Historical Significance or Value
The place has historical significance for its associations with the printing and publishing industry, which was clustered in and near Vulcan Lane in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The site was first used as a printing office by John Dickson Wickham (1837-1919) to produce the widely read and popular paper Free Lance. In 1889 Arthur Cleave (1862?-1933) established his high-profile printing business on the property and developed a reputation as a significant colonial publisher. Until 1912, Cleave produced highly popular titles such as the New Zealand Sporting and Dramatic Review and the Auckland Provincial Directory, one of just three main directories produced in New Zealand. He also produced important new publications, such as the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine which included contributions from noted New Zealand writers and illustrators. In 1900, Cleave rebuilt or remodelled the building for his own purposes. The pressure for larger premises may have resulted from new technology in the printing trade, and the launch of Cleave's new publications.
Aesthetic Significance or Value:
The former Cleave's Building has aesthetic significance as a key component of a visually important group of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century commercial buildings on the northern side of Vulcan Lane, a pedestrian precinct. The building has visual appeal for its modest scale and compatibility with similar-scale, nineteenth century buildings in Vulcan Lane The place also has aesthetic significance for its ornamental turn-of-the-century Italianate style façade, a design carried over to the fourth storey addition made a decade later.
Architectural Significance or Value:
The former Cleave's Building has architectural significance as a remaining, representative example of the small-scale commercial premises that characterised Auckland's colonial commercial centre. The scale, brick construction and ornate Italianate design of the Cleave's Building are typical features of commercial premises from the late Victorian and the Edwardian period. Its value as a representative example is enhanced by the survival of two adjoining nineteenth-century hotels in the same style.
Cultural Significance or Value:
The former Cleave's Building has cultural significance as the place of publication of the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine which commenced in 1899 and was based on the premise that literature should be at the forefront of efforts to develop a national identity. Contributors to the magazine included significant New Zealand writers and illustrators of the time.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
The former Cleave's Building demonstrates aspects of New Zealand's urban commercial development, notably the importance of small businesses and manufactories in early twentieth-century city centres. The place reflects a notable period of innovation and technical change in the publishing industry in New Zealand in the late nineteenth and early-twentieth century as the site of the printing office of the Free Lance evening newspaper (1880s), and more particularly as the printing and publishing house of Arthur Cleave and Co. (1889-1912), an enterprise that specialised in business-residential directories and leisure magazines.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:
The place is associated with entrepreneur Arthur Cleave, a figure of significance as the publisher of an Auckland provincial business-residential directory, which played an important role in the economic and social development of communities in the upper North Island for over four decades from 1890. As the publishing house for the monthly New Zealand Illustrated Magazine commenced in 1899 and which survived into 1905, the place has important associations with the promotion of the work of significant New Zealand writers, scholars and illustrators and efforts to foster a national identity and culture.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:
The place has significance as a turn-of-the-century commercial premises purpose-built or heavily remodelled to house a printing and publishing business. The building incorporates windows larger than those of most older premises, reflecting the evolution of commercial office design. It is also noteworthy for the ornamentation on its façade and for the successful integration of the fourth floor circa 1912 addition into the building's overall design. It may incorporate the rare or unusual remnants of a brick building erected by the mid 1860s, potentially reflecting the importance of brick as a fireproof building material in early colonial commercial environments.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
The place is significant as an important part of a narrow inner city street of notable heritage character. Vulcan Lane contains several buildings of recognised historical and cultural value, including two nineteenth-century hotels and Norfolk House, a printery erected by Arthur Cleave in 1912. Structures on both sides of the lane lie within the Vulcan Lane historic area. The place is one of a number of outstandingly significant nineteenth- and twentieth-century commercial and public buildings in the Queen Street Valley, which demonstrate Auckland's development as a colonial and later city. The place has special value for its contribution to the streetscape in Vulcan Lane and as an unusual remaining example of the intensive small-scale urban development that once characterised Auckland's colonial commercial heart.
