Topic: Criterion Stables (1903-04)

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As a rare (possibly the only) surviving stables in the New Plymouth CBD, this building occupies an important place in New Plymouth's heritage fabric

Former Criterion Stables building 2017

2017 View: By Hamish Crimp

This unassuming building is a rare surviving stables in New Plymouth's CBD. Stables were once a common sight around New Plymouth, and served an important function for visitors travelling to New Plymouth.

A permit was granted to M. Jones in October 1903 for "Stables etc." on Town Section 629, King Street - the architect was listed as J. Jones, and the estimated construction cost was £850. The building appears to be complete by April 1904, when the Taranaki Herald reported that "the delegates of the Taranaki Friendly Societies Association met in Mr M. Jones new building, King Street, on Thursday night".

NZ Carrying Company Depot

           Circa 1910 View: Puke Ariki Collection                  

The building's facade has been altered considerably from its original form and is now almost unrecognisable from early photos. However, restoration is possible, and would signifcantly enhance the street appeal of this important building. Given the the significance of the Criterion Stables building, and the possibility for future restoration, all efforts should be made to protect the structure from removal and further unsympathetic alteration.

An advertisment for Criterion Livery and Bait Stables in "Taranaki, The Garden of New Zealand: Short history and general description" published in 1906, mentions the stables operating in only Devon Street (opposite the Criterion Hotel) - so perhaps the King Street building was only used for extra horses/storage of traps etc? However, the 1908 Cyclopedia of New Zealand entry for the Criterion Livery and Bait Stables mentions the stables operating in both Devon Street and King Street. 

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