Topic: Criterion Motors/Cawthray Motors, 15 Liardet Street (1908)

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Cawthray Motors Building 2017

2017 View: By Hamish Crimp

This unassuming masonry building was constructed in 1908, and was the first permanent motor garage constructed in New Plymouth - Its construction heralded the arrival of the age of the automobile in the city. 

The building was designed and constructed by owner Robert William Bond, with two permits granted to Bond by the New Plymouth Borough Council in September and November 1908 for the construction of a "Motor Garage and Dairy" on Town Section 879 - the estimated construction cost was £1500; an expensive building for the time.

The first business to operate from the building was Mr A. Beeston's Criterion Motors, which relocated to the building from temporary premises in late 1908. The front windows were used for displaying the latest motor vehicles and accessories, a workshop was located at the rear, there was a ladies waiting room, and a meeting room used that was to become the home of the recently formed Taranaki Automobile Association. 

The building later housed the firm Cawthray Motors, who can be seen occupying the building in a 1940 photograph taken by Fred Butler.

Cawthray Motors 1940 (Puke Ariki collection) 

1940 View from Fred B. Butler Album, Puke Ariki Collection

The southern portion of the building (the workshop) has been demolished, the facade has been clad in fibrolite, and the original wooden door has been replaced by a roller door. 

The building is currently (2017) occupied by Alterations 4U

See Taranaki Land Deeds Index I3 page 320, and I13 page 590

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