No Deposit Piano Company Building (Former)
307‐319 Queen Street, Auckland
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
10th September 1987
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lot 14 DP 18506 (CT NA417/256) and Pt Lot 15 Allots 1‐5, Pt 56 Sec 29 City of Auckland (CTNA2D/571), North Auckland Land District, and the building known as the No Deposit Piano Company Building (Former) thereon.
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
Lot 14 DP 18506 (CT NA417/256) and Pt Lot 15 Allots 1‐5, Pt 56 Sec 29 City of Auckland (CTNA2D/571), North Auckland Land District
The stripped classical-style building erected in 1925 for the No Deposit Piano Company has architectural and historical significance as one of three contemporary designs by the noted Auckland practice of Holman and Moses for sites within a small block on Auckland’s Queen Street. Like the nearby W.A Thompson and Company and the Auckland Sunday School Association Buildings (erected in 1923-4 and 1924-5 respectively) the reinforced-concrete and brick structure of local significance. It forms part of a group of largely late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings of a scale compatible with the adjoining Town Hall completed in 1911, a landmark stimulating the replacement of earlier timber structures nearby. The use of larger, steel-framed windows and a stripped classical style reflect changes in commercial architecture in the early 1920s. Elements of the detailing of the No Deposit Piano Company Building are evident in the later Vulcan Buildings (1928) a visually eclectic, high-quality office building designed by the practice for a site further down Queen Street.
Prior to European arrival, successive iwi and hapu groups occupied Horotiu including the present-day Queen Street gully. Traditions refer to a small pa on or near the current Town Hall. Following Auckland’s creation as colonial capital in 1840, baker Peter Robertson subdivided his holding in 1859. Bookbinder and stationer James Leighton bought the subject property in 1863. A two-storey shop of timber construction occupied the site until at least 1919. Possibly attracted by proximity to the Town Hall, Auckland’s premier concert venue on the adjoining site, piano importers Minnie Moses and her son Harold bought the property in December 1924 having announced plans the month before for the erection of a building. The No Deposit Piano Company had been founded some decades before by Minnie’s late husband Lewis Moses (d.1903).
The contract for the building of four floors with a two-storey façade to Queen Street was let in March 1925. The design was prepared by the architectural practice of Lewis’ nephew Lance V. Moses. Brick and plaster detailing contributed to the overall unity of the streetscape while the large steel-framed windows reflected a general change in design approaches for commercial buildings. Design elements including upper-floor bay windows, key- and wave-patterned friezes, and geometric-patterning in the upper transoms were adopted in the later Vulcan Buildings (1928) a visually eclectic, high-quality Queen Street office building.
Whilst the ability to play was considered a valuable social skill and part a well-rounded education, the increasing availability of radio and gramophone entertainment in the 1920s and a difficult economic climate may have hastened closure of the business in 1929.
The Christchurch-based E.W. Pidgeon and Company, the national distributor for Goodrich tyre products and a tenant in the building since September 1926, bought the property in 1929 - one of the last sales of a Queen Street commercial premises until the end of the Great Depression. The building parapet incorporating a musical horn motif was cut down after 1931. Auckland City Council bought the building in 1961. Alterations were made to accommodate the Council’s Traffic Department, a tenancy followed in 1966 by the processing Department of Auckland Public Library. In 1983 the Queen Street Citizens Advice Bureau became the occupier in 1983 remained two-and-a-half decades . The building was adapted for re-use as part of the new Q Theatre, opened in 2011. Whilst retaining the overall external appearance, the building became the café / bar and foyer space serving a new auditorium erected behind the building. The upper basement became a rehearsal room and dressing rooms; and the upper storey, a performance space with dressing rooms.
2nd April 2015
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 Northern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand.