Early Thamesites were well acquainted with the dangers of fire. The near city had been rapidly built, with buildings very close together and nearly all of wood. Many hotels were lost to fire, and there were major street fires in 1872 (Shortland end of Pollen Street) and 1876 (Pollen Street)
On 2nd January 1932 the Thames Fire Brigade made a spectacular save, that prevented the major destruction of the shops north of Court's Corner, that had previously been destroyed in 1876.
The Auckland Star has full reports of the fire on 2nd January 1932 and information on insurance costs 6th January 1932.
Part of the report on 2nd January:
FIRE AT THAMES.
BUSINESS BLOCK ABLAZE SAVED BY BRIGADE. CHURCH ENDANGERED. STOCKS DAMAGED BY WATER. (By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.) THAMES, this day.
A fire broke out at 1.5 this morning in a two-storey block of wooden shops in Pollen Street, adjacent to Mary Street corner. It originated in the premises of Mr. Charles Bunting, electrician, and extended to the shop of Mr. William Carson, bookseller, a portion of Court and Sons' drapery premises, and the shop of She Chong, a Chinese fruiterer, and that of Mr. Henry Lowe, butcher. All were old buildings, having replaced premises which were destroyed by a big fire in 1876.
Above the signage behind the fireman reads ? LOWE, PORK BUTCHER
This is the first signage that we have seen for this shop, which is still a butchery today
Below the full photograph looks back towards Court' Corner to the right (and the Mary Street intersect)
The above photo looks at the section of shops, looking north.
Thames shops are wonderful for identification as they all liked to build different roof lines and facades, their architecture to this day helps make location identification so much easier!
If you have any early photos of Thames businesses in particular, I would love to hear from you, so that they can be added to The Thames Business Registers that are held at The Treasury, Thames.
We need your help to identify more old Thames businesses.
|A Google map view of the shops as they are today. The ones to the left have been replaced but the butcher shop remains the same (Peninsula Prime Meats)|