, a lovingly carved stairway and striking wood panelling echo the Victorians’ love of decorative excess. The house has received several awards, such as ACENZ for earthquake strengthening, and was a finalist in the 2011 Museums Awards.
Isel House is not just an ordinary museum-type of homestead with static displays to be viewed over a velvet rope. Instead, it speaks as an integral part of an original family and its place in the township of Stoke, and has important, creative, and thought-provoking stories to tell.
The house is open by donation to visitors throughout the summer, Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm, in the month of May weekends only and is closed from May to October, although it can be viewed by appointment, phone 547 5222.
Nelson & suburbs
Isel Park, Main Road, Stoke