Topic: Fake's Chambers/Wallace's Pharmacy (1897-98/1908-09)

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Wallace's Pharmacy

2020 View

This attractive two storied commercial building at the north-western corner of High and Regent Streets was constructed in two stages during 1897-98 and 1908-09, with the site having been associated with the pharmacy trade from 1889 until at least the late-1990s.

The first building on this site was constructed for chemist Ezekial Fake during 1889, it being reported during the middle of that year that Fake was to have new business premises constructed at the corner of High and Regent Streets. Fake's new premises comprised an attractive single storey timber building with post and beam veranda. 

During late-1897, Fake commissioned Hawera architect Mr Clarson to design a two-storied building on the southern Regent Street frontage to his property, adjacent to his existing timber chemists shop. This new building, constructed of brick and finished with plaster, measured 26ft by 20ft and upon completion was described as being "a decided ornament to the street and the town". The contractor for the building's construction was Mr J. Fake, Mr Newman was the plasterer, Mr T. Smart was responsible for the woodwork, and Messrs Hardley & Sons completed the plumbing. The first occupant of the ground floor premises was barrister and soliciter Mr H. Halliwell (who in 1903 relocated to a new building just south of this one), whilst the upper floor was occupied by dentist Mr F. W. Bond. The 1897-98 building comprises the southernmost three bays of the present structure and was initally known as 'Fake's Chambers'.

Mr E. Fake retained ownership of the property until 1902, when Mr William Kirby Wallace purchased the property and took over his pharmacy business. During late-1908, Wallace decided to replace his timber chemist shop with a two-storied structure contiguous with, and in the same style as, the 1897-98 building. To create space for the new structure, during December 1908, Mr James Foy purchased Wallace's timber chemists shop and had it relocated a short distance south along Regent Street; Wallace relocated to temporary premises across the road next to Brunnette's jewellery store (located at the north-eastern corner of High and Regent Streets). It is presently unclear when Wallace's new premises were complete, but presumably sometime during early-mid 1909; the 1908-09 additions comprise the northernmost four bays facing Regent Street and the three bays facing High Street.

During 1921, Wallace sold his pharmacy business to Mr G. Strange who continued to operate a pharmacy from the northern-most premises. It is unclear how long Strange operated from the premises, but later proprieters included Lester Haberfield, later Haberfield and Lewis Howden (1962-1967 approximately, the firm known as Haberfield Howden Ltd) and then Lewis Howden and Bob Thomas (1967-1986 approximately, the firm known as Howden Thomas). By the late-1990s, the firm  was still registered as Howden Thomas but traded as Bob Thomas Pharmacy.

The building is presently vacant and is owned by the South Taranaki District Council, who purchased the building in 2015 as possible site for the new library and cultural centre, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga. However, with it being decided to construct the centre on the opposite side of Regent Street, it was announced by the STDC during September 2020 that they may soon decide to sell it. 

References: Patea Mail, 14 October 1889, p.2; Hawera and Normanby Star, 16 February 1898, page 2; Hawera and Normanby Star, 28 November 1908, page 7; Hawera and Normanby Star, 3 December 1908, page 5; Hawera and Normanby Star, 30 March 1921, page 8

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Fake's Chambers/Wallace's Pharmacy (1897-98/1908-09)