Lindo Ferguson Building
270 Great King Street, Dunedin
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
27th July 1988
Date of Effect
27th July 1988
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Sec 14 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT299/71), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT129/17), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT165/271), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT152/296), Sec 16 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT299/72), Sec 17 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT24/145), Otago Land District and the building known as the Lindo Ferguson building, thereon.
Sec 14 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT299/71), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT129/17), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT165/271), Pt Sec 15 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT152/296), Sec 16 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT299/72), Sec 17 Blk XXIII Town of Dunedin (RT OT24/145), Otago Land District
Opened in 1927, this second addition to the new medical school on Great King Street was constructed to house the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology. Described as “one of the most august educational structures in New Zealand”, it was the next step in Dean Lindo Ferguson’s master plan for the Otago Medical School, the first Medical School in New Zealand established in 1875. This building was the second to be built beyond the boundaries of the main campus and continued the Neo-Classical style of its neighbour, the Scott Building (List No. 4760). As with the Scott, its proximity to the hospital was crucial to functioning of the school. Designed by Edmund Anscombe (1847-1948), the style was a bold departure from the Neo-Gothic buildings he had designed on the the main campus. A major contributor to the streetscape, this building became known as the Lindo Ferguson Building and is of architectural, historic and social significance.
The Otago Medical School was originally sited in what is now known as the Geology Block (List No.4765) of the University of Otago. Despite several additions, designed by Edmund Anscombe, the building was no longer adequate for the purposes of a rapidly growing medical school. Following the World War 1, returned service men “swelled the post war classes.” By 1919 there were 91 students and a serious lack of space. Sir Lindo Ferguson (1858-1948) was the second Dean of the Otago Medical School, a role he held from 1914–1936. During this time Ferguson made the extraordinary contribution of anticipating clinical specialisations and the subdivisions of subjects which necessitated the development of the medical curriculum as well as teaching and research spaces. Ferguson embarked upon a decades long building campaign to create the medical campus and supporting buildings we know today. In 1919 Ferguson approached the University Council and argued for the expansion of the school based on the requirements for space and proximity to the hospital but he also appealed to the services rendered the country by students, graduates and staff both during the war, and later during the influenza pandemic. In 1920 the University purchased the remaining land opposite the hospital which was inhabited by a number of small businesses and residences and around eight families. Section 17 Block 23, was occupied by Francis Meenan, a produce merchant. After many years of Ferguson harassing the government, permission was obtained in 1923 for this new building to commence. The existing buildings were demolished in 1924.
The Lindo Ferguson Building was one of Anscombe’s last commissions for the University. The most grandoise façade of any of the the Medical School buildings in this block, the Lindo Ferguson is a large double brick and Ōamaru stone structure of three storeys facing Great King Street. The Department of Education wanted the building to cost no more than £75,000 ($7,683,193) however the shell cost £52,827 ($5,411,733) and final cost was estimated at £100,000 ($10,244,257). There is a basement, and four storeys to the rear with six levels where offices have been inserted into lecture theatre. The lowest storey is rusticated Ōamaru stone with quoined corners and arched windows along its length.The upper two storeys are brick with Ōamaru stone facings. The central bay projects forward and is accentuated by four engaged Ionic columns spanning the upper two storeys and surmounted by a pediment bearing the University crest flanked by caducei and bowers of foliage. Behind the pediment an Ōamaru stone parapet runs the width of the building and announces the building as the Medical School. The flat roof is covered with a malthoid-like waterproof layer and has four Edwardian skylights. An arched and rusticated elevated corridor links the Scott and Lindo Fergson buildings. The main entry doors are approached by two flights of steps leading to a landing with an ornamental Ōamaru stone balustrade bearing two ornate cast iron standards with lights. The double doors of the main entrance are oak with small panes of bevelled glass and open into a small outer foyer floored with red tiles. An interior set of double oak doors open into a large foyer with ornate plaster ceilings and architraves, Ionic pilasters and columns, and a double hanging concrete stairway rising to the upper floors. The stairway has an easy rise and heavy wooden banisters. Originally the basement held a workshop, embalming room, insulated chamber for cadavers, modellers room, bone room, animal room, storage tanks, trap dark room, and a freight lift that travelled to the second floor. The ground floor held student facilities, a canteen and male and female lounges, the Department of Physiology and staff rooms as well as rooms for experiments and demonstrating. The first floor provided for the Physiology and included preparation and lecture rooms as well as rooms for histology, bio-chemistry and a library. The second floor was devoted to Anatomy with a large dissection room lit from above, lecture rooms a library and the Anatomy Museum, a rare example of a purpose-built anatomy museum. The foundation stones were laid on 18 June 1925, officiated by the beleaguered Education Minister Sir James Parr. The building was opened on 2 February 1927 by Mr Downie Stewart, Acting Prime Minister.
A plaque in the outer foyer of the Lindo Ferguson building commemorates the first formal business held in the building as a meeting in February 1927 of the founders of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Another plaque states the Surgical Research Society of Australasia held its first scientific meeting here in January 1962. Since its construction, the façade remains unmodified except for the addition of the new corridor to the Sayers Building (1972) to the north, and across Great King Street to the Colquhoun lecture theatre in the hospital. Internally the building retains many of its features around doors and windows but the room spaces have been re-modelled several times for different uses. Dean Lindo Ferguson’s Master Plan for the Otago Medical School eventuated in the building of the Scott (1917), Lindo Ferguson (1927), Hercus (1948), Wellcome (1963), Sayers (1972) and Adams (1973) buildings, all named for successive Deans of the Otago Medical School. This block is testiment to Ferguson’s imagination, vision and tenacity. The Lindo Ferguson Building maintains its function as a teaching and learning space for the same departments, and continues to house the important Anatomy Museum and its collections and in its names honours the legacy of Sir Lindo Ferguson.
