Lawrie & Wilson Auctioneers Building (Former)
210 Tuam Street, Christchurch
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
26th November 1981
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lot 3 DP 473664 (CT 703793), Canterbury Land District and the building known as Lawrie & Wilson Auctioneers Building (Former), thereon.
Lot 3 DP 473664 (CT 703793), Canterbury Land District
The commercial building at 210 Tuam Street, Christchurch, was constructed in 1910 for Lawrie & Wilson, auctioneers, and has aesthetic and architectural significance for its ornate Edwardian façade and streetscape appeal. It has historical and social value for its association with its original commercial activity of auctioneering and later as a venue for recreation and entertainment. Following the loss of many historic buildings in the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11, it is now one of the few remaining examples in the city of typical small Edwardian commercial premises.
Messrs Lawrie and Wilson were established wholesale furniture manufacturers in Christchurch who used their intimate knowledge of the furniture trade to set themselves up as auctioneers and land, estate and commission agents the early twentieth century. In 1910 a dedicated commercial building was constructed for them. In reporting the official opening of the building, the Press described the ground floor as having a show room for furniture, an auction room and offices on the ground floor and the entire first floor was a general show room.
The building is situated immediately to the west of the remains of the Odeon Theatre (largely demolished following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11), on the south side of Tuam Street. The Lawrie & Wilson Auctioneers Building is two storeys in height, rectangular in plan. Utilising an Edwardian interpretation of classical forms, its façade has a symmetrical composition with curvilinear ornamentation. The name of the firm LAWRIE & WILSON AUCTIONEERS is carved in stone just below the triangular pediment at the apex of the building. Construction materials are plastered brick with Oamaru stone decoration.
The building ceased to be used as auctioneers’ rooms around the late 1930s. It has had various uses since. Many of the occupants have been manufacturers or tradesmen, and at times it has had a recreational and entertainment function. Perhaps the most infamous occupant was the Pink Pussy Cat Club, a Christchurch strip club which opened on 9 March 1973. In the 1990s it was owned by the Christchurch City Council and at that time its future was uncertain, with the expectation that it would be demolished. It was twice notified for demolition (first in 1991 and again in May 1995) but in the end it was strengthened and restored and became the Council’s parking operations unit. It operated as such until the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11, after which it was acquired by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.
Mr Wilson, of Lawrie and Wilson, auctioneers of Christchurch.
Mr Wilson is said to have carved the Oamaru stone facade details of the company's auction rooms at 210 Tuam Street, Christchurch.
25th May 2017
Report Written By
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 Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.