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34-40 George Street - Andrews Building

Building DetailsAndrews -Building

Building Name: Andrews Building
Address: 34-40 George Street
Construction date: 1929
Architect: OA Jorgenson
Builder: Mouldy & Holmes     
District Plan Category: 2
Building number: 29
Heritage NZ Category: Nil    

Physical and Social History 

This building consists of four small shops and three flats upstairs, two with single bedrooms, and one with two bedrooms.  Its unique feature becomes apparent when the family that built it becomes known - its façade recreating the appearance of the buildings of ancient Greece for more reasons than just fashion.

Prior History
CT WN26/135 was issued to George Matthew Snelson in 1881, before passing to William Akers, a local sheepfarmer in 1889. He sold it to John Robert Tripe, a local dentist, in 1892. He died in 1899, and the property was transmitted in 1900 to his widow, Harriette Mary Tripe, and William Archibald Dampier Tripe, an accountant. They leased it to James Alfred Nash in 1901, and he sub-let the property to various people, and amongst the businesses located there was a blacksmith's shop.  A photo of this shop as HJ Lauridsen's blacksmith and farrier shop between c1907 and c1911, appears on page 57 of the book Early Manawatu Scandinavians[1]. The 1925 Wises Directory still shows Henry Boyle's blacksmith's shop present at this site at that time.

Ownership of the property was transferred to other members of the Tripe family in 1925, and in 1928, they transferred it to Samuel Andrews, a restaurant proprietor of Dannevirke. It remained in his family until 1985.

This Building

OA Jorgenson drew up the plans for this building in November 1928, and tenders were advertised for on 12 November 1928. It was described as a two-storied building of reinforced concrete. The Building Permit for what was then described as at brick and concrete building, was then issued on 4 December 1928. The value was £3,939, and the successful tenderers were Mouldey & Holmes.[2]

The plans show that the largest of the three flats is at the Cuba Street end of the building. This flat also has brick walls separating it from the other two flats. The larger flat also looks out over an iron roof covering two of the shops below. It is not clear from the plans as to what was referred to as the balcony, which was mentioned at the time of the 1997 fire (see below). Three of the four shops are of a similar size, however, Shop 3 (on the Cuba St side of the entrance to the flats) loses some of its width to the entrance hall.

Samuel Andrews
At first glance, the name Andrews Building conjures up an impression that this is named after a British family and in that respect it becomes 'just another building among many'. However, the Andrews family that had this building erected was Greek. They had anglicised their surname - presumably just as many non-British immigrants had also chosen to do in order to blend into the majority community. The headstones at Kelvin Grove Cemetery of the couple who erected this building identify them as Erstratios and Stavroula Andreanatos, and Stavroula was to eventually live out the last two decades of her life in one of the three flats in this building. Possibly they also lived there when they first moved to Palmerston North in the early 1930s, at which time their shop was nearby and no occupants are listed for this building in the various directories.

The only people surnamed Andrews in the NZ Naturalisation records (to 1948) and the 1917 Alien Registration records, were all born in Greece. The oldest of them, George Andrews, was aged 47 when he was naturalised on 5 October 1893. At the time he was a fishmonger of Wellington. By 1917, he was a 70-year-old Paramata fisherman. He was also a widower who had been in New Zealand 45 years - meaning that he arrived about 1872. The other seven Andrews' were a generation younger, and mostly followed similar occupations (fishermen and fishmongers), albeit that by 1917 most lived in Auckland. Two of the three naturalisations traced gave the Greek town of birth. At that time, wives took the nationalities of their husbands, so were not usually naturalised in their own right. One of these two naturalisations (John Andrews) gives his birth town as Ithaca, while the other (Samuel Andrews using his Greek name) uses Ithaka - both spellings are valid.

The website Wikipedia states the island: "Ithaca or Ithaka is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of 45 square miles and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It is an independent municipality of the Kefallinia Prefecture, and lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia. The municipality of Ithaca includes some smaller islands as well. The capital, Itháki (Vathý), has one of the world's largest natural harbours. Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the subject of the Odyssey."[3]

Traditionally, a large percentage of the island's working population are sailors, and fishing is a major occupation there[4] - and clearly that appears to have been in the background of the Andrews family.

