The most recent awards from the Wellington City Council to fund strengthening or restoration work on listed heritage buildings brought to mind this photo, one of my recent favourites. This is the team of police based at the Wellington Mount Cook police station in Buckle Street, taken in the courtyard behind the building. Spot the two men peering out the kitchen window while the photo is taken. Cooks perhaps? Presumably not baddies. I do wonder if the police knew they were there, when the photo was taken; I like to think not. The chap on the right, by the way, with the jaunty hat, was the mounted policeman attached to the station. Note also, if you can see it, the lovely star detail on either side of the downpipe, where it is attached to the wall.
The owners of the Mount Cook police station has received $15,000 of funding from this round, along with $40,000 for the enormous former Art Deco Cambridge Terrace Post Office, completed in 1930, and $10,000 for the Jaycee Building in Willis Street.
The Cambridge Terrace Post Office
Also funded was one of my favourites, the former Racing Conference building on the corner of Victoria and Wakefield, which received $60,000. This building is famous for its wavy canopy, fishbowl glass, unusual detailing, and the Lido Cafe.
The former Racing Conference building, now the Mibar Building.
Other recipients were 119 Cuba Street, better known as the J J Murphy bar, and a very large amount of $100,000, for the two neighbouring buildings at 58-60 Cuba Street, known as the T G McCarthy Building, and its neighbouring 54-56 Cuba Street, which share a party wall and have been looking very tired for a long time. It would be great for lower Cuba Street to see these two buildings revived.
All of these commercial buildings, with the exception of the post office, are on the City Council’s Earthquake Prone list, and are significantly below New Building Standard for earthquakes. It is, of course, a priority of the scheme to assist owners to get these buildings off the list. I noted that all applications – or portions of applications – which could be eligible for the government’s new facades and parapets scheme have been declined, so that owners will need to go to that fund directly for that portion of the work.
There was also funding for work on four houses: the fabulous Wedge House in Glenbervie Terrace; a Chapman Taylor House in Tinakori Road; one of the Railway Houses in Ngaio, and for a small worker’s cottage in Ranfurly Terrace, near the Basin Reserve, for work needed on the unusual tiles in its bathroom, as it has a listed interior.