New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Warehouse (Former)

14 Harbour Street And Wansbeck Street, Oamaru

  • New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Warehouse.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Heather Bauchop. Date: 3/04/2008.
  • New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Warehouse (Former). Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 3/04/2008.
  • New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company Warehouse (Former). Image courtesy of vallance.photography@xtra.co.nz.
    Copyright: Francis Vallance. Taken By: Francis Vallance. Date: 31/12/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 354 Date Entered 22nd November 1984

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

The extent includes the land described as Lots 7-8 DP 88 (CTs OT294/243, 8452), Otago Land District, and the building known as the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Grain Store (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Lots 7-8 DP 88 (CT OT294/243, 8452), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

This massive and handsomely detailed grain store built in 1882 for the country’s then largest stock and station agency, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd (NZLMA), is a landmark building in the Oamaru’s Whitestone heritage precinct. Located on the corner of Harbour and Wansbeck Streets, when it was opened it was touted as the country’s largest grain store. Its prominent site and proportions show the scale and wealth of the nineteenth century grain industry.

The first buildings on this site were the concrete stores of the New Zealand and Australian Land Investment Company built in 1875. The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company, incorporated in 1865 as produce, financial and general commercial agents, took over this site but found the existing buildings too small. The new building was designed in a ‘Florentine Renaissance style’ by civil engineers and architects Dennison and Grant, and built by John McCombe. The new ‘monster store’, as it was described in the North Otago Times on 10 January 1882, was capable of holding 100,000 sacks of grain.

The store is three storeys high (over 40 ft (12m)) with a 164 ft (50m) frontage to Harbour Street, and a 176 ft (53m) frontage to the railway siding. At the south it is 116 ft (35m) wide, and at the north, terminating at the Neill Bros Store it is 70 ft (21m) wide. The first floor is supported by bluestone and ‘iron bark’ pillars with cast iron shoes and caps. The upper floor pillars are of ‘red pine’, as are the joists and beams. Four grain elevators carried bags of grain from the ground floor to the top storey on an endless link chain worked by four water engines. The interior detailing is of a high standard, illustrated by the elaborate kauri staircases and rope moulding details in the window joinery.

The building remained in use as a store for many years, used by the various companies which assumed the mantle of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Company (including Dalgetys and Wrightsons). The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust took over ownership of the building in the 1980s and has leased it to various tenants. By the 1980s it had been taken over by local manufacturer Willett’s Furniture. Since 2005 it has been home to a number of businesses including the New Zealand Malt Whisky Company, which has run a general store, restaurant, gallery, and whisky ageing facility from the building, and renowned Otago restaurateur Fleur Sullivan’s Loan and Merc Restaurant.

The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and this, its grain store, have special historical significance. The Company was the largest stock station agency in the country in the 20th century. The massive proportions of this industrial building are symbolic of this pre-eminence. The NZMLA’s store has outstanding architectural significance. It is a large, imposing building with a superbly proportioned main façade and interesting interior. This building is a prominent feature of the Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Register No. 7064) which, by virtue of its homogeneous streetscape and substantial Oamaru Stone commercial and industrial buildings, is unique in New Zealand.

In 2013 the store remains a historic attraction in Oamaru’s Whitestone Precinct.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

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

The NZ Loan and Mercantile Company Ltd was the largest stock station agency in the country last century. The massive proportions and opulence of this industrial building are symbolic of this pre-eminence. The building was claimed at the time to be the 'largest store of its kind in New Zealand' and it remains one of the most impressive warehouses in the country. It is a worthy monument to the importance of North Otago as a lending grain district. The building can hold 100,000 sacks of grain handled by four grain lifts.

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

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

A large, imposing building with a superbly proportioned main façade and interesting interior. The building incorporates a particularly high standard of craftsmanship ranging from the rope mouldings over some of the window openings to the elaborate Kauri staircases in the interior.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK SIGNIFICANCE

This building is a prominent feature of the Harbour and Tyne Street Conservation Area which, by virtue of its homogeneous streetscape and substantial Oamaru Stone commercial and industrial buildings, is unique in New Zealand. It is the corner building in a fine sequence of Warehouse facades in Harbour Street.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Rope mouldings used above windows and for the string course between the first and second floors. Vermiculated Gibbs surrounds around first and second floor loading doors. Elongated quoin blocks at the Wansbeck Street end of the façade indicating the building was designed to be extended.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Dennison and Grant, Architects

Dennison and Grant were two surveyors engaged in a short-term architectural partnership during which time they built the Loan and Mercantile Grain Store in Harbour Street (Stracpoole 1976).

McCombe, J.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

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

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION (STYLE)

A three storeyed building in the Florentine Renaissance style with rusticated ground floor and shallow piers rising through three storeys to the main cornice.

MODIFICATIONS

The building is in largely original condition.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 -

Construction Details

Oamaru Stone

The upper floors have cast iron columns supporting Kauri beams.

Completion Date

30th April 2013

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc04Cycl-t1-body1-d4-d25-d17.html accessed 15 April 2013

North Otago Times

North Otago Times

10 January 1882, p.2.

Oamaru Mail

Oamaru Mail

Tender Notice 18 October 1881

Description 16 July 1881

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Otago/Southland Area office of NZHPT.

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.

This registration is also included in the Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Record no. 7064).

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.