183-189 Emerson Street And 47-61 Dalton Street, Napier
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
27th June 1985
Hawke's Bay Region
Pt Town Sec 204 & 205 DP 17790 (CT HBK3/303), Hawkes Bay Land District
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
Central Hotel- Dalton St - Napier
Situated in the heart of Napier's business district, the Central Hotel is a prominent city landmark and a very fine example of Art Deco architecture.
Designed by the local architect E A Williams in 1931 this building was erected as part of the huge rebuilding program required after the Napier earthquake.
The corner site allows full expression of the Art Deco style. Recurring motifs such as the zigzag on the parapet and the characteristic sunburst and octagon shape, decorate the interior as well as the exterior. Geometrical shapes adorn the cornices and columns while the hotel also features impressive lead lighting. The wooden panelling and architraves maintain the continuity of the design.
One of the more outstanding of Napier's many Art Deco buildings, the Central Hotel is a prominent reminder of the devastating 1931 earthquake and the city's subsequent rejuvenation.
Williams, Ernest Arthur
Williams was an architect and engineer who was prominent in Hawkes Bay as a result of his contribution towards the reconstruction of Napier following the 1931 earthquake.
Born in London he immigrated to New Zealand with his family early in 1908, spending a few months in Christchurch before settling in Napier. Initially he joined the Napier firm of architects W P Finch and Company as an architectural draughtsman, employing the skills he had learned during his training in architecture and joinery in England.
He was a member of the engineering staff of the Napier Borough Council until 1912, holding the position of Clerk of Works. He held this position during the building of the Napier Municipal Baths.
Williams set up his own architectural practice in 1912. He was, however, co-opted as Napier Borough Engineer during World War 1, resuming independent architectural practice in 1921.
After the 1931 earthquake his practice expanded to include eight architectural draughtsmen to cope with the large number of commissions to replace buildings which had been destroyed. His completed works include the Criterion Hotel (192), the Central Hotel (1931), Harston's Building (1930 and 1932), the Daily Telegraph Building (1932), the Napier Harbour Board Offices, and hospital buildings on Bluff Hill.