Summary of Significance or Values:
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, g, and k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place for its contribution to the streetscape in Vulcan Lane and as an unusual remaining example of the intensive small-scale urban development that once characterised Auckland's colonial commercial heart.
Early history of the site:
Prior to European settlement in 1840 successive Maori groups are believed to have occupied Horotiu, an area on Auckland's present-day Symonds Street ridge and Queen Street gully. The site later occupied by Cleave's Building lies a short distance to the east of the Waihorotiu creek, which ran down the length of the gully into the Waitemata Harbour. Traditions mention a small settlement a short distance upstream, on or near the current Auckland Town Hall. Archaeological material from this period has been recovered from several places nearby. Traditions also refer to a food gathering place and waka mooring site located near the mouth of the Waihorotiu. In 1837, Te Taou (a section of Ngati Whatua) planted crops in the area at a time when food was grown to supply the increasing number of Pakeha visiting the Waitemata Harbour. Ngati Whatua's offer to transfer a large area of land to the British Crown for the creation of a colonial capital at Auckland was formally agreed in September 1840.
Vulcan Lane was established in the first few years of Auckland's development, being part of the initial street system for the colonial city as proposed by the Surveyor-General Felton Matthew. Unlike the broad roads that served most of the settlement, it consisted of a narrow side alley linking the main commercial thoroughfare formed by Queen Street with a back lane, High Street, to the rear. Land adjoining the northern side of Vulcan Lane was initially granted by the Crown to William Mason, New Zealand's first Superintendent of Public Works. As early as 1841 Mason subdivided this to create smaller lots fronting the northern side of lower Vulcan Lane, with a narrow alley along their rear boundaries.
Construction and use of early brick building:
The land occupied by Cleave's Building was purchased by carpenter Dennis Traynor in December 1841 who had erected a timber house on the property by 1845. By 1866, this had been replaced by a single-storey brick building with a slate roof, slightly set back from Vulcan Lane. The newer structure was of relatively small dimensions and was used as a store or shop, possibly by its owner, David Graham, a likely wine and spirit merchant. The building may have been constructed after the area was devastated by fire in 1858 or another conflagration in 1863. Following the introduction of building regulations in the mid 1850s, any rebuilding in Auckland's commercial district was to be of fireproof materials. It is possible that elements of this brick building remain within the present structure.
Subsequent owners of the property during the later 1860s and 1870s included William Cawkwell who opened the Crown Distillery in Official Bay in 1870, and James Farmer, who was a member of the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council. The price paid by Farmer in 1871 suggests that the building had previously been enlarged to the rear, an event that certainly occurred before 1882. Enlargement probably also included the addition of a second brick storey, which had a slate roof. Farmer leased the structure to wine and spirit merchants, William Ryan and William Bell who ran their business from the property for several years. As with Graham's enterprise, the building was well situated for such activity being positioned immediately between two hotels, the Occidental to the west and the Queen's Ferry Hotel to the east. Connections between Vulcan Lane and the liquor trade were generally strong throughout the middle and late nineteenth century.
From 1880, the site also developed close associations with the printing industry and journalism. Dissemination of the printed word became an increasingly powerful force in late nineteenth-century New Zealand as technical innovations were introduced and the local market for information and entertainment expanded. Nationally the number of newspaper titles grew rapidly during the 1870s, due in part to the opening of the trans-Tasman cable in 1876. In the 1880s the telegraph and other factors resulted in the development of a uniform news service, and newspapers played an important role in establishing the national identity. During the late nineteenth century, Auckland's printing industry appears to have been focused in two areas on either side of Queen Street: Albert Street to the west, and the Vulcan Lane, High Street and O'Connell Street district to the east. Early printing offices in Vulcan Lane included those of the Southern Cross newspaper, located at its junction with Queen Street in the 1860s. Connections between Vulcan Lane and the printing industry were to persist well into the twentieth century.
