Historic Place Category 1
Lot 1 DP 317828, DP 318074 (CTs 91042, 70718, 70719, 70720, 70721, 70722, 70723), Pt Legal Road, North Auckland Land District.
Extent of Registration
Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 317828, DP 318074 (CTs 91042, 70718, 70719, 70720, 70721, 70722, 70723), Pt Legal Road, North Auckland Land District and the building known as Strand Arcade thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
Initially constructed in 1899-1900 on Auckland's main commercial thoroughfare - Queen Street - the Strand Arcade is an ornate and rare early-surviving example of a shopping arcade in New Zealand which reflects the growing popularity of specialty shopping as a leisure activity at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Prior to the founding of colonial Auckland in 1840, the Queen Street gully was known as Horotiu and was subject to intermittent Maori occupation. In 1842, the land later occupied by the Strand Arcade was part of a Crown Grant made to stonemason, William Greenwood. Successive low-rise commercial buildings were erected before the site was acquired by Arthur Mielziner Myers (1867-1926), who held strong interests in the liquor trade and was a member of the city's new financial leadership following the economic depression of the late nineteenth century. In 1899 Myers commissioned the Strand Arcade, which was to be the second major shopping arcade in Auckland following construction of the Victoria Arcade, also in Queen Street, in 1884-6. The new venture capitalised on a surge in Auckland's population growth and an emerging and increasingly prosperous middle class as an expanding consumer market.
A large ornate brick building, the Strand Arcade reflected new trends in retail development. In particular, the structure incorporated a glass-covered passageway linking Queen and Elliott Streets - a precursor to the modern shopping mall. Commenced on 1 July 1899, construction was completed in September the following year by J. Thomas Julian (1843-1921), a major Auckland contractor. Designed by prolific Auckland architect Arthur P. Wilson (1851-1937), the building adopted an ornate Italianate style favoured for grand commercial buildings of the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras. Internally, the basement of the Elliott Street section contained offices associated with the neighbouring Albert Brewery, while the Queen Street basement housed reputedly New Zealand's largest restaurant. The ground floor promenade accommodated nineteen specialty shops. On the floors above were warehouses, sample rooms, a meeting and gathering venue, a photographic studio and several small offices. The design mix of specialty shopping, tea rooms and meeting venues facilitating safe and respectable social interaction made the Strand Arcade a popular Auckland destination.
Following extensive damage by a fire in August 1909, the Strand Arcade was rebuilt by Auckland contractor J. D. Jones. The Elliott Street section was increased in height from three storeys to four to match the Queen Street portion. The Queen Street façade featured bay windows and a wrought iron balcony giving the building a more modern appearance. The ferro-concrete interior with brick partition walls was of similar layout to the 1899 design. The floors had broad galleries off a lightwell running almost the full length of the building. Ornate bridges on the upper floors spanned the central void. Many of the businesses that previously occupied the premises moved back in. The grand nature of the rebuilding partly reflected Myers' continued rise in wealth and status. Following service as Mayor of Auckland, Myers went on to become an independent Member of Parliament from 1911, holding several ministerial portfolios.
In 1914 the Strand Arcade became Campbell and Ehrenfried's head office and in 1923 passed to Paddington Properties, a company established as custodian of Myers' personal assets. In 1970, the little-altered arcade was purchased by Campbell and Ehrenfried before being on-sold after refurbishment of the retail areas. In 1974, Campbell and Ehrenfried vacated their offices of six decades. Following refurbishment of the upper floors, the Strand Arcade became the corporate headquarters of the Broadlands Dominion Group, a subsidiary of Challenge Corporation which was by 1977 New Zealand's largest company by turnover.
A trend towards suburban shopping malls contributed to a move away from city shopping, while later office park developments had an impact on traditional demand for inner-city office accommodation. Sold in 1993 to the New Zealand Guardian Trust, the building was subdivided into six unit titles in 2003. The basement and ground floor remain in retail and restaurant use while the upper floors have been adapted for uses including backpacker accommodation and English language schools.
The Strand Arcade has outstanding aesthetic significance as a visually impressive and ornate shopping arcade, and as a notable landmark on Auckland's Queen Street. It has considerable architectural value as one of the grandest surviving shopping arcades in New Zealand, also incorporating the remnants of what is believed to be the earliest surviving purpose-built arcade in the country (1899-1900). Of historical significance for indicating an important step in the development of retail shopping and the aspirations of a prosperous middle class, the Strand also reflects Auckland's role as the most important commercial centre in New Zealand in the early 1900s and beyond. Still used for its original purpose, the Strand Arcade has social significance as a place of recreation, commercial transaction and public interaction, functions that it has fulfilled for more than a century.
