Collins' Bakery Complex (Former)

49 Torquay Street, Kaikoura

  • Collin's Bakery Complex (Former). West (front) elevation of house and shop.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Gareth Wright. Date: 28/10/2005.
  • Collins’ Bakery soda fountain c1905, Kaikoura Museum.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Gareth Wright. Date: 27/10/2005.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1456 Date Entered 15th December 2006

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Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the buildings of the former Collins' Bakery Complex (including the house, shop and flour store), their fittings and fixtures, and the land on Certificate of Title MB35/269; but excluding all other structures on this title.

City/District Council

Kaikoura District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 24 Town of Kaikoura (CT MB35/269), Marlborough Land District

Summaryopen/close

The Collins' Bakery Complex (Former) comprises three buildings: a house, a former shop, and a former flour store. Together the buildings depict facets of the operation of a small bakery at the turn of the century, and suggest features typical of Edwardian business.

In 1892, Durham-born former Christchurch baker Alfred Collins founded a small bakery and confectionary in the West End of Kaikoura. The business apparently thrived, and in 1905 Collins purchased a block of land in Torquay St to permit expansion of his operation.

On the new site, Collins had his brother John construct a shop and an adjacent dwelling, a stables, a bakehouse with two ovens, and a flour store. The new premises offered such enticements as a tearooms and a soda fountain. Alfred ran the bakery until his retirement in about 1925, when sons Alfred and George took over the business. The Collins brothers continued to operate the bakery until 1957, when it was bought out and closed by the competition. The shop subsequently became a hairdressing salon, whilst the house has been rented out for nearly 40 years.

Collins' Bakery is architecturally significant as an example of the once-common juxtaposition of family and commercial space. The complex has historical significance as a rare example of an Edwardian bakery complex. The buildings have social significance for what they say about bakery production at the turn of the century, and more generally, for what they suggest about the nature of Edwardian business - particularly the characteristically domestic and local scale of production.

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Historical Significance or Value

The Collins' Bakery Complex has historical significance or value as the residence and business premises of Kaikoura's baker for over fifty years. Together they indicate the modest scale typical of an Edwardian business. They are a significant heritage feature in a small town with relatively few heritage items. The buildings also have historical significance as a rare example of an Edwardian bakery complex.

The Collins' Bakery Complex includes a house and shop with architectural significance or value, a well-preserved example of this once-common juxtaposition. Until the mid twentieth century, many small shops and commercial premises had a dwelling attached. In this case, the pleasingly proportioned and decorative villa dominates the unpretentious adjacent shop.

The buildings also have social significance as a reflection of the once close association of work and home. This close association was a by-product of limited transport options; but in the case of a bakery, with the typically anti-social hours required, was a functional necessity.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history.

The buildings together represent characteristic aspects of small business in Edwardian provincial New Zealand. These include its small-scale family owned and operated nature, and the seamlessness of domestic and commercial space.

(f) The potential of the place for public education.

The buildings have the potential to educate the public about the characteristically domestic and local scale of bakery production (and of many other businesses), before large commercial enterprises came to predominate in the mid twentieth century. This educational potential is enhanced by the collection of former Collin's Bakery utensils and shop fittings held by the Kaikoura Museum.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

The buildings are a rare example of a purpose-built Edwardian bakery complex. The two purpose-built bakeries presently on the Register (#871 and 4248) both date from the 1920s.

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Historical Narrative

The buildings of the Collins' Bakery Complex, built around 1905, together illustrate various facets of the operation of a small bakery at the turn of the nineteenth century - including production and retail. They also suggest typical features of Edwardian business, such as its domestic scale and the absence of significant division between work and home.

In 1892, Durham-born former Christchurch baker Alfred Collins founded a small bakery and confectionary in the West End area of Kaikoura. The business apparently thrived; the Cyclopaedia of New Zealand reported in 1906:

His reputation as a confectioner is so good that his services as a caterer are much in request. Tropical fruits and colonial fruits in their season are on sale in Mr Collin's well-kept shop, as well as sweets and confectionary.

In 1905 Collins purchased a block of land in Torquay Street from his brother John. John, a carpenter, subsequently constructed a new shop, adjacent dwelling, stables (for deliveries) and bakehouse/flourstore for Alfred and his family. The larger premises permitted an expansion of the business, including the operation of a small tearoom in the shop until about 1935. Also in the shop was a large marble soda fountain, offering customers the choice of eight soft drink flavours. The new corrugated iron bakehouse contained two, usually manuka-fired, brick ovens. Family history records that Alfred was badly injured at some point by the collapse of one of these ovens, and remained in a coma for six weeks.

About 1925 Alfred had a new bungalow constructed across Torquay Street. Shortly after its completion however, he and his wife retired back to Christchurch. After Alfred's departure, his sons Alfred and George took over the bakery business, which traded thereafter as Collins Brothers. George moved into the bakery house, and Alfred into the bungalow. After Alfred Collins senior's death in 1931, the bakery property was transmitted to the Public Trustee - in whose hands it remained until 1949, when it was transferred to George Collins.

