Katherine Mansfield House & Garden, Wellington, New Zealand

Website: https://www.katherinemansfield.com/

Physical address: 25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington

Phone number: +64 4 473 7268

Business hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am-4pm. Closed Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas Day

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NEW ZEALAND’S most internationally acclaimed writer, Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp (who wrote under the name Katherine Mansfield), was born in the nation’s capital, Wellington, in October 1888. Stifled by the colonial world in which she grew up, Mansfield set sail for Europe at the age of 19, but following her younger brother, Leslie’s death in World War I, it was to their shared past that her thoughts returned, and her most well-known short stories, including The Garden Party, The Doll’s House and Prelude, were reminiscences of her childhood homes.

Katherine was the middle of five children, with two older sisters and a younger sister and brother to come. She was born at 11 (now 25) Tinakori Road, Thorndon, in a house that was built for her parents and only newly completed, and two of her aunts, along with her grandmother, also lived there. With four bedrooms squeezed into a 9m x 12m space, the house was crowded, and the family moved to Karori (formerly Chesney Wold) in 1893. A larger house, also in Tinakori Road, was purchased later on, and this was closer to town where the girls attended school.

Although Mansfield once described the house where she was born as “that dark little cubby hole”, it was purchased by the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society in the 1980s and restored to its original form, opening as a museum in 1988.  Furniture belonging to the Beauchamp family, including Katherine’s father’s desk, feature in the house, along with items that once belonged to Katherine. Traces of the original wallpaper, recovered during the renovation, allowed the Society to recreate the design for use in the restored building.

Outside the house, the garden is full of flowers that were popular during Mansfield’s life, cultivated in honour of her fondness for them and mentioned often in her work.

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