Historic house ruined by Seddon quake

  • Breaking
  • 17/08/2013

Given the magnitude of the earthquake, those that live in Seddon say they got off reasonably light. But there was one house, built in 1874, that bore the brunt of the quake.

The cob cottage crumbled around its owners, who made a quick escape outside.

For 140 years the Oak Tree Cottage has sat on the same spot north of Seddon, but yesterday it was shaken to its core.

Made from just mud and plaster, it's easy to understand why the historical home fell to pieces.

“It was just initially quite shocking and real panic,” says owner Nicola Kerslake. “You don't know how you are going to respond and you do panic. That's the honest truth because it was quite violent."

Inside doesn't look pretty. Large cracks surround the entire building, and most ornaments have been knocked to the ground.

Laura-Jean Kerslake was asleep inside when the earthquake hit. She says it sounded like a train coming through the house.

“I actually saw mainly this crack in front of my eyes,” says Ms Kerslake, who had the plaster from the walls falling on top of her. “I stood under the doorway there, but that really didn't help because that was coming down. I didn't really know what to do.”

Luckily, her 19-month-old son, Quinn, was safe in the newer, wooden part of the house, which remarkably escaped any damage.

But this isn't just a family home, it's a business too.

"You really do feel like a caretaker to a place like this because it's the original old hob and the Marlborough history,” says Nicola Kerslake. “So we do Devonshire teas and gardens and weddings.”

In the Seddon township today, local firefighters and search and rescue teams went door to door checking on residents.

“They are looking at a first-level inspection to make sure that the houses are habitable, [and are] also identifying any weather tightness issues, because as you can see from the rain, we are having today, which is causing us real problems,” says Dean Heiford of Civil Defence.

Seddon Primary School has now become the Civil Defence headquarters, providing a dry roof for 26 people last night.

Given the on-going aftershocks, and the wet weather, the clean-up is likely to take a few days.

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source: newshub archive