Historical Significance or Value
Sir Lindo Ferguson was dean of the Medical School from 1914 to 1937. The first of the three buildings specially built for the Medical School on Great King Street was the Scott building opened in 1916, allowing the faculty to shift from its original home in what is now the Geology Block on the main University campus to a more convenient site opposite the hospital. (In 1916 the site of the Lindo Ferguson building was occupied by a liquor store belonging to F Meenan, a long established Dunedin firm.) By the 1920s senior students were having to be sent to first Christchurch and then Wellington and Auckland for clinical training. The Education Minister of the day, Sir James Parr, argued hard for a new Medical School in Auckland, but Ferguson harried the government so successfully for funds that Parr was put in the position of having to officiate at laying the foundation stone of the Dunedin building in 1925. Ferguson immediately started a fund for the next building but the 'modern' Hercus building was not complete until 1948.
Plaques in the outer foyer of the Lindo Ferguson building commemorate that the first formal business in the building was a meeting in February 1927 of the founders of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and that the Surgical Research Society of Australasia held its first scientific meeting here in January 1962.
This must be one of the last buildings which Anscombe built in classical styling which was already old-fashioned in the 1920s. Anscombe was giving most of this time and attention at this stage to exhibition buildings, such as those for the 1925 Dunedin exhibition, built in a much more 'modern' style derived from overseas exhibitions which he had visited. (The Art Gallery at Logan Park is one of the Exhibition buildings.) The Lindo Ferguson block is the most grandiose of the three Medical School buildings and presumably provided what the conservative medical men of the day considered to be a suitable background.
The building has considerable grandeur and is the most impressive of the Medical School buildings in this block.
Anscombe (1874-1948) was born in Sussex and came to New Zealand as a child. He began work as a builder's apprentice in Dunedin and in 1901 went to America to study architecture. He returned to Dunedin in 1907 and designed the School of Mines building for the University of Otago. The success of this design gained him the position of architect to the University. Five of the main University buildings were designed by Anscombe, as well as Otago Girls' High School and several of Dunedin's finest commercial buildings including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1927) and the Haynes building.
Anscombe moved to Wellington about 1928 and was known for his work as the designer of the Centennial Exhibition (1939-1940). Anscombe had travelled extensively and had visited major exhibitions in Australia, Germany and America. The practice of Edmund Anscombe and Associates, Architects, had offices in the Dunedin, Wellington and Hawkes Bay districts, and Anscombe's buildings include the Vocational Centre for Disabled Servicemen, Wellington (1943), Sargent Art Gallery, Wanganui, and several blocks of flats including Anscombe Flats, 212 Oriental Parade (1937) and Franconia, 136 The Terrace (1938), both in Wellington. As well as being interested in the housing problem, Anscombe held strong views concerning the industrial advancement of New Zealand.
(See also http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/ )
McLellan was the builder of several prominent buildings in Dunedin, including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1925), Maori Hill Presbyterian Church (1920) and St Pauls Cathedral in the Octagon (1916-1919).
Architectural Description (Style):
The building has some restrained Classical detailing in front. The façade is long relative to its height and cleverly divided by the pilastered middle section to give a better balance.
The façade is unmodified except for the addition of the new corridors to the Medical Library building to the north and across the street to the new lecture theatre. Internally the building retains many of its fittings around doors and windows but the room spaces have been re-modelled several times for different uses, the largest change being the conversion of the Red Lecture theatre into offices.
Its grand façade and associations with medical history in Australasia.
Fire escapes added?
Ducting installed in north wall
2016 - 2017
skylights replaced with aluminium frames
New workshops being developed on 4th floor for Anatomy Museum
This three to six storied building is basically triple brick but on the façade the lower storey is Oamaru stone rusticated with quoined corners and the upper storeys are plastered. The roof is flat and covered with a waterproofing malthoid-like layer. The windows on the lower storey have arched heads and rounded fanlights and over the main entrance there are large pilasters of Oamaru stone supporting a pediment with figures in it. The windows of the upper storeys are plain and square. There is a grand entrance of two flights of steps rising to a landing with an ornamental balustrade of Oamaru stone carrying two ornate cast iron standards with lights. The double doors of the main entrance are oak with small panes of bevelled glass and open into a small outer foyer floored with red tiles. An interior set of double oak doors open into a large foyer with some ornate plaster work, stone pillars and a double stairway rising to the upper floors. The stairway has an easy rise and heavy wooden banisters.
Seen from the front the building is three storied with a basement but is four storied at the back with six levels where offices have been inserted into a large lecture theatre.
Closed elevated corridors link the building to neighbouring buildings. The corridor to the older Scott building to the south is an arched and rusticated structure in plastered false stone work. The corridors to the Medical Library and across the street to the new lecture theatres are plain squared structures. The roof line has a plain parapet.
3rd June 2020
Report Written By
G P Parry, Otago Medical School 1875-1975. 1975
Alison Clarke., Otago: 150 Years of New Zealand’s First University, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 2018.
Carmalt Jones, 1945
D.W. Carmalt Jones., Annals of the University of Otago Medical School 1875-1939, A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1945.
Hercus and Bell, 1964
Sir Charles Hercus and Sir Gordon Bell., The Otago Medical School Under the First Three Deans, E & S Livingstone, Edinburgh & London, 1964.
Dorothy Page., Anatomy of a Medical School: A History of Medicine at the University of Otago 1875-2000. OUP, Dunedin, 2008.
New Zealand Museums Journal
F. Neuman., Pots and pieces: The Anatomy Museum of the Otago Medical School and how it came to be. New Zealand Museums Journal 23(1): p.17-22.
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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.