Recognition for 1860s building
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.’’
Colonial link: Heritage adviser Joan McKenzie in front of the former D Graham and Company’s Building on Queen St.