"... Allan McLean (1822-1907), one of the wealthiest men in Canterbury in his day. McLean was a bachelor who built the house with the intention that it be run as 'a home for women of refinement and education in reduced or straitened circumstances' following his death."
Holly Lea / McLean’s Mansion –
387 Manchester Street
Historical And Social Significance
Historical and social values that demonstrate or are associated with: a particular person, group, organisation, institution, event, phase or activity; the continuity and/or change of a phase or activity; social, historical, traditional, economic, political or other patterns.
McLeans Mansion has historical and social significance as it was built for Allan McLean (1822-1907), one of the wealthiest men in Canterbury in his day. McLean was a bachelor who built the house with the intention that it be run as 'a home for women of refinement and education in reduced or straitened circumstances' following his death. Born on the Island of Coll, Scotland, McLean emigrated with his family first to Australia and then New Zealand. From humble beginnings he became wealthy as a Canterbury run holder, retiring to the city following the forced sale of his large estate Waikakahi, near Waimate to the Liberal Government who were actively breaking up large country estates at this time. Waikakahi was the first run sold to the Crown under the Public Lands Act. At the age of 78 years, McLean commissioned leading Christchurch architect R W England to build a large mansion in Manchester Street, with the profits from his land sale. The house, which McLean named Holly Lea, was designed in 1899 and completed in 1900. McLean lived in the house until his death in 1907. Following McLean's death his housekeeper, Mrs Emily Phillips, lived in the house until 1913 after which the house was used as stipulated in McLean's will. In 1955 the building was sold by the McLean's Institute, a trust established in McLean's will to administer his bequest, to the government for use as a dental nurses hostel. The Institute shifted its base to Fendalton Road, taking the name Holly Lea with them. The dental nurses hostel occupied the building until 1977, after which it had various tenants until the building was taken over by the Christchurch Academy in the 1980s and became a vocational training centre. The building is currently owned by Alpine Corporation Ltd.