Topic: Red Post Building, 79-87 Devon Street East (1910/11)

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This building at 79-87 Devon Street East is described in the 1995 N.P.D.C.Heritage Study as "an interesting piece of classical design, significant principally for its appropiate scale and streetscape value."

While the interior has been modified extensively, the original exterior decorative work above the verandah level, remains intact.

Notable local architect Frank Messenger designed the building. On 27 September, 1910 a permit was issued to Burgess and Fraser for the erection of a furniture factory designed by Messenger. On 12 July, 1911 a permit was issued to J.H.Parker for the erection of a shop, again designed by Frank Messenger at a cost of £2,300. Both were erected on section number 897, with the earlier permit thought to relate to the rear Red Post workshop building, and the later permit relating to the Red Post showroom building on Devon Street - both are now connected to form one large building. Subsequent additions have extended the building through to Gill Street.

In October 1911 the Taranaki Herald reported that "Mr J. H. Parker, who is largely interested in the Red Post Furnishing Company, and who is now erecting what will be the finest reinforced concrete building that has ever been erected in this province". This building is one of the earliest survivng reinforced concrete shops in Taranaki, and probably the oldest reinforced concrete building on Devon Street - according to the Herald, "over six tons of indented steel bars have been used in the concrete, the building having been made strong enough to at some future stage carry a third story".

Red Post Building c1912

Circa 1912 View: Image courtesy of ATL

According to Fred Butler's Street Index (ARC2007-73) the building was occupied by the Red Post Furniture Co. - this is confirmed by a news report in the Taranaki Herald on 25 March, 1911 (linked). In 1921 the business was bought by Albert Purser and renamed Purser's Ltd. The name later changed to Purser's Bros. Ltd. The business leased the building until 1953 when they purchased it from the Dingle Estate.

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