Hannahs Building

100 Mackay Street And 29 Tainui Street, Greymouth

  • Hannahs Building.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 27/05/2009.
  • Hannahs Building. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5062 Date Entered 21st September 1989

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 (CTs WS3B/971 and 308550) and Lot 2 DP 1327 (CTs WS3B/970 and 233402), Westland Land District and the building known as Hannah's Building thereon.

City/District Council

Grey District

Region

West Coast Region

Legal description

Lot 1 (CTs WS3B/971 and 308550) and Lot 2 DP 1327 (CTs WS3B/970 and 233402), Westland Land District

Summaryopen/close

The Hannah’s Building, built in 1924-28 on a prominent intersection in the business heart of Greymouth, is a reminder of the West Coast origins of the nationally renowned shoe firm of Hannah & Co.

The production and supply of boots was an important matter in colonial New Zealand. Muddy roads and plenty of physical outdoor work required reliable, sturdy and waterproof footwear. In 1868, the Grey River Argus advertised at least five Greymouth bootmakers. Hannah & Co was established in Greymouth almost a decade later, emphasising the reliability (‘nothing shoddy’) of their stock.

Irish bootmaker Robert Hanna [sic] (1845-1930) came to New Zealand via Australia in 1866, arriving in the gold rush town of Hokitika on the West Coast. He settled in nearby Charleston and in 1868 founded his bootmaking business there. By 1873, the gold output from Charleston was dropping and the population was in decline so Hannah shifted to Wellington. Robert Hannah & Co opened on Lambton Quay in June 1874. The business quickly prospered and by 1879 there was another branch and factory in Cuba Street, followed by stores in Molesworth and Willis Streets a few years later. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were ten stores throughout the North Island, as well as one in Greymouth.

R Hannah & Company’s Greymouth Boot Market first opened on Mawhera Quay in 1887. The opening notices in the Grey River Argus emphasised Hannah’s West Coast relationship: ‘As our Mr Hannah lived on the Coast for ten years, this will be a sufficient guarantee that the comforts and requirements of the boot-wearing public in and around Greymouth will receive the special attention required.’ That building narrowly escaped destruction by a large fire in Greymouth in 1889.

In the 1920s, a new Hannah’s Building was constructed nearby, on the corner of Mackay and Tainui Streets. In a stripped classical style typical of the 1920s, it has concrete piles, plastered double brick walls and a corrugated steel roof. The ground floor has been altered and largely comprises clear windows for retail. Above a corrugated steel verandah, the exterior of the first floor has three triple light windows with curved pediments on both facades. Instead of a sharp join at the corner, there is a small set-back containing a single window with a small curved pediment. The windows are flanked by pilasters. In the cornice of both the north and west elevations are the words ‘Hannah’s Building’. The architect is not known.

The firm of Hannah & Co was a major employer in New Zealand from the late nineteenth century and for most of the twentieth century it was noted for its large scale manufacture of boots and shoes. Today, Hannahs remains a household name. The Greymouth Hannah’s Building was constructed specifically for the business and still houses a Hannahs retail shoe shop in the south-western part of the ground floor. As it is a relatively large building, it is not surprising that for most, if not all of its life, other businesses have also occupied part of the premises - retail on the ground floor and offices above.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1924 - 1928

Completion Date

26th March 2014

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1897

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.1, Wellington, 1897

‘Hannah, R., and Co.’

Evening Post

Evening Post

Obituary for Robert Hannah, 14 Jun 1930, p. 10.

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of the NZHPT.

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.