Entrance Gates and Wall, Marlborough Agricultural & Pastoral Association Showgrounds
A & P Park, 149-183 Maxwell Road, Redwoodtown, Blenheim
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Able to Visit
25th November 1982
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Lots 1-2 DP 1145 (CT MB3A/111; NZ Gazette 1983, p.3170), Marlborough Land District and the structure known as Entrance Gates and Wall, Marlborough Agricultural & Pastoral Association Showgrounds, thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 8 March 2018.
Pt Lots 1-2 DP 1145 (CT MB3A/111; NZ Gazette 1983, p.3170), Marlborough Land District
The Marlborough Agricultural & Pastoral (A & P) Association constructed the Entrance Gates and Wall in 1928-29 as the crowning project for a large scheme of improvements to its showgrounds achieved in the 1920s. The structure has historical, architectural, and aesthetic significance; the ornamental iron gates, in particular, are the work of an important firm of the period. The Entrance Gates and Wall, along with the Grandstand and the Covered Sheep Pens, and the open space of the grounds, still convey a clear sense of the historic showground landscape.
The Wairau Agricultural Society was founded in 1870 during a period of rapid expansion of this type of organisation. The organisation split in 1874 after a close vote in favour of purchasing Maxwell Road land. It reconsolidated in February 1876 as the Marlborough Agricultural Association and changed its name to the Marlborough Agricultural and Pastoral Association in 1880.
When purchased in 1874, the showgrounds on Maxwell Road contained approximately six acres; the first show occurred there in April 1875. Although the main purpose of agricultural shows was to ‘display new breeds and encourage improvements in stock,’ they were also a central feature provincial New Zealand’s social calendar and usually drew big crowds.
The Association made regular improvements to the showgrounds, but sometime between 1908 and 1928 it doubled the size of the showgrounds through aquisition(s) of land to the south. This expansion permitted the reorganisation and modernisation of the facilities, including the construction of larger buildings and structures, most notably covered sheep pens (1923), a masonry grandstand (1924-25), and the Maxwell Road brick wall with entrance and service gates (1927-29). Even before all of the improvements were realised, the Marlborough Express described them as ‘splendid’ and suggested they ‘placed the grounds in the forefront of any in New Zealand for modernity and completeness.’
Initially, the Entrance Gates and Wall were not part of the ‘original scheme of improvements,’ but became a priority through substantial donations for the purpose. Alexander McBeth Stewart, an ‘architect and constructional designer’ who emigrated from Glasgow, provided the design for the main gates. Construction began in November 1928 and work was completed before the annual show in October 1929.
J & W Faulkner designed and fabricated the elegant iron gates fitted into the four pedestrian entrance portals in the main gate and pairs for the service/automobile gates positioned to the north and south of the main gate. The company was one of the country’s leading ornamental iron manufacturers, with its work featured at Parliament and Government Buildings in Wellington. The company had an apparent commitment to raising and promoting the quality of domestic iron products and their work was held in ‘high favour’ for its ‘handsome appearance and apparent solidity.’
The Marlborough Express rightfully described the recently completed structure in 1929: ‘a very imposing brick boundary wall, complete with handsome gates and built-in ticket-boxes.’ The gates and wall, which extends for the entire boundary of the grounds along Maxwell Road, contain an estimated 50,000 bricks. The wall and piers at each gateway are topped with concrete coping and the brick structure of the main gate and the piers flanking the secondary gates are set upon concrete plinths. While recent photographs suggest the gates and wall would benefit from repointing, they appear largely unchanged and remain a beautiful landscape feature for the grounds.
J. & W. Faulkner Co. Ltd.
This was a Dunedin-based ironwork and engineering company that manufactured a variety of products. They won several contracts to cast the iron gates and railings required by the Wellington Harbour Board, and were described as an ‘enterprising firm, which moves with the times.’ In the period after World War One the firm was noted as having designed and provided elevator cars for the Parliament and Government buildings in Wellington, among others.
Alexander McBeth Stewart
No biography is currently available for this construction professional
1928 - 1929
25th January 2018
Report Written By
‘Ye Olden Days.’ Marlborough Express. 1 November 1909. p. 2.
A Grand Parade: A History of the Marlborough A & P Association
Brooks, Cynthia. A Grand Parade: A History of the Marlborough A & P Association.
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.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand