Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library

2 King George Place And Latter Street, Timaru

  • Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Milly Woods. Date: 4/04/2018.
  • Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library. CC Licence 3.0.
    Copyright: Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Taken By: Jock Phillips.
  • Timaru City Council Ofices and Former Public Library. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Karora - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Karora. Date: 22/04/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2075 Date Entered 23rd June 1983

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lots 1-3 DP 1490 (CT CB185/272), Canterbury Land District and the structure known as Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library thereon. Refer to the map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 31 May 2018.

City/District Council

Timaru District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lots 1-7 DP 7269 (CT CB598/24), Canterbury Land District

Summaryopen/close

The Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library building, built in 1908-12, is a well-crafted, architecturally significant work by Timaru architects Walter Panton and Sons, and is historically significant especially within the context of local government in Timaru and as a Carnegie Library.

In 1904 the Timaru Borough Council purchased a site on George Street from Dr Gabites for £1150 to allow for new corporation buildings to be erected for the Council. Competitive designs for the municipal buildings and library had been called for and that of architect Walter Panton was accepted. The first part of the building completed was the public library, as a result of Mayor James Craigie securing a gift of ₤3000 by ‘steel king’, Andrew Carnegie, for such a purpose. Carnegie was an American philanthropist who donated funds for libraries all over the world, including in New Zealand. The library was constructed in 1908 and opened in 1909. The remainder of Panton’s design, the Municipal Chambers, were completed in 1912 in the same style.

The Timaru City Council Offices and Former Public Library, designed by Walter Panton, is a two storeyed classically designed building, in a palazzo style, with Corinthian capitals, keystones and medallions. The lowest part of the building is made of reddish-grey Timaru stone, while the whole of the upper part of the west and north fronts is of white Oamaru stone. Below is a basement. The main entrance, fronting King George Place, is accessed by seven bluestone steps and a vestibule leading to a pair of doors. Above the main entrance is a balcony and the plain pediment contains the Council’s coat of arms. Inscribed in the stonework of the frieze, are the words ‘Municipal’, ‘Offices’, ‘Public’ and ‘Library’. The rear elevation is of brick covered with lined ashlar cement. A tall reinforced concrete clock tower rises centrally, approximately 23 metres from the roof line, and contains bells behind louvres, and is surmounted by a 7.6 metre flagpole and topped with a lamp.

By the late 1930s, the building had been extended, in the same style, to both the east and the south-west. A major addition in 1933 was the clock tower, designed by Victor H Panton, and built by W J Harding Ltd, which stands tall above the roof line. It houses a clock mechanism given to the city by former Mayor, James Craigie, in 1913, which was original in the Post Office clock tower. In 1946 a Lamp of Remembrance was installed at the top of the flagpole, at the instigation of the then mayor, A E S Hanan, as a memorial to the men of the city who died in the two world wars. In 1962 the parapet, including pediments and finials, was removed during a general facelift of the façade. From 1979 the library part of the building was converted to offices. The building continues to function as the Timaru District Council offices. More modern additions, lower and with streamlined vertical columns, were later made to the east of the building in two stages but these are not included in the List entry.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Hunt and Werry (Builders)

Builders of Hay’s Building (Former), Timaru - 1908 and the concrete and brickwork for the D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings, Timaru - 1901

S Mcbride

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

B R Tooth & Son

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Walter Panton

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Victor Panton

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

W J Harding

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1909 -
Library constructed

Original Construction
1912 -
Municipal Chambers completed

Addition
1926 -

Addition
1934 -
Clock tower constructed

Modification
1946 -
Lamp of Remembrance added to top of flagpole

Modification
-
Façade alterations

Completion Date

3rd May 2018

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Other Information

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 Southern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand