Solway A & P Showgrounds Historic Area

80 York Street, Masterton

  • Solway A & P Showgrounds Historic Area.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 6/04/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7488 Date Entered 6th April 2001

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

The Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association purchased the 75 acre site at Solway in 1908. The grounds were designed to include the construction of new facilities and services, incorporating buildings relocated from the A&P Association's former site comprising 20 acres, in Dixon Street, Masterton. The new show grounds at Solway were opened in 1911.

Grandstand

Kiosk

Trades Hall

No 2 Trades Hall

Club Hall

Secretary's Office

Poultry Building

Sheep Pens

Sheep Pavilion

Sheep and Goats Building

Cattle Pavilion

Judges Box

City/District Council

Masterton District

Region

Wellington Region

Legal description

Pt Plan A 2480 & Pt Lot 5 Deeds Plan 198 & Pt Lot DP 3321 & Pt Lot 6 DP 10928 & Lot 46 DP 2228

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical Significance:

The Solway Agricultural and Pastoral Showgrounds are part of New Zealand's rural tradition stretching over 150 years. The Masterton A&P Association was formed in 1885 as a go-it-alone organisation. Agricultural and pastoral shows have been held nearly every year in Masterton since that date. It was resolved to purchase the present site in 1908, with the showgrounds completed in 1911.

The showgrounds site in this overwhelmingly rural district has been used for other purposes. It was one of several temporary camps used in Masterton to deal with the 1918 influenza epidemic. During both World Wars it was used as a New Zealand Army training camp. Between the wars in 1927, the showground was the venue for the 'Battle of Solway', the Ranfurly Rugby Match between Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay. The 1942 A&P Show was cancelled due to the war. The Solway grounds were taken over by the Army. Bren Gun Carriers of the Divisional Cavalry were camped at the grounds and the Caretaker of Solway no longer employed.

In February 1943, the United States Marine Corps took up station at Solway. The Marine Corps were accommodated in tents, some officers were billeted in the Caretaker's cottage and meals were served in the dining room under the grandstand. The Marine Corps left, as a legacy, their recreation building known today as the Trades Hall.

The entire grounds contain a collection of buildings that are harmonious yet their dates spread over more than 90 years. Most of the structures at the Solway showgrounds built for the opening in 1911 are still extant. They provide probably what is New Zealand's most complete array of showground buildings. There are a number of post 1960s buildings at the Showgrounds which are not included in the historic area and they are considered to be of lesser or little value.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Physical Significance:

The Grandstand is the key building in the Solway Showgrounds, visually, historically and functionally. It is an impressive building of over seventy metres in length and it remains much as when it was first constructed. It is a fully timber-framed structure with a heavy post and beam system supporting the seating, while the roof trusses that span the full width of the building rest on conventional framing on the back (west) and front (east) walls. Flights of steps lead up to tiered seating, while a series of rooms occupy the ground floor. The ground floor contains service rooms, dining room, kitchen, toilets and the President's Room.

The Architects were Crichton and McKay. Over the years the partnership was responsible for designing a number of Wellington buildings, including the Bank of New South Wales, the Bank of Australasia, many of the Wellington Hospital buildings, Dalgety and Co, the Union Steamship Company, Mission to Seamen's Building (1903), Woodward Chambers (1905), the Huddart Parker building (1923) and the Dominion Building (1928).

An addition in the form of a shower block to the Solway Showgrounds Grandstand does not contribute to the integrity of the Stand. The Sheep pens, Sheep Pavilion, Sheep and Goats Pen and the Cattle Pavilion are outstanding examples of their type for use in holding and showing stock. The other 1910 buildings - the Kiosk, the No 2 Trades Hall and Poultry are individual in style. The Judge's Box is a utilitarian building, its height

emphasised by the vertical profile of its corrugated iron cladding. It has a single pitched roof and a series of openings commanding views over the race track The hitching rail (c.1910) is constructed from railway irons with hand wrought hitching lugs and rings and is a rare legacy of this trade. The Secretary's Office comes from the earlier Dixon Street showground and is unusual in having been built in a style similar to three cottages end to end creating separate offices. The Club Hall reconstructed in the 1950s is historically and physically significant in its own right. It is constructed from two cottages from the now non-existent township of Cross Creek and was used as a social hall, as is its function today.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural Significance:

Masterton is a provincial town and the rural community sector is important to its prosperity. The A&P Association has been a key contributor to the cultural success of Masterton and the Wairarapa generally. People come from far and wide to attend the annual Masterton A&P Show. It has been a significant event in the farming and social calendar of the Wairarapa since 1885. The showgrounds are also leased to other user groups including the Wairarapa Greyhound Racing Club for greyhound racing, the grandstand and track for several meetings a year; the Wairarapa Gymnastic Club - the Trades Hall and No 2 Trades Hall, five days a week. Equestrian events are held several times a year using the grandstand and the ring. Other users include the Pony Club and a Maori Cultural group, (the Trades Hall).

