The building

Garden Place Motors – New and Used Car Dealers.  And the question is, what do they sell?

‘New car dealers’ usually have great hoardings showing the trademark name of the vehicles on offer. Not so Garden Place Motors. The Vauxhall parked in front of the building, (which is on the north side next to Pascoe’s) could ‘suggest’ a Vauxhall dealer but period photographs tell me Vauxhall was the territory of Waikato Motors in Hood Street. At any rate, I don’t see this business as a dealer of a prominent brand – maybe Jowett or something equally odd. (Yes – I know, they have their followers.) The vast bulk of motor dealerships were at this time located in Hood, Collingwood and Alexandra Streets.

This building was built squarely in the art deco period – looks obvious, but it is sometimes not the period of the building but the fancy of the owner or architect that brings about a particular style or series of motifs. However, going by the dates given on our photos and looking at the style, it had to be built in the early 30s.

A later photograph has a sign above the building stating ‘Gaiety Skating Rink’ – roller skating would be the only option I think. We’re not sure if the car dealership operated in tandem with the roller skating. The door front faced Garden Place and the bonus came for the owner when the hill was removed. Suddenly here was a building with five pillars, a huge lintel above the door and windows meaning, if they wanted to, four shop fronts were possible.

And here is where we again go to two for the price of one – the photograph below shows the building in (about) 1940.

Looking beyond the hut under construction you can see the building – formerly Garden Place Motors – now transformed into four retail shops. This is in the days of ‘small retailers’ all through New Zealand’s towns and cities. Not much space was required to carry on a small business and these shops were certainly not going to overburden any shopkeeper with excess space. We don’t know the extent of the building front to back but an educated guess based of aerial photos would suggest 40 to 50 feet (does anyone know?).

The front gives the impression of at least 40 feet giving each tenant about 10 feet.

The building was next door to Pascoe’s and eventually became part of Woolworths then Deka. In the initial expansion into Garden Place though, ‘Juvenile Band Box’ was an ‘early adopter’ moving from Victoria Street to a prime Garden Place site probably about 1940.

We don’t yet know what other businesses occupied the building but there was definitely a butcher at the western end. The building was demolished (we think) sometime in the 1970s/80s. It was certainly still giving sterling service in 1967.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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