Australian Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited Head Office (Former)

203-213 Lambton Quay And 22-32 Grey Street, Wellington

  • Australian Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited Head Office (Former). Wellington. CC Licence 3.0. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Tony Willis - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Tony Willis. Date: 3/12/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1435 Date Entered 28th June 1990

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Wellington City

Region

Wellington Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 A 207, Lot 1 DP 8093 (CT WN56A/636), Wellington Land District

Summaryopen/close

The Australian Temperance and General Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited was established in 1876 in Melbourne. Business developed rapidly and by 1903 the company had offices in New Zealand and all over Australia.

T & G's first offices in Wellington, the New Zealand Head Office, were where Midland Park, Lambton Quay is now. The company bought the site of the present building in 1924 and in 1928 erected what was then one of Wellington's biggest and grandest buildings [now known as the Harcourt's Building]. Prior to the T & G, Commercial Union Assurance Company had owned and occupied a building on this site since 1890. T & G merged with National Mutual in 1983.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Until its merger with National Mutual T & G was one of New Zealand's most successful insurance companies. Inaugurated in Australia it had its New Zealand head office in Wellington for eighty years. The imposing building which still bears the T & G name continues a 100 year association of this site with insurance companies.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The T & G building is a worthy representative of the transitional period between the Classical revival and Art Deco movements. The building uses contemporary materials of structural steel and reinforced concrete in an imaginative manner combined with the formality of classicism.

A recognisable style became associated with the company and the building owes much to the designs of T & G offices in the major Australian cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. The building, however, lacks the characteristic tiered tower. Largely in original condition its substantial size, bold form and decoration make it a major landmark on Wellington's principal thoroughfare.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

The character and scale of the land and building are comparable to the nearby DIC building and together they form a coherent statement. The T & G building adds significantly to the east side architecture of Lambton Quay. Its corner siting gives it a strikingly handsome appearance.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Atkins & Mitchell

The firm of Atkins and Bacon was established in Wellington in 1908 by Alfred Atkins (1850-1919) and Roger Bacon. Cyril Hawthorn Mitchell (1891-1949) was taken on as a draughtsman in 1909 and became a partner in 1918. This partnership was shortlived, however, as Roger Bacon moved to Blenheim owing to failing health and Alfred Atkins died in 1919 leaving the young Mitchell on his own.

C.H. Mitchell built up the firm of Atkins and Mitchell, renaming it Mitchell and Mitchell when joined by his brother Allan Hawthorn Mitchell (d.-1973) in 1932. The firm of Mitchell and Mitchell continues today as Gooch Mitchell Macdiarmid.

During his time in the firm (1909-1949) C.H. Mitchell was responsible for such buildings as the Commercial Travellers Club Building (1929), the Waterloo Hotel (1936), the Central Fire Station (1935) M.L.C. Building, 33-37 Hunter Street, (1940). He was architect to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and studied the construction of banking chambers in Europe.

Henderson, Anketell & K.

Anketell Matthew Henderson (1853-1922) and his son Kingsley Anketell Henderson, formed the partnership Anketell and K. Henderson in 1906. The partnership was based in Melbourne and at one time Collins Street had seven buildings designed by this practice. They specialised in banks, insurance company buildings, hospitals and universities. K.A. Henderson placed great emphasis on the commercial and functional aspects of city office planning, including maximum space to let and maximum levels of natural lighting.

In New Zealand the firm was responsible for the design of the

T & G Building, Wellington (1927-28). This design was closely related to other T and G buildings in Australia particularly the head office in Melbourne. After the death of K.A. Henderson in 1942 the firm continued until the 1960s.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

ARCHITECT/ENGINEER OR DESIGNER:

A. & K. HENDERSON

K. A. HENDERSON (1883-1942)

ATKINS & MITCHELL (Supervising Architects)

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

The eight storey building is transitional, coming between the Classic Revival and the Art Deco movements. It also shows the influence of Louis Sullivan and the Chicago School with the expression of its three distinct parts - base, shaft and capital.

The shaft of the building emphasises verticality with the use of traditional heavy white walls alternating with deeply recessed panels of glass and dark coloured metal spandrels. The capital of the building expresses classicism. It has paired Doric columns above the solid portions. There are arched windows between the columns.

The capital or entablature is defined by balustraded balconies on large corbels and is topped by a classical cornice emphasised by the use of modillions.

The interior features an impressive ground floor foyer. Again classically inspired, it has polished marble cladding on the lower part of the walls and plaster above. The wooden panelled lifts are original. A fine balustraded staircase ascends from here.

MODIFICATIONS:

No major alterations to date.

Notable Features

The spandrels

The balustraded balconies

Entrance foyer and staircase

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1928 -

Construction Details

Steel framed building, with concrete fireproofing. Foundations, reinforced concrete. Roof finished with asphalt. Exterior walls are 330mm brick, plastered. Interior walls are brick or reinforced concrete.

Information Sources

Evening Post

Evening Post

Obituary Mr C.H. Mitchell, 24/2/1949

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Barbara Fill. C.H. Mitchell, 1891-1949 Report for Wellington Regional Committee of the NZHPT, 1984

Stacpoole, 1972

John Stacpoole and Peter Beaven, 'Architecture 1820-1970', Wellington, 1972

Wellington Regional Council

Wellington Regional Council

Wellington Regional Committee File, T & G Building

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.