During the 1920s another bakery was established in Yarmouth Street, around the corner from the Collins'. Owned initially by James Davison, it was purchased by local grocer A. E. Lee Ltd during the 1950s. In a rationalisation move, A. E. Lee then purchased and closed the Collins Brothers bakery in 1957. As part of the purchase arrangement, Alfred Collins went to work for A. E. Lee in their Yarmouth Street bakery until his retirement.

In 1962 A. E. Lee sold the former bakery to hairdresser Nellie Miller and plumber Ronald Monk. Many of the shop's fittings were subsequently transferred to the Kaikoura Museum, and the shop became a hairdressing salon. The salon continued to operate until about 1992.

Following the marriage of Miller and Monk in 1966, the property was sold to company director Joseph Graham. The Graham family lived in the house for a short period, and then from the late 1960s, leased it out. After Joseph Graham's death in 1985, the shop and house were transmitted to his widow Naomi, and sons Barry and Ernest Graham - both bakers. Since the death of their mother in 1993, the brothers have held the property in half share.

About 2000 the house was painted and renovated. The external renovations were limited to the rebuilding of the rear verandah balustrade to a different form, and the removal of the chimney. Internally, the kitchen/living room was enlarged with the removal of the original coal range, chimney and its associated wall; whilst the remaining interior walls were re-clad in plaster board. During July 2006 the former bakehouse - in poor condition after fifty years of disuse - was demolished. The adjacent former flour store remains however, and is used for storage. The house is tenanted, but the former shop is currently vacant.

Physical Description

Kaikoura is a small coastal town on the eastern seaboard of the South Island. It is geographically isolated from other centres of population but sits astride State Highway 1. Consequently the township has served through much of its history both as a rural service centre and as a transit point between Marlborough and Canterbury. The older part of Kaikoura township is located in a long narrow ribbon below a former sea cliff, book-ended by areas known respectively as the East and West Ends.

Midway between the East and West Ends, Kilarney Street - the principal southern entry point into Kaikoura township - descends the sea cliff to meet the former main thoroughfare of Torquay Street. Torquay Street runs parallel to the sea but a block inland, and is one of two streets linking the East and West Ends. At the turn of the nineteenth century, it was a mixed commercial, service and residential neighbourhood; containing the post office, courthouse, Anglican church, hotels and shops. However the commercial focus of Kaikoura shifted away to the West End during the mid years of the twentieth century. The neighbourhood today is consequently primarily residential. There are several other registered buildings in the vicinity.

The bakery house is a symmetrical two-storey square villa with a hipped roof. Its front (western) elevation has two square bay windows on the ground floor, either side of a panelled door with top and side lights. The first floor has two twin double-hung sash windows either side of a single double-hung sash window. A concrete and cast iron front fence separates the house from Torquay Street. Eave brackets surround three sides of the building. The rear (eastern) elevation has a galleried verandah, with fretwork brackets. Originally this had an oriental style stick balustrade on the first floor, but this was replaced with a simplified form in 2000. The lower floor of verandah has been partially filled-in. The small gabled shop building projects forward to the street to the east of the house, partially separated from it by a short alley. There is no direct access between the shop and house; the shop was originally entered at the rear from under the verandah.

The recently demolished (July 2006) former bakehouse - a long, narrow, single-storey, partly match-lined shed - extended from the road frontage down the northern boundary of the property. Its site has now been cleared. At the rear (east end) of the bakehouse site is the two storey former flour store. A gabled door once permitted the hoisting of sacks to the first floor of this building.

Adjoining the east side of the flour store is a large corrugated iron shed. In the angle of the flour store and the large shed is a carport. Beyond the large shed is a smaller shed. These two sheds and the carport are not part of the registration.

Comparative Analysis: There are presently seven bakeries on the NZHPT Register. Of these, two (2821: Halcombe Bakery; 1295: Burt's Bakery and Stables) have been recently demolished. Of the others, two (4106: Royal Forest and Bird Cottage in Pauatahanui; and 5193: Butchery, Bakery and Tearooms, in Methven) were not purpose-built bakery buildings, and one (6185: Bakery/Store, on Great Barrier Island) is an archaeological site only. The remaining two bakeries (871: Nelson's Bakery and Old Bakehouse, in Inglewood; and 4248: Bakery, in Ngaruawahia) were purpose-built in c1923 and 1928 respectively. A bakery attached to a house and store has recently been nominated in Central Region. Collins' Bakery thus appears to be a rare example of a relatively complete Edwardian bakery complex.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1905 -
Construction of all buildings, with possible exception of the shop.

Modification
2000 -
Renovation of house and shop buildings, including removal of coal range and chimney, replacement of original verandah balustrade.

Demolished - additional building on site
2006 -
Demolition of former bakehouse building.

Demolished - additional building on site
-
Demolition of bakehouse ovens and stable block.

Construction Details

The shop and house are shiplap weatherboard with corrugated iron roofs. The flour store is corrugated iron.

Completion Date

16th August 2006

Report Written By

Gareth Wright / Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1906

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 5, Nelson, Marlborough, Westland, 1906

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region Office

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.