Ithaca is noted for having had a unique architectural style for the region, this having a strong Ionian influence. Features had included such things as no balconies and efforts to make structures like miniature fortresses in an attempt to make them pirate-proof - although that problem largely dissipated in the latter 16th century. In 1953, an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, caused massive destruction on the island, including through fires that resulted, and hundreds of people died. As a result, over 70% of buildings on the island were demolished and earthquake-resistant buildings took their place. Many people also emigrated after this.[5]

Samuel's entry in the 1917 Alien Register stated that he was then aged 23 and had been in New Zealand seven years. His occupation was given as a restaurant proprietor of Napier. His wife, also Greek, was listed as C Andrews, aged 22 and she had New Zealand four years.[6] By 1925, his address was listed in the Wises Directory as 61 High Street, Dannevirke, where he had a restaurant. He was naturalised, as Stratos Andreanatios, on 16 January 1925, giving his birth date as 1 January 1892, and his occupation as a restaurant-keeper of Dannevirke.[7] The 1929 Directory still lists him as living at Dannevirke - by which time this building had been erected.

By the 1933 Stones Directory he was a fishmonger at 86 The Square, Palmerston North, this shop being between the Grand Hotel and the railway lines. The 1936 Directory listed him as the managing director of the Palmerston North Fish Supply Co Ltd, of 86 The Square. By 1938 he was living at 19 Florence Avenue, and by 1940 his private residence was in College Street West at Awapuni. Meanwhile, by the 1941 phonebook, his business in The Square belonged to Tait & Co, wholesale and retail fish merchants. The 1941 phone book also lists the Palmerston North Fish Co Ltd as being in Rangitikei Street and later listings in the early 1950s show 15 Rangitikei Street, although its ownership is unknown.

Samuel died while still living at College Street on 14 January 1954, aged 64. Stavroula had moved from College Street by 1955, and by the 1960 Wises Directory, she was living in one of the three flats in this building. She was still listed as living there at the time of her death at the Ewart Hospital, Wellington, on 16 April 1981, aged 88.[8]

Subsequent Owners
In 1954, after Samuel's death, the property was transferred into the names of Stavroula Andrews and Gordon Trevor Rapley, a PN Solicitor. In 1975, Stavroula's name was replaced on the CT with that of her son Spero Andrews, a Wellington restaurateur. The year after her death in 1981, the property was transferred in to Spero's name alone. It was then transferred in 1985 to Tunbridge Wells Ltd of Christchurch - which in turn became Tunwell Corporation Ltd. in 1991, before being transferred in 1992 to Gloria Joan Cameron and John Gavan Cameron, of Feilding. It was transferred to the present owner, Fair Investments Ltd, in 1995. The present CT WN46B/489 was then issued.

The Fire
This building is yet another in the area to have suffered a fire - a woman being charged with arson as a result. The fire broke out in a bedroom of one flat at about 9pm on Sunday, 7 December 1997. That flat was gutted and the fire then got into the ceiling, causing smoke to billow through the other two flats. Occupants of one of the other flats learned of the fire when someone knocked on their door and yelled to them. They escaped without their shoes, but did remember their two kittens - and then were rescued off a balcony at the back of the building by a fire fighter. The fire was under control within 15 minutes, but two extra fire engines had been called due to the potential for the fire to spread to the adjacent shops and flats. The fire safely officer was concerned at the lack of fire safely protection devices, such as smoke alarms, in the building.[9]

Additions & Alterations
Other than the collection of original plans for this building[10], Building Permit file G5/40-48 contains little on it, other than a certificate of compliance from 1997 (before the fire).

The Occupants

Noteworthy amongst the occupants of the shops is the hairdresser's shop that gradually morphed into a radio shop, the saddlery shop that was in this building for about thirty years before moving to the Commercial Building in The Square, and the Union Steamship Company's shop. Miss Annie Newman ran The Hat Shoppe for over a decade, while living upstairs with Mrs Annie Draper[11], another milliner, who died on 16 March 1945 aged 69, with cemetery records stating that her address was still George St.

Shop 1 - nearest Main Street - now 40 George Street
Stones 1933-Wises 1944 - 41/52 George St - Miss Annie Newman, millinery specialist
Wises 1950-60 - 52 George St - Union Steam Ship Co of NZ
2009-Now - 40 George St - Ink Tattoo Studio (was #44)

Shop 2 - now 38 George Street
Stones 1933 - Henry Sparrow Wycherley, saddler
Wises 1936-44 - 43/50 George St - Henry S Wycherley, saddler (died 27/9/1956 aged 80)
Wises 1950-60 - 50 George St - AE Williams, saddler
2009 - 38 George St - Crate Creations 
Now - empty

