Thursday, November 19, 2015

East Street Methodist Mission Hall

East Street, off Karangahape Road, was chopped up severely by the motorway development of the 1960s-1980s. But here is a survivor I came upon yesterday – wondering, as I do, what its history is. 

Turns out that what is now the Congregational Church of Jesus started out as the East Street Methodist Mission Hall and Sunday school, built by Lye & Sons, to the design of Alexander Wiseman (1865-1915), and completed in February 1909. 

Four memorial stones on the fa├žade that would have given me the info as to its history have now either been removed or plastered over – you can see the remains as the light brown squares in the brickwork, two by the entrance, one each at each corner. These were laid on 17 October 1908, by George Fowlds, Mrs James Craig, Re J & Mrs Wilson for the Newton congregation, and Thomas Clark for the congregation of the Helping Hand church of Freemans Bay. 

The hall’s design allowed for seating for 850 people, and the school could accommodate 250.Total cost of construction was around £3000. 

Perhaps it was affected by the obliteration of the residential community in Newton due to the motorway, and then went to the Congregational Church. At least it does still exist. 

Alexander Wiseman, by the way, was born in Fort Street in 1865, and was apprenticed to architect Edward Bartley. He left for Australia in his 20s, returned in 1904, and among his designs are the Ferry Building, the YMCA building in Wellesley Street, George Winstone’s residence in Symonds Street, “Marinoto” on the corner of Airedale and Symonds Street, and “Atalanga” in St Andrews Road. He had been “in indifferent health” for some time prior to his early death 21 September 1915.

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