Topic: Egmont Tourist Motors Ltd (Former) (Circa 1884/1911/1933-34)

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Egmont Tourist Motors 2020

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Parts of the present building on this site, being part of allotment 51 of block 14 Hawera Town, likely date back to 1884, with substantial additions and alterations made to the structure during 1911 and 1933-34.

During January 1877, ownership of Allotment 51 was transferred from Thomas Quinlivan to Charles Tait, before being promptly transferred to Martin Power. Ownership of the property was held by Power until the section was purchased by Dunedin clerk Eustace Henry Fulton during mid-1882. From late-1884, the property was leased to blacksmith Philip Journeaux, who acquired the section with the intention of “erecting a smithy on the site”.

A cottage was located on the section when the lease was acquired by Journeaux, as during November 1884, George Beamish, who was a weekly tenant on the property acquired by Journeaux, brought a case again Journeaux for illegally trespassing on a property rented by him. It seems the day before Beamish was due to vacate the house, Journeaux came onto the property and started removing the chimney of the house, presumably to create room on the section to enable construction of the blacksmiths shop. 

The blacksmith’s shop was constructed on the north western corner of allotment 51, and appears to have comprised the present, smaller gabled section of the present building on the site, along with a wide lean-to extending from the southern elevation. Journeaux’s “new premises in Regent-Street” were reported to have been almost complete during mid-December 1884 and he began advertising as a “shoeing and general smith” under the name “Philip Juno” around the same time. Journeaux continued to operate from the site until mid-1888, when the lease was transferred to ironmongers and general storekeepers Benjamin Conrad Robbins and Frederick Pierard, of the firm Messrs Robbins & Pierard.

Robbins and Pierard don’t appear to have occupied the premises themselves and during late-May 1888, it was reported that Mr William Bridger, formerly of Wellington, intended to open a blacksmith’s shop in the Regent Street premises lately occupied by Mr Juno. Ownership of the section was transferred from Eustace Fulton to his wife Jane Isobella Fulton during April 1893, before being transferred to Hāwera resident John Dew two months later. During January 1896, Frederick Pierard’s interest in the lease was transferred to Benjamin Robbins.

Owner John Dew passed away during August 1896 and the property was transmitted to the executor of his estate, his son-in-law, Harry Caplen. During early 1897, Robbins sold his business to the West Coast Farmers’ Trading Association, who later acquired a new lease for the property during 1899.

The West Coast Farmers’ Trading Association held the lease for the property until early 1910, when a new lease was granted to motor mechanic John Blake. During late-February 1911, architect Thomas H. Gillman advertised for tenders for the “erection in brick of additions to workshops, Regent Street, for Mr J. Blake”. By late-May 1911, construction of the “extensive additions” were complete, with it being reported that Mr Blake had also installed new machinery for motor car repairs of all kinds. Following completion of the additions, Blake renamed his business ‘The Criterion Garage’, a name that would remain associated with the garage for the next two decades.

Upon completion of Blake’s new garage and showroom on adjoining allotment 50 in 1918, the building on allotment 51 became a dedicated workshop, with the garage and showroom being located within the new building. John Blake and Sons continued to occupy the workshop until mid-1924, when they sold their business (which included the neighbouring showroom and garage), to Messrs Lysons, Foord and Keilar. It is unclear exactly when Lysons, Foord and Keilar vacated the premises, but they were later taken over by the Globe Motor Company, who during late-1923, were incorporated as the Egmont Tourist Motors Ltd.

During 1933-34, extensive alterations and additions were made to the existing building on the site. These building works were undertaken as part of the ‘three-in-one scheme’, with all the new structures, along with additions and alterations to existing buildings, designed by Hāwera architects Duffill and Gibson, with the contractors for the work being Boon Bros of New Plymouth. Alterations to the existing workshop on allotment 51 enabled the Egmont Tourist Motors to vacate their adjoining garage and showroom on allotment 50 (which the Farmers Co-operative Organisation Society moved into), and consolidate operations on allotment 51.

The main exterior alteration made to the existing buildings on the site was the modernisation of the Regent Street frontage in the Art Deco/Moderne style. Whilst this significantly altered the look of the buildings, it appears much of the 1911 structure (including the brick side walls), along with the remnants of the circa 1884 building, remained largely intact. As the front portions of the building were to be occupied by the garage and showroom, a new reinforced concrete workshop was constructed on vacant land immediately to the rear of the existing buildings, this being separated from the garage by large sliding doors.

The Egmont Tourist Motors continued to lease allotment 51 from the Caplen Estate until 1944, when they purchased the property themselves; they continued to operate from the property until at least the 1970s.

The building is scheduled to be demolished to make way for the new Hawera library and cultural centre, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga.

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Egmont Tourist Motors Ltd (Former) (Circa 1884/1911/1933-34)


City:Hawera