Connell and Clowes' Store (Former)

1 Tyne Street And Harbour Street, Oamaru

  • Connell and Clowes' Store (Former), Oamaru. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: denisbin. Taken By: denisbin. Date: 15/10/2016.
  • Connell and Clowes' Store (Former), Oamaru.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Heather Bauchop. Date: 3/04/2008.
  • Connell and Clowes' Store (Former), Oamaru.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Heather Bauchop. Date: 3/04/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2283 Date Entered 25th September 1986 Date of Effect 25th September 1986


Extent of List Entry

The extent includes the land described as Lots 29-30 DP 88 (RTs OT18C/649, 9985), Otago Land District, and the 1881 building known as Connell and Clowes' Store (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Legal description

Lots 29-30 DP 88 (RTs OT18C/649, 9985), Otago Land District


Connell and Clowes’ Store, designed by Oamaru’s leading architectural partnership Forrester and Lemon in 1881, sits on a prominent corner site on the north side of Harbour Street, marking the entrance to the outstanding industrial Victorian streetscape of Oamaru’s Harbour/Tyne Street historic area (Register No. 7064).

The store was built for Oamaru businessmen Henry Connell and Thomas (Arthur) Clowes (d.1885). Henry Connell appears to have been a surveyor and commission agent (selling real estate), and was involved with the early capital works of the Oamaru Borough Council, with offices on Tyne Street from 1866. Thomas Clowes made his living as a commission agent. They entered into a formal partnership as ‘Connell and Clowes’ - ‘Auctioneers, Stock and General Commission Agents’ in April 1875.

Connell and Clowes’ first store and offices were built in 1877 at about the same time as the Criterion Hotel (Register No. 4689) with the design forming part of the Criterion’s façade, although the businesses and the buildings were separate, as made clear by the entrance which has ‘Connell and Clowes’ on the pediment on the first floor. Forrester and Lemon’s elevation drawings dated October 1877 show the elaborately detailed two storey building with a large central doorway and ornate decorative detailing around the windows, with balustrades and a central pediment.

Connell and Clowes expanded their storage with the construction of a large new store positioned on the corner of Harbour and Tyne Streets, just north of their existing premises, some four years later. Connell and Clowes’ Store was finished in 1881-1882. An article from October 1882 describes the large ‘somewhat irregularly shaped’ building. The Store was 120 ft by 72 ft (36.5 by 22m) in size and 42 ft (13m) high. It contained a large weighbridge which allowed truckloads of grain to be weighed. The building cost £4,000. It sits on a pair of irregularly shaped sections with the building footprint matching the shape of the land parcels.

The partnership was dissolved on 1 January 1884, with Henry Connell continuing the business on his own. Clowes died in 1885 after a long period of ill health. In 1893 the National Mortgage and Agency Company took over the Store, and continued to occupy it into the 1970s. Additions were made to the east elevation in the 1930s. In the late 1970s Wrightson NMA Limited took over the lease.

Connell and Clowes’ Store (Former) is a landmark building marking the western edge of Harbour Street, the narrow thoroughfare notable for its outstanding Victorian architecture, particularly the grain stores. Connell and Clowes’ Store has decorative facades to both Harbour and Tyne Streets, with the north and east facades of a utilitarian design. In style the façade makes a visual link to the Criterion Hotel across Harbour Street, although it is plainer in style. The facade is divided into even bays, each with paired round-headed windows. The original drawings indicate that the pediment had the names of Connell and Clowes in raised lettering, with their function as grain and seed merchants also noted on the pediment. The balustrading and pediment details have been removed from the building.

The landmark store has architectural and historic significance, recalling the prosperity of the 1870s and early 1880s in Oamaru which resulted in the magnificent stone architecture associated with the Harbour/Tyne Street area.

In 2013 the former Connell and Clowes’ Store is home to a range of retail businesses, including a café, gift shop, automotive collection and a weekend market.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Forrester & Lemon

The architectural partnership of Forrester and Lemon was established in Oamaru in 1872.

Thomas Forrester (1838-1907) was born in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow School of Art. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1861 he settled in Dunedin and worked under William Mason (1810-97) and William Henry Clayton (1823-77) and later Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902). In 1865 he superintended the Dunedin Exhibition and from 1870 he became involved with the supervision of harbour works. Some time after 1885 he became Engineer to the Oamaru Harbour Board and in this capacity designed the repairs to the breakwater following storm damage in 1886 and later the Holmes Wharf. On his death in 1907 he was still in the employ of the Harbour Board.

John Lemon (1828-1890) was born in Jamaica and travelled to England before emigrating to New Zealand in 1849. He settled in Oamaru in 1860 and with his brother Charles established a timber merchant's business. By 1869 he was in partnership with his father-in-law, George Sumpter calling themselves "Timber and General Merchants, Land and Commission Agents". This partnership was dissolved in 1872 and Lemon entered into partnership with Forrester. Lemon had no architectural experience at all, but had a wide circle of business contacts and was an efficient administrator.

Buildings designed by the partnership of Forrester and Lemon include St Paul's Church (1875-76), the Harbour Board Offices (1876), Queen's (later Brydone) Hotel (1881), Waitaki Boys' High School (1883), The Courthouse (1883) and the Post Office (1883-84), all in Oamaru. Forrester and Lemon contributed greatly to Oamaru's nineteenth century character. On Lemon's death in 1890 the practice was taken over by Forrester's son, John Megget Forrester (1865-1965).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1881 - 1882

Completion Date

30th April 2013

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

McCarthy, 2002

Conal McCarthy, Forrester and Lemon of Oamaru, architects, Oamaru, 2002

McDonald, 1962

K C McDonald, 'White Stone Country', Oamaru, 1962

North Otago Times

North Otago Times

21 Sep 1865, p.1; 29 Apr 1875, p.3; 3 May 1881, p.2; 6 Oct 1882, p.3; 31 Jan 1884, p.3; 14 May 1885, p.2.

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Otago/Southland Area office of NZHPT.

This registration is also included in the Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Record no. 7064).

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.