Topic: Devonport Road, Tauranga

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The article below is by and large taken from relevant sections of the 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study. In 2015 local retiree Rodney Giddens undertook to provide a photographic record of shop fronts from the roadside of Tauranga’s CBD, including Devonport Road. “There is very little artistic merit in the images”, Rodney says, “but I believe a record has been obtained”. Rodney’s images are part of the ‘related items’ to this article.

The first businesses in Tauranga were established along The Strand and Wharf Street. Devonport Road initially contained a mix of residential and small scaled business premises, with the businesses mostly clustered at the junction with Spring Street and The Strand. This gradually changed, with residential dwellings disappearing from the town centre. The population of Tauranga was relatively small, reaching 3000 by around 1930 and growing to approximately 4000 by 1940. Up until the early 1930s Devonport Road contained a mix of functions including blacksmiths, grocers stores, confectioners, tearooms, private hotels, houses, bakers, iron mongers and even the gas works which was located on a site between Devonport Road and Grey Street.

The construction of a substantial building on the corner of Devonport Road and Spring Street in 1911 was the start of the twentieth century development of Devonport Road as a major retail area for Tauranga. A significant period of development occurred in the 1930s when a number of new commercial buildings were built at the lower part of Devonport Road, and a number of early timber buildings on The Strand were replaced by masonry buildings.

 

Davies Buildings, 19 Devonport Road.

Davies Building dates from C 1920s/30s and forms part of this period of development in central Tauranga, which makes an important contribution to the established built streetscape character of the CBD. Davies Building is a good example of the type of buildings erected around 1930 in Tauranga for retail with residential accommodation at the upper level, and is typical of the type of main street development in many New Zealand towns and cities of this period.

The site was owned by Charles Christopher Thomas Davies from 1909, originally a settler from Taranaki. Part of the full site was leased to Frederick Christian in 1913. This may well have been the original site of Frederick Christian's business which later moved closer to Elizabeth Street by 1934. Charles Davies was operating as a motor engineer from this site in 1921, but James Albert O'Neill appears on the early valuation records from c.1923. O'Neill initially leased part of the site from 1914, and by 1929 operated a hairdresser/tobacconist business here, alongside two other businesses in the same building. The Davies Building may date, therefore, from the early 1920s. The building was known as Davies Building from at least 1936.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing SA 88/208, LINZ records; Tauranga Winter Exhibition and Carnival , May 1929 (booklet), ref. EDH 1/22/6/3, Tauranga Library; 1934 plan of Tauranga (No. 1 sheet), Tauranga Library; Auckland Provincial Trade Directory 1936/1937, p. 198.

F.N.Christian's garage c 1950 99-1156 

 F.N.Christian's garage, Devonport Road, Tauranga, c 1950.

 

Taken in 2015   

 

Devonport Buildings, 22-­24 Devonport Road

c. 1928. Devonport Buildings is considered to be of some significance in terms of historic values, architecturalvalues, group/context values and a good representative example of the type of commercial development typical in Tauranga and other New Zealand towns, in the 1930s. The building provides evidence of a period of expansion and consolidation in the commercial centre during the 1930s. Devonport Buildings forms part of an intact group of buildings in Devonport Road built c 1930 which make an important contribution to the established built character of the CBD.

It is likely that this building was constructed c.1928 at the earliest, for local land agent George Herbert Bell. Bell, along with his partner Colin Campbell Norris, leased a site at the corner of Devonport Road and the Strand in 1910 from the Borough of Tauranga, and built a large two­storey block there by July 1911 termed the biggest business premises erected in Tauranga since 1881. In 1926, the Borough Council subdivided the remainder of their property between Devonport Road and The Strand, and George Bell leased the site of the Devonport Buildings from them in 1927. A wooden building in existence at the time of the subdivision was replaced by Bell's building by 1928, as shown by the earliest known advertisement for the Devonport Drapery Co., located in Devonport Buildings by the following year. Norris & Bell by this time operated a "seedsmen and florists" business from another building close by and to the south, also leased from the Borough council. By 1934, the two businesses located at 22­24 Devonport Road were H. A. Mollgaard, grocer (still in that building as at 1959), and the Tauranga Pharmacy.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing SA 132/108, LINZ records; DP 20215, LINZ records; 1934 plan of Tauranga (No. 1 sheet), Tauranga Library; Bay of Plenty Times , 26 July 1911; Tauranga Today , 1959­1960, ref. EPH 1/22/3/2, Tauranga Library; Tauranga Winter Exhibition and Carnival , May 1929 (booklet), ref. EDH 1/22/6/3, Tauranga Library; valuation rolls, Tauranga Library.

