Ashby, Bergh, and Co

Ashby Bergh store on High Street
Ashby Bergh store on High Street. Creator (cre): Christchurch Star. © Christchurch Star

The former Ashby, Bergh and Co. building at 235 High Street was erected on Lot 1 of Town Section 897 with its frontage on High Street.

In January 1865, Solomon Nashelski, a Jewish immigrant from Lubranitz in the Polish territory of the Russian Empire, and his nephew Herman, founded a general ironmonger and hardware importer business, S. and H. Nashelski. They originally operated from a single storey wooden building on Town Section 897, known as Melbourne House, which had formerly been the ironmongery of J. Caro and Co. (previously Herrmann Cohn and Co.).

In April 1873, a fire which started in the neighbouring town hall spread to the roof of the store, damaging it. The interior of the store also suffered from water damage. In May 1875, the partnership between Herman and Solomon was dissolved, with Nashelski continuing the business in his own name.

In October 1881, architect W. Marley, advertised tenders to erect a new shop for Nashelski. The contract for its construction was given to T.J. Gee. In November, the former Melbourne House building was removed.

The new building was completed by June 1882. Built from brick, it was three storeys in height. The entrance from the street was recessed, with two display windows on either side of the front door, and a glass verandah covering the shop front. Inside the ground floor shop, on either side, were two counters of kauri that ran to a length of 32 feet. Beyond these were glass display cabinets and shelves. At the end of the shop was the clerk’s office and a private office. Also situated at the end of the shop was a door for deliveries and a lift to the upper floors. A staircase also led to the show room on the first floor. The upper floor was used as a storeroom. Behind the store, a yard joined the right of way led that led from High Street to Lichfield Street.

In 1890, Solomon Nashelski died and the business was purchased by two of his employees, Edward Ashby and Ludwig Bergh, who formed Ashby, Bergh and Co.

Prior to 1904, a fourth floor was added to the building.

On 6 February 1908, a fire, which started in Ashby, Bergh and Co., destroyed the building and its neighbours. Following the fire, the company temporarily relocated to Cashel Street. In April 1908, Collins and Harman advertised tenders for the construction of a new building for Ashby, Bergh, and Co. in High Street. The contract for its construction was given to the builders, Taylor Brothers. The new building was designed to be in sympathy with the adjoining building at 219 High Street (237 High Street).

By 13 October 1908, Ashby, Bergh, and Co. had relocated to the newly built premises. A photograph in the February 1909 issue of Progress shows Ashby, Bergh, and Co. occupying both 217 and 219 High Street. Eventually the address of 217 High Street became 235 High Street and 219 High Street became 237 High Street.

By May 1921, the property was owned by Ashby, Bergh, and Co. The adjoining building (237 High Street) was transferred to Ashby, Bergh, and Co. in 1930. The two buildings remained Ashby, Bergh, and Co. until 1983 when the property was transferred to Windsor Nominees Limited.  By 1985, the building at 235 High Street had become the ski supply store, Alp Sports.

By 1993, Kathmandu had a retail store in the building. The company remained on site until 1998 when it relocated to a new location. Following this, Echo Records took possession of the building. By 2007, the building was the site of the clothing store, Hunters and Collectors.

The building was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and was subsequently demolished.