Upstairs - now 36A George Street
Stones 1933 - unknown
Wises 1939 - 48 George St - Brian Trehey, traveller
Phonebook 1941 - 48 George St - Mrs A. Draper & Miss A Newman in Flat 1
Wises 1944 - 48 George St - Mrs Annie Draper
Wises 1950-51 - 48 George St - James Regos, salesman; W Shirley, postal sorter; PR Young
Wises 1953-54 - 48 George St - James Regos, salesman; Mrs A Sinclair; VW Boyens; PR Young
Wises 1957 - 48 George St - James Regos, salesman; MM Wilson; Mrs PR Young
Wises 1960 - 48 George St - Mrs Stavrula Andrews; Mark M Wilson; Mrs PR Young
Now - unknown

Shop 3 - now 36 George Street
Stones 1933 - Miss E Batters, department manageress
Wises 1936-39 - 47/46 George St - Mrs Ethyl Woller, pastrycook
Wises 1944-54 - 46 George St - James R Davy, pastrycook
Wises 1957-60 - 46 George St - Bobby's Cafeteria & Milk Bar
2007-Now - 36 George St - Posh

Shop 4 - nearest Cuba Street - now 34 George Street
Stones 1933 - Walter Smart Ingram, hairdresser & tobacconist
Wises 1936-39 - 49/44 George St - Walter Ingram, hairdresser
Wises 1944 - 44 George St - Leicester D Matson, hairdresser
Wises 1950-51 - 44 George St - EG Cook, hairdresser
Wises 1953-54 - 44 George St - Ted Cook, radio & Electrical dealer, tobacconist
Wises 1957 - 44 George St - Ted Cook, radio dealer
Wises 1959-60 - 44 George St - Frocks Unlimited Ltd, frock specialists
Now - 34 George St - Adelphi Finance Ltd

Architectural Description

The original drawings show the building designed in the Inter-War Stripped Classical style with symmetrical street façade, simple stepped parapet, cornice, above-verandah pilastered central bay with largely unadorned bays either side.  The four shop fronts, also symmetrically designed around the centre of the building have angled ingos, and above shop front clerestory.

The ground floor plans show almost identical shops with a central entry to a stair hall and toilets and open area at the rear. The first floor (noted as the second floor) shows the centrally located stairs leading to a central passage off which are two one bed roomed flats and one two bed roomed flat.

The construction of the flats appears to be reinforced concrete with timber joinery and roof structure, with timber and tiled shop fronts.

Statement of Significance 

This building has moderate local significance for historical and design values, representivity of building style and type andlevel of external authenticity. 

This building has moderate historic values in its association with Erstratios and Stavroula Andreanatos and their family, who were naturalised New Zealanders from Ithaca in Greece.

The building has a moderate level of historic association with its architect, Oscar Jorgenson a well-known local architect.  Jorgenson also designed 137-143 Cuba Street, another building in the proposed North West Square Heritage Area.

The building has moderate design values as a representative example of the Inter-War Free Classical style, which has a Greek acroterion in the centre of the parapet, likely to be a reference to the origins of the owners.

The original and later ownership and tenants reflects a moderate  level of continuity as a typical pattern of similar commercial buildings throughout the city.

The building has high design values as one of a number of buildings in the Cuba Street, George Street, Coleman Place, and The Square area which, when considered collectively, form a coherent group of buildings of a similar age, general style, form, use, and scale.

The exterior of the building has high levels of authenticity.

[1] Scandinavian Club of Manawatu, Early Manawatu Scandinavians: Skandia 1 (Palmerston North, 1999 edition)

[2] Building Permit Register, Vol 3, p394, PNCC 4/13/1, Ian Matheson City Archives, PN City Library. Manawatu Evening Standard 12 November 1928 2(1)

[5] Ithaca Architecture: Information about the architecture of Ithaca Greece, Ionian ; Ithaca: The catastrophic earthquake in 1953 on Ithaca Greece, Ionian

[6] New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs: Register of Aliens, 1917 (Wellington, c1918), p430 (Napier Borough). There are also entries for Greek Andrews' on p349 (Auckland Borough) and p246 (Hutt City) - a total of seven persons, including three wives, all born in Greece.

[7] Register of persons Naturalised in New Zealand before 1948: Non Commonwealth. There are three entries, George Andrews, Wellington fishmonger (naturalised 5/10/1893 aged 47), John Andrews, Wellington fishmonger (naturalised 11/1/1928, aged 48), and Samuel Andrews listed under the name Stratos Andreanatios.

[8]Manawatu Evening Standard, 15 January 1954 1(1), 18 April 1981, p27, PNCC online cemetery records

[9]Manawatu Evening Standard 8 December 1997, p1

[10] The original plans are held at the Ian Matheson City Archives, Plans 20//40-48, PNCC 4/13/6

[11] 1941 phonebook