Recog­ni­tion for 1860s build­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

The ear­li­est known sur­viv­ing build­ing on Queen St has made it to the her­itage list.

The three-storey for­mer D. Gra­ham and Com­pany’s Build­ing has been en­tered onto the New Zealand Her­itage List / Rarangi Korero as a Cat­e­gory 1 item, iden­ti­fy­ing it as a place of out­stand­ing her­itage sig­nif­i­cance.

The build­ing at 104 to 106 Queen St, along with the nearby for­mer Gil­fil­lan’s Store and the for­mer Bank of New Zealand build­ing rep­re­sent the only re­main­ing build­ings on Queen St known to date back to the 1860s.

It’s also no­table as be­ing one of four ad­join­ing Itali­nate style build­ings, which make up the largest group of 19th cen­tury build­ings re­main­ing on Queen St, her­itage ad­viser regis­tra­tion Joan McKen­zie says.

It’s housed sev­eral busi­nesses since be­ing com­mis­sioned by en­trepreneur David Gra­ham in 1862. Un­der Gra­ham it was one of the lead­ing drap­ery shops in Auck­land, sell­ing items such as fab­ric, cloth­ing and manch­ester.

‘‘By the 1850s, cloth­ing formed about a third of to­tal im­ports into the colony, with drap­ery items the largest sin­gle class of stock im­ported,’’ she says.

At the time it was just one block back from the fore­shore at Fort St, or Fore St as it was then known. A cou­ple of years be­fore Gra­ham’s death in 1873 it was re­named St Mungo Place and let to a draper and milliner.

Part of the ground floor and the first floor were fit­ted out as St Mungo Cafe by early restau­ra­teur Charles Can­ning.

‘‘What’s in­ter­est­ing is the mix of hat­ter, draper and cafe, although all dis­tinct ten­an­cies, an­tic­i­pated in a small way the emer­gence of de­part­ment stores in the early 20th cen­tury,’’ McKen­zie says.

One of the next ten­ants in the build­ing was John Court, who along with his two broth­ers es­tab­lished Auck­land’s ear­li­est de­part­ment stores.

It was Court’s first re­tail out­let on Queen St.

Later he bought a build­ing on the cor­ner of Vic­to­ria St which even­tu­ally dou­bled in size to be­come one of the city’s land­mark de­part­ment stores.

In 1935 the Queen St build­ing be­came one of two branches of Boots re­tail phar­ma­cies es­tab­lished out­side of Bri­tain, the other be­ing in Welling­ton.

But the Labour Govern­ment put a stop to any plans the com­pany may have had for ex­pan­sion when it passed the Phar­macy Act of 1939, which re­stricted own­er­ship of chemists to pharmacists only.

The build­ing has been a fix­ture of down­town Auck­land since the very early days, and con­tin­ues to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the city’s her­itage streetscape, McKen­zie says.

‘‘It’s a rare and very im­por­tant build­ing with di­rect links back to 1860s Auck­land and as such is most de­serv­ing of its Cat­e­gory 1 recog­ni­tion.’’

Photo: KA­RINA ABADIA

Colo­nial link: Her­itage ad­viser Joan McKen­zie in front of the for­mer D Gra­ham and Com­pany’s Build­ing on Queen St.

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