This post is a continuation of the one I made yesterday… because I spied something that piqued my curiosity.
There’s a relatively unassuming building in Hereford Street, Christchurch that stands next to Shand’s Emporium and its called the Royal Insurance building. On the ground floor at street level there are four equal sized arches that house three windows and a doorway, followed on floors two to four by rows of four large bay windows on each level.
What’s seized my attention are two things, First is the unmissable massive ironwork bracing that appears to be holding up the front face of the building, and second is the fact that the building is tucked so close in to Shand’s Emporium that it even appears to be dovetailed into the recess beneath the Shand’s Emporium roof!
That’s a very “close relationship” indeed so needless to say I was interested to find out more about this building.
Sadly I drew almost a total blank on my research on this one, the only mention is I could find was that a company called “Royal Insurance” was indeed active in Hereford Street Christchurch from about the 1860′s onwards, thus making it one of the cities founding stone buildings… but details about how long it stayed as an Insurance company and when it ceased to be so and went on to other things appear to be absent (or more probably, the information is available somewhere in a place like the Christchurch City Council archives).
Still, background information or not, I hoped that whoever had gone to such a great effort to support this building, would be back to repair it at a later date.
As is my custom, I usually start sorting travel photographs and using my diary notes a week or two before the post is published… because often I need to fill in the gaps and provide names, dates and finish my research on the topic before I can post it and as you can imagine with work, health and family life, not everything can done quickly.
The text up until this point, I had written ready for posting, so imagine my horror when I ran across an on-line newspaper article yesterday here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7575542/Good-home-wanted-for-Shands-Emporium
It’s not just the sad shape of the little Shand’s Emporium building that’s left me speechless ….it’s also the very prominent gap on the left side of the newspaper photograph where the Royal Insurance building should be standing that makes my heart sink.
I’m posting these photographs of the Royal Insurance building anyway… since photographs apparently, are all that’s left.