Friday, January 21, 2011

Part of an old floor preserved

One of my discoveries today on a day basically spent rambling through history from Karangahape Road to Parnell and then down to near the Auckland waterfront, is this: Levy's Building, corner Commerce Street and Customs Street East.

There is information on the building, which dates from 1896-1897, at the Heritage New Zealand site (it has a Category II registration).

But, what makes this building the subject of a post here, is this:

Set in the beautifully polished floor of the Lonely Dog Gallery on the ground floor, is a remnant, specially conserved and preserved, of blocks of wood which made up part of the floor of the original 19th century warehouse which was once here. The gallery staff member on duty today very kindly gave me permission to take a photograph (it's at an odd angle because I was trying not to get any of the art on display in the shot, and therefore infringe copyright.)

To access the display, go into the gallery (oohh and aahh over the art, it's quite beautiful -- check out the YouTube link), turn left at the entrance, and you'll see the inlaid case in the alcove there.

The sign in the case reads, in part:

The blocks in this case are made from the wood of the Kauri tree ... and were once part of the floor laid in a warehouse that occupied this building in thev late 1890s.

Gilmore, Younghusband & Co, tea merchants, leased  the Levy Building for over twenty years (1897-1918) ...

The Levy Building's Art Deco facade (refurbished in 1934) disguises the building's original appearance as it stood in the commercial hey-day of this part of Auckland City. Erected in 1897, the perimeter walls are of unreinforced brick masonry, typical for the era and purpose for which it was built.

The blocks are the only known remnants of this kind of flooring to have found in the city ... When found in late 2005 many of the kauri cobbles had sustained major structural damage caused by the intermittently damp ground conditions at the site. Conservation work was carried out in 2006 at the University of Auckland ...


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  2. Sorry Lisa I had to delete my first one as it was in the wrong location! I had K road on my brain for some reason. This is really cool seeing those Kauri cobbles like that. Great they've preserved them and they can be seen.

  3. Not to worry, Liz. I mentioned I passed through K'Rd earlier in the post, that's why. :-)

  4. Oh that is fantastic! What a nice find :-)

    Speaking of finding relics... couple years back we went to Putaruru Museum and i photographed these 'ricker' piles ... the way the notice is worded with them though, i don't know if these ones were the ones used for constructing Princess Wharf or not.. the notice is a bit ambiguous. If they were ones used in Princess Wharf how did they end up at Waotu South?!

  5. That sign is very odd, Sandy. Princes (not Princess) Wharf here was built in the 20th century, not the 19th. There’s a Wiki page on it. Perhaps they meant Queen's Wharf? Or even lower Queen Street? They could have been sold by the Auckland Harbour Board to farmers when made redundant (the Board handled Manukau Harbour as well as Waitemata, so that's the gateway link -- possibly -- to Waikato). Interesting find, though.

  6. ahhhhh thanks for that :-) I thought it didn't sound right..the whole Princess thing, because yes i've heard of Princes Wharf... didn't really know anything about it though. I'm such a noob with Auckland history LOL... am so connected to Canterbury. That's why i love your blog. Learn so much!

    Don't drown out there today! Wild, wet and windy innit!


  7. No worries about that. I'm huddled here at home, mucking about on the 'Net, and blogging ... ;-)