Topic: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Peoples Pictures (1918)

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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery 

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery on Queen Street was originally a picture theatre. Its transformation into an art gallery in 1970 is described in the NPDC Heritage Study as, "a brilliant adaptive re-use of a heritage building".

In 1862 New Plymouth's first Primitive Methodist Church  was erected on this site. It was replaced in 1904 by a larger church building designed by Frank Messenger. The final church service was conducted in December 1914.

Alterations to the building were carried out in 1915 and Peoples' Picture Theatre screened its first movie on 12 February, 1916. The current building was opened in 1918, being constructed around the existing converted church building to enable the theatre to operate throughout construction of the new building - it was only closed for a short period to enable the demolition of the old church building once the exterior of the new building was complete. The, "Grand Reopening", of the Peoples' Picture Palace took place on 13 December, 1918.

The Peoples Pictures Ltd c1923 (Puke Ariki collection) 

Circa 1923 View: Puke Ariki Collection

The name changed to the Regent Theatre in 1930, and it finally closed in 1964.

The Govett- Brewster Art Gallery was the result of a generous bequest to the city in 1962 from Monica Brewster. The building was transformed and the gallery opened in February 1970. The architects were Bowering, Thomson, Boon and Associates, the contractors Bowers and Scweiters; the cost $130,000.

The gallery closed in 2013 for earthquake strengthening and the construction of the Len Lye Centre next door. It reopened on 25 July, 2015.

(See Caleb Wyatt's history of the building in Documents below)


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