From 1880-1 to 1885-6, John Dickson Wickham (1837-1919) ran a printing office in the brick building, in which he published the Free Lance newspaper. Wickham established the Free Lance in 1879 as a rival news sheet to the Auckland Evening Star, and it became a widely read and popular paper. Wickham vacated the building in 1885, after amalgamating with other newspaper interests. After being leased to land agents Morton and Jackson for a few years, the building reverted to publishers' premises when the lease was taken on by Arthur Cleave in 1889.
Arthur Cleave and the construction of Cleave's Building:
Arthur Cleave (1862?-1933) was a significant publisher in late colonial New Zealand, producing many popular titles. These included the Auckland Provincial Directory, Auckland ABC Guide, New Zealand Handbook Trades and Professional Directory, New Zealand Town and Country, and New Zealand Sporting and Dramatic Review.
One of Cleave's earliest publications was Cleave's Auckland City, Suburban, Streets, Alphabetical, and Trades Directory which began in 1889, the same year that he took occupancy of the Vulcan Lane site. Usually published annually, directories provided general background about an area, as well as listing householders with their addresses and occupations. Their main functions were to boost the local and regional economy by bringing producer and consumer together; to provide a compendium of useful information to benefit local population and would-be migrants; and to create in printed format a resource which would help meld isolated communities. Cleave's publication was one of just three main directories produced in New Zealand and covered the whole of the Auckland Provincial district, the largest of New Zealand's six provinces. It continued to be published until 1930 and remained in production as Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory until 1941.
In 1890, Cleave also started publishing the weekly New Zealand Sporting and Dramatic Review, an industry magazine for the liquor trade. This focused on sport, particularly horse racing, boxing, cricket and rugby and included profiles of publicans, details of particular hotels and contact details for bookmakers. The location of Cleave's business possibly assisted its publication as by the 1890s Vulcan Lane had achieved notoriety in some quarters as a place populated by drinkers and gamblers. During this period, Cleave's premises were known as the City Press Office or Printing Office.
Further publications were launched at the end of the 1890s, including the one-off, 346-page publication Industries of New Zealand (1898), assisting businesses who had neither the time, expertise or finances to advertise their wares and skills for themselves. In 1899, Cleave also started publishing the prestigious monthly New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. The magazine, founded by prominent Auckland lawyer Frederick Baume (1862-1910), was established on the explicit premise that literature should lead the way in forging a national identity, and featured poetry, short stories and articles. It carried contributions from most of the top New Zealand writers of the day, including politician and scholar (later Sir) Apirana Ngata (1874-1950); novelist Jane Mander (1877-1940); journalist, historian James Cowan (1870-1943); and ethnographer, writer Elsdon Best (1856-1831). The publication was heavily illustrated by artists such Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) and upcoming illustrator, cartoonist Kennaway Henderson (1879-1960). Cleave also contributed some of its photographs himself.
By the end of the 1890s, Cleave had become sufficiently successful to plan the rebuilding or extensive modification of his offices to create a more modern and grander three-storey structure. New technology in the printing trade may also have contributed to pressure for larger premises. The period 1890 to 1914 was one of substantial change in the industry, with the introduction of hot-metal typesetting, photo-engraving, rotary presses for newspapers, offset presses and electric power. From about 1890 onwards, hand-setting of type was increasingly displaced by the introduction of Linotype, Monotype and other hot-metal machines. With the introduction of steam, gas and eventually electric power the work of operators became less laborious.
In October 1899, Cleave purchased the building that he had occupied as lessee for the previous decade. In late March 1900 the business relocated temporarily to the corner of nearby Chancery and O'Connell Streets, to enable re-building of the printing works. The description of the property in City Council valuation records changes at this time from 'brick store', to 'brick store and offices'. It is unclear from the relocation notice and the valuation records whether the 1900 building was entirely new or incorporated part of the earlier structure within the new premises. It did, however, extend slightly further south than the previous building to encompass an ornate new façade directly fronting Vulcan Lane. It also incorporated an additional floor.