The Strand Arcade has historical significance for reflecting an important step in the development of retail shopping in New Zealand, and the growth and aspirations of a prosperous middle class. It more generally indicates Auckland's position as New Zealand's main commercial and retail centre and the country's most populous conurbation at the beginning of the twentieth century. A Queen Street focal point for over a century, the Strand is significant for its strong associations with notable Auckland business leader, philanthropist and local body politician and government minister Sir Arthur Myers, his son Sir Kenneth Myers, and grandson Douglas Myers. The place has historical value for its long association with the colonial brewing company Campbell and Ehrenfried and subsequently as the headquarters of Challenge Corporation subsidiary Broadlands.
Aesthetic Significance or Value:
The Strand Arcade has high aesthetic significance as a visually impressive and ornate shopping arcade of late Victorian and early Edwardian date. Its well defined exterior detailing, including bay windows, pronounced attic storey with wrought iron balcony and ornate parapet make the building a notable Queen Street landmark. The place has aesthetic value for its rear façade which has segmental openings and an elaborate cartouche, features that contribute to the visual amenities of Elliott Street. The interior of the Arcade has particular aesthetic value for the impressive design of its public space which features a lofty top-lit central promenade, linking bridges, small shops and decorative plaster detailing, and for the ornamental plasterwork which survives in some of the building's retail spaces.
Architectural Significance or Value:
The Strand Arcade has high architectural significance as a rare New Zealand example of a late Victorian and early Edwardian shopping arcade, an international building type that formed a precursor to the modern shopping mall. It has considerable architectural value as one of the grandest surviving shopping arcades in New Zealand, also incorporating the remnants of what is currently believed to be the earliest surviving purpose-built arcade in the country (1899-1900). In its rebuilt form (1909-10), it is also one of the country's earliest full-standing survivors. The Strand Arcade is also significant as a notable example of a grand shopping arcade designed in an ornate Italianate style, related to appearances adopted for the commercial buildings and residences of the urban nouveau riche in late colonial New Zealand. The building is an important commercial work by the prolific Auckland architect Arthur P. Wilson.
Social Significance or Value:
Still used for its original purpose, the Strand Arcade has social significance as a place of recreation, commercial transaction and public interaction, functions that it has fulfilled for more than a century.
Summary of Assessed Criteria
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
The place has outstanding significance for reflecting important aspects of New Zealand's history, notably the emergence of specialty shopping as a leisure activity and the developing social aspirations of a growing middle class in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century New Zealand. It has special significance as what is believed to be the oldest-used surviving shopping arcade in New Zealand. The place has high significance for reflecting Auckland's revival and transformation as a major commercial centre after the economic depression of the late 1880s and early 1890s; and for reflecting the increasing popularity of purpose-built shopping arcades in colonial urban centres in the opening years of the twentieth century. It also has significance for illustrating changing patterns in retail and corporate commercial activity in Auckland's Central Business District spanning more than a century, including increased competition from suburban shopping malls and office park developments in the 1970s and 1980s.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:
The Strand Arcade is closely associated with prominent Auckland businessman, philanthropist and politician Sir Arthur Myers, his son Sir Kenneth Myers and grandson Douglas and was for many decades the head office of Campbell and Ehrenfried, the largest brewing concern in the colony. The place also has strong historical associations with the administrators of the Cornwall Park Trust and the estate of Sir John Logan Campbell, bodies noted for their civic philanthropy.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:
The place has outstanding significance as one of the grandest surviving shopping arcades of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century date in New Zealand. It also has special value for incorporating the remnants of what is believed to be the earliest surviving purpose built arcade in the country (1899-1900). Its significance includes outstanding aesthetic qualities derived from the building's imposing Italianate style façades, lofty top-lit central thoroughfare which retains its overall original form, height and volume, and for the survival of decorative plaster detailing in the promenade and some of the retail spaces.
(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:
The Strand Arcade is a rare surviving example of a purpose-built shopping arcade of late-Victorian or Edwardian date in New Zealand.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
The place forms part of a historical landscape in the central Queen Street and Wellesley and Elliott Street area of Auckland's commercial heart. The landscape contains a number of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings including the former Auckland Savings Bank Building and the Smith and Caughey Department Store. It is also part of a wider historical landscape in the Queen Street Valley which contains a considerable number of notable heritage buildings.
