Lost Dunedin #5: Quick’s Building

Built: 1907-1908
Address: 210 Castle Street (corner Hanover Street)
Architect: Basil Hooper (1876-1960)
Builder: John Wood
Demolished c.1966

New Zealand’s corner dairies are usually found in modest buildings, and this was one of them, but it was more unusual than most with its Arts and Crafts design by architect Basil Hooper. The building was erected between 1907 and 1908 as an investment property for E.E.C. Quick, who let the shop to the grocer Robert Crawford. Edmund Edward Colston Quick was 70 years old and had lived in Dunedin since 1860, when he had gone into business as an importer. He was well known for his company directorships and community work, including eighteen years served as secretary of the Otago SPCA.

Crawford kept the shop for only a short time, and the list of shopkeepers over the years is as follows (dates approximate):

1908-1909: Robert E. Crawford
1909-1916: George Beath and James Barron (as Beath & Barron)
1916-1920: James Barron
1920-1924: Arthur Harold Carrington
1924-1939: Julian Henri Le Gal (born in Jersey, Channel Islands)
1939-1941: Thomas Gibson
1931-1942: Malcolm A. Scandrett
1942-1945: Mabel and Norma Dalliessi
1945-1948: Victor Uline Smith
1948-1951: Jack Stewart Baker
1951-1966: Douglas Cecil Ledgerwood

Advertisement for Beath & Barron from the Otago Daily Times, 1 June 1912, p.15.

Basil Hooper was apprenticed to J.L. Salmond in Dunedin before he left to study architecture in England. He returned in 1904 as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and later described himself as ‘the first young architect to arrive in Dunedin from England, with A.R.I.B.A. after my name, and up to date designs’. He is best remembered in Dunedin for his houses, which include the grand Ritchie residence at 26 Heriot Row. His commercial commissions were less numerous, but introduced elements of domestic Arts and Crafts style strikingly new to this type of building in Dunedin. Surviving examples include the George Street Ironmongery Company’s premises (1908) and the Smith & Co. butchery at the corner of King Edward and McBride streets in South Dunedin (1910-1911). The exteriors of these buildings featured exposed brickwork with Oamaru stone facings, unfortunately now painted over. Quick’s building was also brick, but with roughcast gable ends, and at some later date the brickwork was plastered over. All three buildings featured Marseilles-tiled roofs and their gables were made features rather than hidden behind conventional facade parapets. The South Dunedin shop was described when new as ‘modernised old English’, recognising its Tudor influences.

Basil Bramston Hooper (1876-1960). Ref: 1/2-197527-F, Alexander Turnbull Library, http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23024841.

Former Dunedin Ironmongery Company building in George Street, designed by Hooper in 1908. The brickwork and stonework was unfortunately painted over in the late 1990s.

Former butchery building in King Edward Street, designed by Hooper for Thomas Smith in 1910.

Drawings dated June 1907 show two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen on the top floor of Mr Quick’s building, with the commercial space below. The Otago Daily Times published a finely-observed description:

A new shop has lately been completed at the corner of Hanover street and Castle street, to the design and under the supervision of Mr Basil Hooper, A.R.I.B.A. The building is quite unique in its style, as applied to shop architecture, a complete departure from the stereotyped form having been made in this case. In place of the usual high parapet wall and pediments and concealed iron roof, the fronts of the second storey have been formed by a series of gables, with projecting white rough-cast faces. The red Marseilles roof being exposed to view thus blends in most harmoniously with the simple white rough-cast in the gables. A projecting three-light casement bay window forms the centre feature of the Castle street facade, and is flanked on either side by a range of flat casement windows. The shop windows have small panes in the upper portion, and are finished round in exposed brickwork, with a simple brick dentil cornice surmounting the Castle street side. A solid timber verandah, with jarrah posts, shelters most of the two sides. The accommodation consists of a spacious shop, occupied by Mr Crawford, grocer; a large storeroom, stables and outhouses at back, and private entrance hall; and on the first floor a suite of living and bedrooms, bathroom, etc., fitted with every modern convenience. The building has been erected in a most satisfactory manner by Mr John Wood.

The building was demolished around 1966, and is today a car park for the bright orange premises of VTNZ (Vehicle Testing New Zealand). It’s difficult to picture the charming little shop that was once there.

Many other fine Basil Hooper buildings (mostly private houses) remain and to anyone interested in learning more about them I recommend Ralph Allen’s book, Motif and Beauty: The New Zealand Arts and Crafts Architecture of Basil Hooper.

DCLedgerwoodStore_BanW2Image credits:
1960s photographs of the store (colour, black and white) taken by Hardwicke Knight.

Newspaper references:
Otago Daily Times, 25 May 1907 p.1 (call for tenders), 1 February 1908 p.13 (description), 18 July 1908 p.6 (description of George Street Ironmongery Co. building), 19 May 1911 p.7 (description of Smith’s building), 10 June 1918 p.3 (obituary for E.E.C. Quick).

Other references:
Stone’s Otago and Southland Directory
Wise’s New Zealand Post Office Directory
Telephone directories
Deposited plan, Dunedin City Council (with thanks to Glen Hazelton)
Allen, Ralph. Motif and Beauty: The New Zealand Arts and Crafts Architecture of Basil Hooper (Dunedin: Harptree Press, 2000).
Lochhead, Ian J. ‘Hooper, Basil Bramston’, in Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol. 3 (1996), http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/3h34/hooper-basil-bramston

8 thoughts on “Lost Dunedin #5: Quick’s Building

  1. Athol Parks

    Good stuff, David. Didn’t know that Hooper designed those George and King Edward Street buildings, that latter of which now looks like a giant licorice/peppermint lollie (I’ve never liked licorice or peppermint in any shape or form). Whoever painted these buildings, and the one on the corner of George and Park Streets, should be horse-whipped!

    Reply
    1. David Murray Post author

      Thanks Athol. The double-pressed brick and stone on the George Street building was unpainted as late as 1997/1998 and I remember my horror when they covered it over. Perhaps it could be stripped. The paintwork is looking tired now and you can see a little of the original finish peeping through. I don’t feel quite so bad about the more recent repainting of the King Edward Street building. It had been painted plain white for many years which meant that you couldn’t see the contrast in the design. I wouldn’t have chosen those colours myself but at least they bring back the differentiation between the brickwork and the facings.

    1. David Murray Post author

      If it’s going to be painted then I prefer something like this to brick-coloured paint, which usually looks unconvincing to me. I’m also not a fan of the fashion for grey that’s everywhere – you even see old brick bungalows painted grey.

  2. Eddie Dwyer

    The buttress-like upper corner of the McBride/King Edward St building was modified by Naylor Love in the 1970s. I think the weight of the structure was causing cracks below. I was there when the feature was supported by scaffolding. While the appearance was changed by that work (the base formerly was scalloped into the wall) it seems very sympathetic to the original design – well, it does to me anyway!

    Reply

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