Although the architect of the remodelled Cleave's Building is currently unknown, its ornate Italianate design was of a type favoured for the business premises and residences of the late Victorian and the Edwardian mercantile community. Its decorative frontage to Vulcan Lane included double-height fluted pilasters terminating in ornate capitals while mullions in the first and third bays incorporated cabled Corinthian colonettes. The building's upper front windows, however, appear to have been larger than those generally adopted for earlier commercial premises, reflecting more recent trends to admit greater natural light, potentially valuable in a publishing and printing house.
Internally, the building may have encompassed a ground floor with a large shop with a centrally located entrance and a side passage providing access to a rear room. A staircase, located two thirds along the length of the west wall, provided access to the first floor. Behind the staircase, a hoist may have served the upper floors. There appears to have been a basement which, in addition to internal stairs, had access to the right of way at the rear the property.
The remodelling or rebuilding can be seen to physically embody the success and up-to-date nature of Cleave's publishing business, which relied on conveying the latest information and knowledge. While the owner of the reconfigured structure, Cleave continued to print his directories and other publications from the building. The prestigious New Zealand Illustrated Magazine was published by Cleave until 1905.
Subsequent alterations and use:
In 1910, Cleave sold the property although he initially remained in occupation. The building was purchased by Captain James Smith, a coal merchant who had previously been involved with the coal trade from Timaru to Newcastle. After Cleave moved his printing business to new, larger premises further up Vulcan Lane in February 1912, a fourth storey was added to the structure. The work may have been undertaken by a new occupant, Maurice Casey, who is recorded as a contractor. The addition was evidently completed in 1912 or early 1913.
The addition of a fourth storey lent the premises a more imposing appearance in spite of the small size of the site. Continuing the rhythm of the 1900 façade, the fourth storey incorporated three bays, each with a segmental-headed window. Plain pilasters with stiff leaf capitals framed each bay. The addition, effectively contributing an attic storey, visually rounded off the building by dividing it into three horizontal tiers.
From 1912-13 to 1919, the building was occupied by Smith, who appears to have run his coal business from the premises. A number of racing secretaries, including Robert Wynyard and Harry Hayr, who had served as secretaries of the Takapuna and the Avondale Jockey Clubs respectively were also based in the building. The former Cleave's Building was an appropriate location for racing secretaries at this time, being situated between the Queen's Ferry and Occidental Hotels, which were both the unofficial bookmakers' headquarters in Auckland during this period. In 1919, the property was sold to solicitors John Gittos, Garnet Uren and John Gregory, who onsold it the following year to Arthur Eady and John Wilson of Arthur Eady Ltd, one of the most important early music importing and publishing businesses in New Zealand. It is uncertain if Arthur Eady Ltd occupied the building, as in 1922 its tenants were predominantly barristers and solicitors.
Throughout the 1920s and 30s, parts of the building were let to a variety of small businesses. During this period, all the buildings on the opposite (south) side of Vulcan Lane were demolished when the lane was widened from about 5 metres to 9.75 metres (16 foot to 32 foot) in 1928, to provide access for motor vehicles. Reflecting contemporary improvements in the Vulcan Lane retail environment, the building was given a new shop front in 1934.
After Eady's death, his share of the property remained in family hands. In the 1940s and early 1950s, Eady & Wallace ran a mercer's business from the building, selling silk and linen items. In 1944, the shop front was remodelled and the building's central staircase relocated to the rear (north) wall of the building. A secondary entrance was created at the east end of the Vulcan Lane frontage, where a separate staircase was installed to the first floor.
The shop front was again remodelled in 1957, for Brenner's Contemporary Design Centre which occupied the building possibly for only a few months. The retail outlet was dedicated to modernist ceramics and other furnishings, and was one of the first modernist design stores in New Zealand. It relocated from a suburban location on Dominion Road to form part of a newly developed fashion precinct in Vulcan Lane - 'Auckland's street of distinction'. Other tenants around this time included a medical supplier, Swallows Book Store and Stationers, and The Loft which specialised in gramophone records.