Summary of Significance or Values:
This place was assessed against, and found to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, g, j and k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place because:
- it is a rare surviving example of a purpose-built shopping arcade of late-Victorian or Edwardian date in New Zealand;
- it has special value for incorporating the remnants of what is believed to be the earliest surviving purpose built arcade in the country (1899-1900). In its rebuilt form(1909-10), it is also one of the country's earliest full-standing survivors;
- it has outstanding significance as one of the grandest surviving shopping arcades in New Zealand;
-it has outstanding aesthetic qualities derived from its imposing Italianate style façades and lofty top-lit central thoroughfare, which retains the overall original form, height and volume of the public space.
Early history of the site:
Prior to European settlement in 1840, it is thought that several groups occupied Horotiu, an area on Auckland's present-day Symonds Street ridge and Queen Street gully. The former Horotiu pa is said to have been located on land now within Albert Park and traditions mention a small pa on or near the current Town Hall. Cultivations at Horotiu were intermittently maintained during inter-tribal hostilities in the early nineteenth century. In 1837, Te Taou (a section of Ngati Whatua) planted crops in the area at a time when food was grown to supply the increasing number of Pakeha visiting the Waitemata Harbour. Ngati Whatua's offer to transfer a large area of land to the British Crown for the creation of a colonial capital at Auckland was formally agreed in September 1840.
In the early years of European settlement the colonial capital's principal street was Shortland Street, which connected the foreshore and commercial area to the epicentre of administrative power based around Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant. As early as 1858 the direction of future growth changed when fire destroyed a city block attracting further new development into the Queen Street area.
Most of the site later occupied by the Strand Arcade was originally a Crown Grant of just over 1000 square metres (quarter of an acre) made in 1842 to stonemason William Greenwood. Prior to 1866 the land was developed with three modest timber shops on the Queen Street frontage and a single-storey brick and timber dwelling fronting Elliott Street. The Albert Brewery was located on the rear part of the adjoining site to the south. In September 1873, all structures except the adjoining brewery were consumed by a fire which destroyed over 50 buildings. The replacement premises constructed on Greenwood's site appear to have been modest low-rise commercial buildings.
In 1894, Ehrenfried Brothers acquired Greenwood's land to the north of their brewery. Upon Louis Ehrenfried's death in January 1897, his nephew and heir Arthur Mielziner Myers (1867-1926) became managing director of the newly merged Campbell and Ehrenfried enterprise the largest brewery concern in the colony. The idea for the arcade development appears to have arisen prior to Ehrenfried's death. Both keen businessmen, Ehrenfried and Myers were likely to have been aware of Sydney's City Arcade and Melbourne's Block Arcade constructed in 1892, reference being made to the splendid arcades of both cities in a promotional supplement published about Myers' Strand Arcade in November 1900.
The concept of the arcade, or the provision of a large number of shops inside a structure usually owned by a single investor, reflected the development of shopping as a fashionable activity. Auckland's first substantial arcade is likely to have been Victoria Arcade erected in 1884-6. Located on the east side of Queen Street between Fort and Shortland Streets it was commenced during a period of buoyant growth which tailed off into severe economic depression from late 1885. Economic recovery in 1896 saw construction of the Strand Arcade in 1899-1900 followed by His Majesty's Arcade in 1902. Both reflected new trends in retail development and capitalised on Auckland's surging population growth and an emerging and increasingly prosperous middle class as an expanding consumer market.
Construction of the Strand Arcade:
In 1899, the row of small shops housing a variety of businesses was demolished to make way for the Strand Arcade, one of a number of redevelopments underway on Queen Street around the turn of the century. Designed by prolific Auckland architect Arthur P. Wilson (1851-1937), the Strand Arcade was originally intended to incorporate a theatre. Wilson had arrived from London in 1880 and was to design many commercial buildings in the heart of Auckland in the three decades commencing from the late 1880s.
Construction began on 1 July 1899. In March 1900 Myers gained an interest in adjoining land ensuring that light admission through the arcade's glass roof would not be blocked by new construction. Difficulties in laying the foundations necessitated construction of the basement in two parts. The Arcade, erected during a shortage of skilled labour caused by the South African - or Boer - War, was completed by contractor J. Thomas Julian (1843-1921) in September 1900. Actively involved in local body politics as a councillor and chair of the Auckland Harbour Board, Yorkshire-born Julian had arrived in Auckland in 1883 and by the beginning of the twentieth century had developed a sizeable contracting firm.
The Strand Arcade was designed in an ornate Italianate architectural style favoured for commercial buildings of the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras and was one of an increasing number of Auckland buildings to provide rental offices on the upper floors. Arcades were an efficient way of developing a small site in a built-up area with a potentially profitable selection of neat and elegant shops specialising in choice and expensive merchandise. They frequently incorporated stores, offices and workshops on their upper floors. A privately-owned realm within the public zone, they were places socially protected from the street to encourage an elite class of shopper.