Image taken by Rodnet Giddens 2015

Taken in 2015


Hardley Building, 31 Devonport Road.

1935. Hardleys building at 31 Devonport Road is considered to be of some significance in terms of historic values, architectural values, group/context values and a good representative example of the type of commercial development typical in Tauranga in the 1930s. The building provides evidence of a period of expansion and consolidation in the commercial centre during the 1930s. It is a good example of the work of architect H L D West, who designed a number of significant buildings in the Bay of Plenty region in the early 20th century and became the Tauranga Borough architect. Hardleys Building forms part of a group of 1930s buildings in Devonport Road which make an important contribution to the established built character of the CBD.]

The Hardley Brothers were based in Auckland, having set up their hardware merchants business there in 1909, which later expanded to become a plumbing supplies firm and sheet metal manufacturer in Ponsonby in 1921.Prior to the installation of their sheet lead rolling machine in Auckland, all sheet lead for building had to be imported from Australia or England. The Devonport Road site was owned by the Hardley Brothers (Samuel, George Thomas, Walter Frederick and Charles Edward) from at least 1912, and possibly earlier. The family originated from Hamilton before moving the headquarters of their operations to Auckland, and Tauranga may have been a branch outlet for their products. The Hardley Building in Devonport Road remained in the Hardley family's ownership at least into the 1940s.Mr George Albert Hardley, who became chairman of Hardleys Ltd as well as many other firms, went on to become the Mayor of Newmarket in Auckland during the 1950s and a member of the Metropolitan Drainage Board.

Designer or builder: H L D West Architect H L D West was working in the Bay of Plenty region in the early decades of the 20th century and designed a number of significant buildings in Opotiki, Whakatane and Tauranga. His work includes a range of commercial and residential buildings. Harold West was the borough architect for Tauranga when he died at the age of fifty. He had his own plane which he used to fly over to Thames and other places to carry out work. He designed the Tauranga Ladies Rest Room (now demolished, the coloured plan for which is in the Tauranga Library). West designed a number of buildings in Tauranga during the 1930s, including Hardleys Building at 31 Devonport Road designed in 1934, alterations to Munro’s Building in 1935 when an upper floor was added to the original 1917 building and the building at 45 The Strand, built in 1936. West also designed houses including the Patterson House at 40 Brown Street and is thought to have designed a house for A J Le-­Cren in Devonport Road, Tauranga.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing Valuation rolls, Tauranga library; NZ Herald 23 July 1921 p. 10 (8); Auckland Star , 14 September 1982 (obit for Catherine A Hardley), p. 12; NZ Herald 23 December 1957 (obit for G A Hardley); DP 7951, LINZ records; Plan P1570­31­1, Tauranga City Council records; Tauranga Winter Exhibition and Carnival , May 1929 (booklet), ref. EDH 1/22/6/3, Tauranga Library.

Taken in 2015


Teasey's Building and Garage, 42-­46 Devonport Road

Garage ­built 1932, main building ­ 1939. This building has historic associations with the Teasey family who were a significant early family. The 1932 garage building and adjacent 1939 retail, office and residential building demonstrate the changing functions on Devonport Road with the early broad range of uses here, including service, residential, retail and manufacturing, gradually being replaced by a more consistent retail and commercial role over the twentieth century.

William Thomas Teasey (1871-­1950) was a draper in Tauranga from the late 19th century, taking over Thomas Stuart's business on the corner of The Strand and Wharf Street in 1899, then moving to Devonport Road premises in the "Progressive" building (believed to be opposite the present site of Teasey's Building) in 1912. Teasey was also a secretary for the Tauranga Domain Board 1914­-1915 and 1919­ 1920. By 1934, Teasey was a land agent, with a small brick office on the site of Teasey's Building. This was replaced during construction in 1939. His son Harry Teasey operated a motor garage from the adjoining site from at least 1932.

Teasey's Building is designed in the Art Deco style, which was widely in use during the 1930s. Art Deco originated in Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century, and was most commonly used between 1920 to 1940. Key aspects of the style in relation to architecture are the use of simple geometric forms and bas relief decorative elements. Teasey's Building is a good example of the style in Tauranga and features a subtle stepped facade with chevron details, raised plaster lettering as well as a rectangular patterned band along the top of the parapet. The building originally housed a shop and offices at the ground level, with further offices at the upper level as well as a residential unit at the rear of the upper floor. Designer or builder (Main Building ­ 1939) The two level Teasey's Building was designed by architect C H D Porter of Tauranga.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing 1934 plan of Tauranga (No. 1 sheet), Tauranga Library; Plan no. 1570­46­1, Tauranga City Council records; Tauranga Library index reference cards; Bay of Plenty Times 1 October 1913, p. 3; 21 October 1912; 31 May 1899.

 

Taken in 2015

 

Wrigley's Building, 54­-56 Devonport Road.

c 1930( It is visible on the 1934 Survey Map for Tauranga, shown as a brick building). By 1934 this was a pharmacy, but may have been built earlier, in the immediate post WWI period. John Julius Wrigley owned the property in 1921, and Charles Frederick Wrigley in 1942. The building remained in the possession of the Wrigley family until 1977.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing the 1934 plan of Tauranga (No. 1 sheet), Tauranga Library; valuation rolls, Tauranga Library; SA 514/99, LINZ records.

Taken in 2015

 

Northern Star Building, 58-­64 Devonport Road.

Built by Tauranga builder Karl Johanson in 1933. The Johanson family appear to have arrived in Tauranga in 1910. Karl Johanson was responsible for also building, within the central business district, the Royal Arcade (66­-68 Devonport Road) and the building at 136 Willow Street. In 1931, Johanson purchased the site in a mortgagee sale, and built the block next to his previously built (1923) Royal Arcade. The Northern Star Building remained in Johanson family possession at least until the 1950s.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing SA 514/95 & 632/136, LINZ records; Plan No. 1570­58­1, Tauranga City Council records.

Taken in 2015

 

Royal Arcade, 66-­68 Devonport Road.

The Royal Arcade was built in 1922 by Karl Johanson who built a number of buildings in central Tauranga including the Northern Star Building (58-­64 Devonport Road) and the building at 136 Willow Street(on the corner of Spring Street, which is very similar in design to the Royal Arcade). The Johanson family appear to have arrived in Tauranga in 1910. The Royal Arcade was first leased by Mr. E A Entwhistle, cash grocer from Manchester, England. On 31 August 1933 Henry Graham and Harold Johanson (son of Karl) went into partnership and took over Entwhistle’s lease (he retired due to ill health). J H Graham & Co was the first firm “to advertise on the air”. Charles Cameron, who had a radio shop next door erected a loud speaker above the verandah and J H Graham advertised “Oak specials” – a free money box, an old pound tin with a slot in it – with every purchase of an Oak product. The volume was so loud it could be heard “all over town and as far away as Pillons Point. Complaints came in thick and fast from other businesses on Devonport Road, the mayor, chamber of commerce and the police.”

An early photograph shows that the building is constructed of concrete blockwork, plastered. The façade incorporates blocks with a roughened outer surface in imitation of stone. These are possibly a product called “Miracle Blocks" which were manufactured in America and publicised in the Progress magazine around the 1910s. Block­making machines capable of producing a range of finishes including stone like blocks were also advertised in Progress around the same time.

Source: 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study citing "Arcade a witness to 67 years of change", Bay of Plenty Times 2 June 1989; The Life and Times of James Chapman Taylor, pade 193 , information on Miracle Blocks and concrete block making machinery.

Royal Arcade c 1926 99-1141 

Royal Arcade, Devonport Road, built by Mr K.Johanson in 1922. Photograph c 1926.


 

Taken in 2015

 

References

  • A 2007 Tauranga CBD Heritage Study prepared by Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd, Jennie Gainsford and Lisa Truttman (http://econtent.tauranga.govt.nz/data/a-z/files/devonport_road.pdf accessed September 2015).
  • A series of articles written by Jinty Rorke from August 1994 to September 1995 (available here).

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This page archived at Perma CC in September of 2016: https://perma.cc/NM4C-3ZXM.

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Devonport Road, Tauranga


Year:c.1910, c.1920, c.1930, and 2015
City:Tauranga
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Latitude and Longitude coordinates: -37.6980754,176.16309849999993

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