Clark's Boot Store (Former)
15 Ross Place, Lawrence
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
19th April 1990
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 340195 (CT 165093), and Legal Road, Otago Land District, and the buildings associated with Clark’s Boot Store (Former), thereon.
Lot 1 DP 340195 (CT 165093) and Legal Road, Otago Land District
This single storey brick shop and residence on Ross Place has historical and architectural significance as a reminder of Lawrence’s prosperous gold mining past, when the street was lined with small businesses serving this busy town.
The early history of this small shop is difficult to unravel. The building was originally built on two sections – the most of the structure was on Section 1, while a corner was on Section 5 . Section 1 was first granted to Lawrence storekeeper James Clark Brown in 1864, with the title issued to Lawrence merchants Edward Herbert and Archibald McKinlay in 1873. Section 5 was first granted to Thomas Jackson in 1864, but the first title was issued to Herbert and McKinlay in 1873. They leased, and then sold, part of section 5 to blacksmiths Duncan and John McTaggart in 1871. Herbert and McKinlay traded as Herbert and Co. Photographs from the late 1860s or early 1870s show a single storeyed structure on what could be this section, east of Herbert and Co.’s store. The small building may be constructed of corrugated iron, rather than the brick of the current structure. Herbert and Co. did have a business link with J.C. Brown, taking over his business debts in 1866.
Herbert and Co. built their ‘handsome brick warehouse’ on Ross Place in 1867, one of the first brick buildings to be built on this previous ramshackle street of calico and iron structures, and one of Lawrence’s most successful and long-running businesses. The Otago Witness proclaimed in 1869 that Lawrence was ahead of many goldfield centres with calico and weatherboarding ‘rapidly giving place to stone and brick.’ Herbert and Co. built a timber shed on their site in 1869. They made alterations to their existing premises in 1881. They added a two storey warehouse in 1886 (probably now the Lawrence Museum). None of these descriptions match the existing building. A 1900 survey plan shows that this building was part of a complex of buildings owned by Edward Herbert and Archibald McKinlay. It sits alongside the much larger mill (now the Lawrence Museum), and next to the mill was the warehouse, shops, offices and a shed. Fronting Lancaster Street were the stables and shed, and in the courtyard space between all these buildings was a large store. The McKinlay family carried on Herbert and Co. until 1951, when they sold out to Wright Stephenson and Co. and W. G. Skinner, who took over the retail operation, trading as a grocer and general merchant.
Herbert and Co. seem to have leased the small shop (and the attached residence) to various tenants. A photo dated after 1886, shows a ‘Cheap Boot Shop’ as the occupant of the shop, with what already looks to a brick parapet on the street facade. In March 1885, C. Dale and Company advertised the opening of a ‘Cheap Boot Shop’ in the premises ‘lately occupied’ by draper Mr McFarlane (of ‘Ready-Money Draper’). Following this back further, McFarlane took over premises occupied by draper E. Dimant and Co., and in 1879, Dimant took over premises occupied by carpenter S. A. Miller. The early history is hard to trace because the leases are not recorded on titles, and the occupants of shops on Ross Place moved around a lot. The later nineteenth century is clearer - for some of the 1890s, the shop was occupied by the Co-operative Boot Store, managed by John Cursey.
Herbert and McKinlay sold the small section on which this shop sits to Lawrence bootmaker Thomas Clark in 1910, who owned the property until 1946, running Clark’s Boot Store, the longest occupant of this shop. Lawrence mechanic Alexander Miller bought the property in 1946. For the later years of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first century, the building has been home to various businesses, including the The Wool Table, and the Country Mouse gift shop.
13th July 2015
Report Written By
W.R. Mayhew, Tuapeka: The Land and Its People: A Social History of the Borough of Lawrence and its Surrounding Districts, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949
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 Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand