Situated just east of Oxford Street, Levin (SH1) on Kent Street, is Thompson House, a gracious old home, set in lovely grounds and dates from the1920s. It is one of Levin’s fine range of recreational venues and is the hub of many community activities – cultural, artistic, educational and social.
Thompson Memorial Cultural Centre Inc., to give it its formal name, was established in 1974 through the joint initiatives of the Levin Borough Council as it was then and a steering committee of citizens from many societies and clubs.
In order to make the best use of a fine building (the former home and surgery of a respected and long serving Doctor, Dr Jim Thompson) the Council presented his house which they had purchased to the people of Levin as a cultural and arts centre. So Thompson House provides the Horowhenua with a unique venue for the presentation of visual and performing arts and crafts, and hobbies groups and meetings including quilt makers, embroidery, lace makers, cake icing, music, book launches, and poetry readings to name but a few.
Commercial groups and Government Departments use rooms for meetings and seminars and the facility has a number of conference spaces and is wifi enabled. Potential hirers should contact the centre administrator on www.thompsonhouse.org.nz
Horticulture at Thompson House Gardens generally consists of mixed borders (Photo 1) though there is a sensory garden and a small patch of indigenous woodland. The site has a number of unusual and rare plants including the Voodoo Lily (Dracunculus vulgaris). Also known as Dracula’s flower (Photo 2) the Voodoo Lily, has an incredible purple flower which smells of rotting meat. It is pollinated by flies and beetles, and is also unusual in that it can change sex several times during its lifetime. Another interesting feature of the site is that it is the home to what is locally known as the world's largest bonsai (Photo 3). A Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus deodara) initially gifted in a bonsai dish that was allegedly planted by Dr Thompson's mother with some unforseen results.