The building retained fashion-conscious tenants during the 1960s including Leon Brook Models, a model gown specialist; the Coffee Bean Coffee Lounge (an early coffee bar in Auckland); a hair and beauty salon; and the short-lived Vulcan Lane Art Gallery run by artist Alan Pearson (b.1929). In 1968, Vulcan Lane was converted back into a pedestrian thoroughfare. A fire in 1972 gutted the top floor of the building and damaged the third floor, requiring a new roof and extensive repairs. The building was successively purchased and sold by several property and investment companies between 1979 and 2003. In 1994, the heritage qualities of Vulcan Lane were recognised through its registration as a historic area by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
Recent renovations to the building have included a new shop front onto Vulcan Lane, the installation of modern timber bi-fold windows on the upper floors, and creation of a central staircase against the east wall (1998). Sash windows were also reinstated, including new frames on the western façade of the second and third floors to match those on the first floor.
The basement and ground floor of the building is currently occupied by O'Carroll's, one of several bars with a European ambience in Vulcan Lane. The first floor accommodates The Raw Power Café, a vegan-friendly restaurant visited in 2003 by Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and (her now husband) Chris Martin, frontman of the rock group Coldplay. The second floor is occupied by Mission Corp an entity with links to the building owner.
Builder: Maurice Casey (fourth storey addition: 1912-13)
Physical Description and Analysis:
Cleave's Building is located in the southeastern section of the Queen Street gully, in the heart of Auckland's Central Business District (CBD). Queen Street is Auckland's main commercial thoroughfare, from which several small lanes of early colonial origin extend.
Cleave's Building is located on the northern side of Vulcan Lane, a narrow street of notable heritage character registered as the Vulcan Lane historic area (Record No.7011). The Lane extends for two small city blocks and is divided into two sections (upper and lower Vulcan Lane) by High Street, a similarly narrow thoroughfare. Running eastwards from Queen Street, the pedestrian lane contains a coherent group of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century brick buildings of modest scale and generally similar design. Cleave's Building is conjoined with the three-storey Queen's Ferry Hotel (Record No.630, currently under investigation) immediately to the east, and a single-storey portion of the Occidental Hotel (Record no. 624, Category I historic place) to the west. The group occupies the central portion of the northern side of lower Vulcan Lane, which retains an older group of buildings than the more modified southern side.
Cleave's Building occupies a rectangular lot of 114 square metres. The site is entirely covered by the present brick building. A narrow, privately-owned access lot dating from 1841-2 runs along the rear (north) boundary. The structure consists of four storeys plus a basement. Its main façade appears to be covered with a cement render, although its side walls are of exposed brick. It may incorporate parts of an earlier brick building constructed as early as the late 1850s or 1860s, although no signs of this are visible on the western wall of the exterior.
The formal Vulcan Lane elevation is designed in a restrained Italianate style and consists of three bays. Buildings on either side of the frontage, the Occidental and Queen's Ferry Hotels, are also of notable Italianate design. Individual storeys of Cleave's Building are defined horizontally by pronounced string courses. Fluted pilasters with capitals which have a motif depicting acanthus leaves and a single flower, frame the lower storey. Plain pilasters with simple capitals separate the window bays. The main entrance is located in the easternmost bay, which also contains an entrance to a ground floor tenancy. The two remaining bays each have a tall window opening with a pronounced low-level sill.
Double-height pilasters with capitals echoing those below maintain the rhythm of the façade on the second and third storeys. Window openings on the three upper storeys have plain segmental heads. The windows are of a modern bi-fold design. Plain pilasters with simple stiff leaf capitals divide the bays of the attic storey. A dentilled cornice with plain parapet above, caps the building.
The visible sections of the side walls consist of exposed brickwork. The lower storeys are laid in alternating rows of headers and stretchers (English bond), while the fourth storey appears to incorporate rows of stretchers with intermittent headers (a rough Flemish bond). Towards the northern end of the west wall there are small, sash windows. Plans prepared for a building consent issued in 1998 suggest that the north wall has three window openings on the first and second floors, and two on the third. The building has a concealed, gable roof believed to be clad in corrugated iron.
