Blewden, William - Builder
William Blewden (1826-1888)
Little is known of Auckland-based contractor William Blewden. He erected the foundations for the New Zealand Insurance Company Building in 1870, one of the grandest commercial buildings in late-Victorian Auckland. He was the building contractor for six shops and dwellings at the corner of Auckland's Queen and Wellesley Streets in 1874. Between 1870 and 1876, Blewden won contracts for several roading projects associated with the planning and redevelopment of the former Albert Barracks land in the Princes Street area. In 1886 he constructed the three-storey brick Italianate-style Freeman's Hotel in Drake Street, the street in Freemans Bay in which his builder's yard was based. Blewden suffered financial losses during the 1880s economic depression and died in unusual circumstances while journeying to Melbourne in 1888.