Mar 13, 2008

New Zealand's Oldest Bank

Long forgotten as such and hidden away behind the modern facade of a shoe shop in the Cashel Street part of the City Mall is the city's oldest commercial premises. Built of stuccoed brick in 1856, it was originally opened as an agency of the Lyttelton branch of the Union Bank of Australia (now the ANZ Bank), becoming a full branch two years later.

It would be a further five years before the Bank of New South Wales would open the city's second Bank on the other side of Cashel Street. But the Union Bank held the account of the Central Government and from this historic building all of the bank notes used in the city were issued.

By 1865 this block of Cashel Street, between High Street and Oxford Terrace, was the principal retail precinct of the early town (in 1900 it would be the first to have a sealed road surface). But by then the Bank had moved to new premises in Hereford Street, in the block between Oxford Terrace and Colombo Street that's still favoured by the Professions.

The old Bank building was subsequently occupied by an Umbrella maker until 1875 when Bootmaker James Logie acquired the premises. For the succeeding 133 years it was Shoe Store of the Logie family, but in 2009 the historic building was renovated as an Indian restaurant.

The steeply pitched tiled roof, with it's clerestory windows has been much altered, but the original line of the Eastern pitch remains. Apart from the street frontage much of the original brickwork remains intact.

See where these photographs were taken (a Google map opens in a new window).

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