It is unclear how much of the building's early internal layout survives. The basement accommodates the kitchen, bar cellar and toilets for O'Carroll's bar which occupies the ground floor. The stairs to the upper floors are located adjoining the eastern wall of the building. Raw Power Café occupies the first floor. The second floor contains office accommodation. It is not known whether the upper floor is currently in use.
The building is a relatively unusual remnant of the intensive small-scale urban development that once characterised the heart of Auckland's colonial commercial centre. Examples of surviving small buildings incorporating Italianate design seem to be particularly uncommon, although they include the adjacent Occidental and Queen's Ferry Hotels. Other existing small-scale brick buildings in Auckland's Central Business District (CBD) include a two storey building with attic at 25-27 High Street (Record no. 560, Category II historic place), believed to date from the 1890s to 1900; a two storey structure at 319 Queen Street that appears to be of circa 1910 date; a larger three-storey building at 39 Elliott Street; and the former Worrall's Building constructed at 10 Britomart Place, constructed in 1910.
Comparatively few other surviving printing or publishing workshops or offices have been formally recognised through NZHPT registration. They include Colenso's Printing Workshop Ruins, Paihia (Record no. 404, Category II historic place), and Pompallier at Russell (Record no. 4, Category I historic place) which date from 1841 and 1841-2 respectively. Although not purpose-built, the former Fitzroy Hotel (Record no. 7582, Category I historic place) was a base for the Pilgrim and Wakefield Presses in the 1950s and 1960s, and the former Shop at 9 Grafton Road, Auckland (Record no. 667, Category II historic place) housed the Auckland University Press for two decades from the early 1970s.
A purpose-built printery erected by Arthur Cleave in 1912 survives on the corner of High Street and Vulcan Lane, Auckland as Norfolk House and is registered as part of the Vulcan Lane historic area (Record no. 7011, historic area). Its sleeker Stripped Classical design contrasts strongly with that of the Italianate Cleave's Building. It also incorporates yet larger and more pronounced windows than the 1900 construction. The nearby Blackstone Chambers in Auckland's Wyndham Street, Auckland (not registered) was constructed in 1882 and housed the offices of the Auckland Evening Star newspaper in the 1880s.
Known newspaper publishing houses that have been registered by the NZHPT include the former Lyttelton Times Building, Christchurch (Record no. 7216, Category I historic place) designed in 1902; the Daily Telegraph Building, Napier (Record no. 1129, Category I historic place) completed in 1933; and the Wairarapa Times-Age Building, Masterton (Record no. 7666, Category II historic place) constructed 1937-8. The M. Zemba Ltd Building, Gisborne (Record no. 3542, Category II historic place), also erected in 1937, has associations with the Gisborne Times.
Construction of one-storey brick building
Conversion to two-storey brick building with rear addition
1899 - 1900
Removal of east hall ground floor level and repositioning of staircase (from near centre of the building) to the north wall
Construction of secondary entrance at east end of south frontage and separate staircase to first floor level
Minor alteration to rear staircase ground floor level
Fire damage to upper storey and roof
Renovation of the building for use as a bar, restaurant and offices, including creation of central staircase on eastern side
Brick with corrugated metal roof
26th March 2009
Report Written By
M. Jones, L. Mackintosh, J. McKenzie
Home and Building
Home and Building
Daley, Debra (ed.), Souvenir Edition, Auckland, 1993
Lloyd Jenkins, 2004
Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, At Home: A Century of New Zealand Design. Auckland: Random House, 2004
Penny Griffith, Ross Harvey & Keith Maslen (eds), Book & Print in New Zealand: A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa, Wellington, 1997
Roger Robinson and Nelson Wattie, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, Auckland, 1998
G H Scholefield, Newspapers in New Zealand, Wellington, 1958
A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Northern 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.