The A&P Association is in the process of upgrading the facilities, particularly those offered by the Grandstand, so that they can be better used by a wider range of community groups. The Association seeks to safeguard the heritage values in carrying out the upgrading of the complex, especially the Grandstand.

The Association has already obtained a significant amount of Lotteries funding for the upgrade of the Grandstand at Solway.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Daniell, Frederick Charles

Fred C Daniell was born in Wales and came to New Zealand as an infant in 1879. His father Charles operated a large timber mill in Masterton and after being educated at Wellington College Daniell joined the family business. At various stages he managed another sawmill in competition with his father, was involved in the survey of the Napier-Taupo Road and was a corporal in the Masterton Mounted Rifles. Of the eight children born to FC Daniell and his wife Helen Gordon-Donald, Trevor Hamilton Daniell also became an architect.

In 1908 Daniell established a practice in Hamilton, where he opened an office in the Waikato Times Building. At various times he was in partnerships with local architects J. Anderson (1912), T.S. Cray (1914-17) and T.Y. Lusk (1920-26), although the specifications for Knightstone are under his name alone. Daniell became a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1915 and, having helped to establish the South Auckland Branch of the NZIA, became its first secretary in1923-7.

Among the many buildings he designed in Hamilton, Daniell is best known for Wesley Chambers (1924, NZHPT Category II Register # 5301), St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (1914) and his own home 'Ingleholm' at 11 O'Neill Street (1911), both in Hamilton East. The 1911-12 Parr house (now the YWCA) on Pembroke Street in Hamilton West is very similar to Knightstone in its current form, suggesting that Daniell was also responsible for the design of the latter's 1919 addition. His prolific output included designs for residences as well as shops, commercial premises, churches, farm buildings and dairy industry buildings.

Winston Daniell recalled in a 2002 interview that his father 'was always keen on concrete'. In his survey of early concrete construction in New Zealand, Geoffrey Thornton lists Daniell amongst those New Zealand architects using Camerated Concrete in the early twentieth century and he goes on to observe that 'no doubt FC Daniell is typical of a number of lesser known architects of the first two decades of the twentieth century who worked quietly in the design of reinforced concrete without the services of a structural engineer'. Thornton also records that Daniell designed a number of dairy factories for the NZ Co-operative Dairy Company, including the 1917 Matangi Dairy Factory just outside Hamilton (Category II, Reg # 4935, see also reg #4302 former Matangi Dairy Co. house).

Despite the evident success of his Hamilton practice in the 1910s and early 1920s, Daniell's financial situation became increasingly precarious. A farm at Te Mawhai, south-west of Te Awamutu, was at first a secondary occupation but in the mid-1920s the family moved out to the farm and Daniell effectively stopped practicing architecture. In 1935 he returned to Masterton and thereupon resumed his architectural career. Here Daniell was also involved in community and local body affairs, serving on the boards of Wairarapa College and the Electricity and Catchment Boards. Daniell's Masterton practice was continued by his son Trevor after his death in 1953.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Description:

The Masterton Agricultural and Pastoral Association purchased the 75 acre site at Solway

in 1908. The grounds were designed to include the construction of new facilities and

services, incorporating buildings relocated from the A&P Association's former site comprising 20 acres, in Dixon Street, Masterton. The new Show Grounds at Solway were opened in 1911.

The buildings and structures of prime heritage significance within the Historic Area are as follows:

(1) Grandstand - 1910

(2) Kiosk c.1910

(3) Trades Hall 1943

(4) No 2 Trades Hall (former Produce Hall), c.1910, but possibly c.1890's probably relocated.

(5) Club Hall c.1900, then reconstructed c.1950's

(6) Secretary's Office c.1890's

(7) Poultry Building 1910

(8) Sheep Pens 1910

(9) Sheep Pavilion c.1920s-30s

(I0)Sheep and Goats Building 1910

(11)Cattle Pavilion 1910

(12) Judges Box?.

General Statement:

In comparison with other A&P Association showgrounds in New Zealand, Solway stands

out as having a unique collection of period buildings. Other historically interesting A&P

buildings are : Blenheim - covered sheep pens; Blenheim- grandstand; Claudelands grandstand; Dannevirke - covered pens; Gisborne - old sheep pens; Hawkes Bay - old

sheep pens; Invercargill- brick grandstand (1920s?); Richmond - grandstand.

The buildings at Blenheim, Claudelands and Richmond are registered Category II under the Historic Places Act.

There is no known collection of buildings that is comparable to those at Solway. Many of

the individual buildings have aesthetic and technical value in their own right. Collectively

they form a complex that is historically interesting, functional and has landscape quality

because of the remnant of native lowland forest, trees and open space.

Construction Dates

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central 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.

Historic Area Place Name

Cattle Pavilion
Club Hall
Grandstand
Judge's Box
Kiosk
No 2 Trades Hall
Poultry Building
Secretary's Office
Sheep and Goats Building
Sheep Pavilion
Trades Hall