Stables (Former)

32 St Benedicts Street, Newton, Auckland

  • Stables (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 18/09/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7425 Date Entered 30th June 1998


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

part of Lot 1 DP 32276 & Lot 1 DP 42851 pt Allot 3 Sec 7, Suburbs of Auckland


This building is a well-preserved example of New Zealand industrial architecture, and a reminder of the role of horse transport in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Auckland. Located in a fashionable colonial suburb, the two-storeyed building is a remnant of a much larger stabling complex, owned and developed by W. & G. Winstone from 1882-1883. The Winstones were coal merchants and general carriers, who profited from haulage contracts issued by the 1870s Vogel government. The firm expanded into stone extraction and other businesses, constructing the stables close to basalt quarries in the Newton and Mt Eden area. The company was one of the largest haulage firms in the Auckland region, and had at least 250 horses on the road by the 1920s. Draught animals were gradually replaced by motor vehicles, particularly between the First and Second World Wars, and by 1949 Winstone's had only three horses in service.

Designed by Robert Watt, the stables building was at the forefront of local technology when erected in 1883. Early mass concrete was used for the ground floor of the structure, where there were stalls for at least 30 Clydesdale horses and an elaborate drainage system for the disposal of waste. Its upper level was of timber-framed construction with corrugated iron cladding, and was employed for storing horse feed, equipment and items from Winstone's furniture-removal business. The building was conceived from the outset as part of a larger complex, with workers' housing to the rear. The Italianate style of the structure's main facade mirrored that of William Winstone's house, which was also located within the complex, fronting Symonds Street. Changes were made to the stables as the company expanded, with extensions being added in about 1885 and 1896. A major fire in 1897 caused damage to the interior, although all of the horses were saved. In 1929 Winstone's leased part of the structure to Claude Neon Lights, producers of the first neon lights in the country, following their investment in motorised transport. Subsequently used as a food factory and artists' quarters, the building was saved from possible demolition after a public campaign in the late 1990s and conserved, with the loss of some of its additions, for commercial use.

The building is significant as one of the earliest known concrete buildings for industrial use in Auckland. It is an unusually ornate example of industrial vernacular architecture from the later colonial period, reflecting the prosperity of some companies in the road haulage industry. It is of value for illustrating the everyday role of horse transport in late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century urban life, and provides important information about animal welfare, sanitation and working conditions for employees. The building is significant as one of the only major remnants of a much larger working complex, whose layout reflected the close nineteenth-century relationship between the workplace and the home. The structure provides evidence of later industrial activity, including neon light and confectionery manufacture. It is significant for its links with prominent companies such as Winstone's and Claude Neon Lights. The building is held in high public esteem, and illustrates the light industrial history of the Newton area of Auckland, which is rapidly disappearing. Other industrial structures nearby include the Colonial Ammunition Company Shot Tower in Mt Eden.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Watt, Robert Martin

Watt (1860-1907) was born in Scotland and studied architecture in Glasgow with the firm of Barclay Bros. He immigrated to New Zealand about 1878 for health reasons and practised in Auckland both on his own account and, from about 1892, with John Mitchell (c.1859-1947). Mitchell and Watt were appointed architects to the Auckland Education Board in 1892 and while Mitchell undertook new work, Watt was responsible for rebuilding projects and renovations to existing buildings. In 1960 Watt was elected president of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Watt was responsible for the design of the Ley's Institute, Ponsonby (1905-06), and the partnership of Mitchell and Watt was responsible for schools at Te Mata (1905) and Maungatautari (1905), additions to schools at Cambridge (1900) and Dargaville (1905), the Seddon Memorial Technical College (1903-13), and Mt Eden Congregational Church (1900).

Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

Registration covers the main building, its fixtures and finishes, and all land and other structures within the title boundary. It also includes all recent modifications. The building lies in the grounds of an earlier colonial homestead.

Construction Dates

Site of early colonial garden

Original Construction
1883 -
Construction of Winstone's Stables

1885 -
East wing added

1896 -
South wing added

1897 -
Modifications after major fire

1929 -
Internal modifications

Second floor added to east wing

1945 -
Internal modifications

East and south wings foreshortened

1999 - 2000
Demolition of east wing and part of south wing, with conservation of the remaining structure

Completion Date

21st August 2001

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

7 June 1897, p.5

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council

Mike Butler, 'Stable Lane - 30-32 St. Benedicts Street, The Stables, Summary', Auckland City Council Report, Auckland, 2002

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Di Stewart, David Brady and Rod Clough, 'The Stables: A Conservation Plan', Auckland, 1999 (held by NZHPT, Auckland)

Other Information

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.