Arthur Myers and early use of the Strand Arcade:
In 1900 Myers visited London's Bond Street and the Burlington Arcade while attending a world Chamber of Commerce conference. He is likely to have named his arcade after the famous street linking the city of London with the city of Westminster. His involvement as a member of the three-person syndicate responsible for construction of His Majesty's Arcade (1902) also located on Auckland's Queen Street was a further expression of his confidence in arcades as a concept and business proposition.
Although relatively young, Arthur Myers was a member of the new financial leadership that had emerged with the upswing of prosperity following the financial failure of many of Auckland's first commercial elite in the late 1880s. A philanthropist, Myers was also a local body politician of note who actively promoted transformation of Auckland into a world-class city and made a lasting contribution to civic affairs as Mayor. He was a driving force behind the building of the single-span concrete bridge across Grafton Gully (1907-1910) and construction of Auckland's Town Hall (1909-1911). He gifted what later became Myers' Park, a green space of over two hectares on Queen Street, and financed the building of a free kindergarten there.
Myers subsequently went into national politics, serving as an independent Member of Parliament from 1911 until 1923. In 1912 he promoted what could be regarded as the dominion's first town-planning bill. He served as Minister of Customs during the First World War (1914-1918) also filling in as Minister of Finance while Sir Joseph Ward was absent abroad, and was Minister in Charge of Munitions and Supplies. Myers was knighted in 1924 by which time he was living permanently in Britain.
The Strand Arcade was promoted as a favourite destination in Queen Street and was 'the busiest of promenades' on a Saturday night. The basement of the Elliott Street section accommodated offices associated with Campbell and Ehrenfried's Albert Brewery, while the Queen Street basement housed what was reputed to be New Zealand's largest restaurant. Nineteen shops were located on the ground floor while the upper levels accommodated various warehouses, sample rooms, a large meeting and gathering venue, and a photographic studio. Small tenancies provided rooms for groups such as a new lodge of the Theosophical Society chartered in Auckland in 1903 under the name H.P.B. Lodge. The design, mix of specialty shopping, tea rooms and meeting venues facilitating safe and respectable social interaction, made the Strand Arcade a popular meeting place in Auckland's main street.
By 1905 the shops' tenants included tailors, mercers, jewellers, a herbalist, a dressmaker, several 'fancy goods' dealers, a picture framer, a crockery merchant and a woodworker. A branch of the Post and Telegraph Office was also located on the ground floor, to provide for those doing business at the upper end of Queen Street and city hall. The Government's Land Valuation Department occupied part of the second floor. Much of the remaining space provided offices for manufacturers' agents. The Picadilly tearooms is said to have soon become a favourite meeting place for Auckland's women.
Fire and reconstruction:
In August 1909 the Strand Arcade was extensively damaged by a fire. The front wall of the building was subsequently demolished and the top sections of the walls adjoining the Thistle and Albert Hotels were taken down. A £21,957 contract for the rebuilding was awarded to Auckland builder J. D. Jones in March 1910, by which time construction of half of the ground floor had already been completed.
The height of the Elliott Street section of the building was increased from three storeys to four to match the Queen Street portion of the Arcade. The Queen Street façade featured bay windows and a wrought iron balcony giving the building a more modern appearance. The interior was ferro-concrete with brick partition walls to reduce the risk of fire. Pilasters replaced the brick arches that had separated the shops on the ground floor. Arches supporting the central glass roof were replaced by a more simple trabeated system constructed in ferro-concrete. The interior layout was similar to the 1899 design. The upper floors had broad galleries off a lightwell running almost the length of the building. Ornate bridges on the upper floors spanned the central void.
Subsequent use and association with the Myers and with Campbell and Ehrenfried:
In 1914 the Albert Brewery closed following the amalgamation of part of Campbell and Ehrenfried's business with the Great Northern Brewery to form Lion Brewery. With the relocation of industrial processes away from an increasingly specialised inner-city commercial environment, the Strand Arcade became Campbell and Ehrenfried's head office. In conjunction with Fuller Hayward in 1916 the firm opened the Strand Picture Theatre on the former brewery site, catering for the growing popularity of cinema entertainment. A wide internal marble staircase was built from the Strand Arcade to the theatre foyer fulfilling Myers' original vision of an up-to-the-minute shopping and leisure destination complete with theatre.
In 1923 the Strand Arcade passed into the ownership of Paddington Properties, a company established as custodian of Myers' personal assets. That year also Campbell and Ehrenfried's brewing assets were absorbed into New Zealand Breweries whereupon the firm devoted itself solely to importation of wines and spirits and the operation of its hotels.
Following Myers' death in 1926, the day-to-day management of the firm and the family's affairs continued from offices in the Strand Arcade. Upon the death of Sir Alfred Bankart in 1930, Myers' son, Kenneth (later Sir Kenneth) took over the running of Campbell and Ehrenfried. Philanthropic legacies from the Sir John Logan Campbell Estate and the affairs of the associated Cornwall Park Trust Board were also still being administered from an office in the Strand Arcade in the 1940s.
Physically, the exterior of the Strand Arcade remained little altered. A verandah was first added to the Queen Street frontage in 1936, to be replaced by shelters of various designs over the years. Some of the Arcade's shops were amalgamated to create a few larger spaces. In 1950, the architect George Tole redecorated the interior in cherry and black colourings, after which the Arcade is said to have gained a return to popularity.
In 1970 Paddington Properties sold the Strand Arcade to Campbell and Ehrenfried for $870,000 as part of executive director Douglas Myers' effort to raise finance for his purchase of the Myers' family interests in Campbell and Ehrenfried. The Arcade was on-sold to Broadlands for $3.5 million in 1972.
The Orient Restaurant, believed to have been Auckland's first Chinese restaurant to obtain a full liquor licence, was established in a disused basement of the Strand Arcade in 1971. The interior of the Arcade's public area was refurbished in 1971-1972 introducing what were perceived to be Edwardian-style shop fronts, but the original concept and demarcation of the space as a series of discrete retail units on either side of the internal promenade remained. Marble tiling in the pedestrian area and the ground floor elevator lobby and stair area may also date from this period.
In November 1974, Campbell and Ehrenfried vacated their offices of six decades. Following refurbishment of the upper floors the premises became the corporate headquarters of the Broadlands Dominion Group, a subsidiary of Challenge Corporation which was by 1977 New Zealand's largest company by turnover. A trend towards large suburban shopping malls with plentiful car parking contributed to a move way from central city shopping, while the emergence of office park developments had an impact on traditional demand for inner-city office accommodation. As Central City Properties, Broadlands sold the Strand Arcade in 1993, by which time the building's original roof-light had been replaced.
Purchased for $11.5 million by the New Zealand Guardian Trust, a body formed by insurance company interests South British Guardian Trust and NZI, the building was subdivided into six unit titles and on-sold in 2003. The basement and ground floor remained in retail and restaurant use. In addition to provision of office space, the upper floors were adapted for a variety of activities including uses associated with English language teaching and tourism. The Strand Arcade continues in use as a shopping arcade providing for other uses on the floors above, the general purpose for which it was originally erected.
- Original Construction: 1899 (circa) - 1900 (circa)
- Other: 1909 (circa)
- Other: 1910 (circa)
- Addition: 1910 (circa)
- Addition: 1936 (circa)
- Modification: 1971 (circa) - 1972 (circa)
- Modification: 1975 (circa)
- Addition: 1976 (circa)
- Modification: 1991 (circa)
- Modification - Refurbishment of upper floors. Insertion of opening in north party wall, second floor: post-1993
Brick, reinforced concrete, corrugated iron roof
- Wises Post Office Directories,1950-1981
- Johann Friedrich Geist, Arcades: The History of a Building Type, Cambridge, Mass., 1983
- Paul Goldsmith and Michael Bassett, The Myers, Auckland, 2007
- T. Hodgson, The Heart of Colonial Auckland 1865-1910, Random Century NZ Ltd, Auckland 1992
- Gordon McLauchlan, The Story of Beer: Beer and Brewing - A New Zealand History, Auckland, 1994
- Kathryn A. Morrison, English Shops and Shopping, New Haven, 2003
- Auckland City Council,Auckland City Environments, property file 233-237 Queen Street
Heritage Division - City Planning, scheduled item file Ref. No. 137
- Land Information New Zealand,DP 2061, CT NA93/15, CT NA69904, Deeds Index 1A/168 & 1A/169 North Auckland Land District
- Auckland Weekly News,30 June 1899, (Supplement) p.8; 3 March 1910, p. 28(1); 16 March 1910, p. 23(2)
- Evening Post,5 October 1993, p. 13
- New Zealand Herald,27 July 1900, p. 4; 18 August 1900, p. 5(2); 19 August 1909, p. 6; 21 August 1909, p. 8(2)
- Observer,17 November 1900, Strand Arcade Special Supplement
- Cleave's Auckland Provincial Directory, Auckland,1906-1921
- Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory,1930-1940
A fully referenced Registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region office.
Report Written By
Martin Jones, Joan McKenzie
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