New Zealand Trust and Loan building (former)

Built in 1866 and designed by Benjamin Mountfort, the former New Zealand Trust and Loan building was an example of Venetian Gothic style of architecture.

Mythai Restaurant and Monkey Bar
Mythai Restaurant and Monkey Bar. Creator (cre): Greg O'Beirne. CC BY 4.0

The former New Zealand Trust and Loan building was erected on what was originally a part of Town Section 859. A photograph of Hereford Street, dating to 1860, shows that a timber cottage once stood on this section.

In July 1866, architect Benjamin Mountfort, advertised tenders for the construction of a new office building for the New Zealand Trust and Loan Company. The company was formed in 1863 for the purpose of supplying the colony of New Zealand with loans and advances on mortgages. The new Hereford Street building was completed by December 1866 when the company was ready to relocate their offices to it.

Designed in the Venetian Gothic style of architecture, the original section of the building was constructed out of red brick and Weka Pass stone. Facing Hereford Street, the north façade featured two windows on the ground floor, set to the east of the main entrance. On the second floor were four arched windows. Above this was a dentil frieze topped by a cornice. Initially, the ground floor contained public offices, a waiting room, and private offices. Further offices were situated on the first floor.

In August 1881, architect William Barnett Armson advertised tenders for an extension to the original building. This extension, built from brick and concrete, extended the facade westward along Hereford Street by three bays. By then the address of the building was 215 Hereford Street.

The New Zealand Trust and Loan Company remained in occupancy until the building was purchased by the Canterbury Jockey Club in 1902. In that same year, Henry S. Fitter and Sons relocated their offices to the building. By 1910, the solicitors, Papprill and Conlan, and the accountant, James Powrie, also had their offices there.

It is possible that the building adjoining the eastern façade, originally the entrance to the Olympia Skating Rink, was added in 1910 when the rink opened.

In 1912, the property was transferred to William Devenish Meares and the Canterbury Jockey Club relocated to new premises on Oxford Terrace. By the following year, the address of the property had changed to 84 Hereford Street.

In 1920, the property was transferred to J.G. Ward and Company, a company founded by Joseph George Ward who had served as the 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand. By the following year, the building was also occupied by Sutton’s Seeds, and the barristers, Papprill, Salter, and Gresson. In 1925, the property was transferred to Joseph George Ward. Ward died in 1930 and the property was leased back to J.G. Ward and Company.

In February 1941, the property was transferred to Gough, Gough, and Hamer Limited. Under this ownership the building was occupied by various firms. In 1950, the occupants included Papprill, Son and Corcoran, barristers, Evans and Bull, estate agents, Roy Smith, accountant, The Raven Press, printers, Gerald Anderson, sharebroker, and Wentworth Restaurant. In 1960, the occupants were Papprill and Frampton, barristers, Spectacle Dispensers Limited, Logans Washing Machine repair service, and C.H. White, accountant.

By 1970, the ground floor of the building was occupied by Central Dealers, Lucullus Coffee Lounge, Spectacle Dispensers, and on the first floor was Papprill, Frampton and Hadfield. It is possible that the ground floor windows to the west of the original main door were converted into doors around this time. In 1974 the property was transferred to Hereford Holdings Limited.

In 1980, Spectacle Dispensers Limited and Williamson Optical Co. occupied the ground floor of the building. By 1983, part of the western extension of the ground floor became the Happy Sandwich bakery.

On 23 March 1990, a Thai restaurant, The Mythai Foods, opened in what had formerly been the Happy Sandwich bakery. By 1992, Alice in Videoland had opened in a shop set between Mythai Foods and Spectacle Dispensers. In the following year, Mythai Foods expanded into the remainder of the western extension. The former doors to Mythai Foods had been converted into windows and the former entrance to Alice in Videoland became the entrance to the restaurant. In 1995, the restaurant expanded with the addition of the Monkey Bar, taking over the rest of the ground floor that had previously been occupied by Spectacle Dispensers.

The Mythai Monkey Bar remained in occupancy until the building suffered damage in the Canterbury earthquakes. The building was demolished by March 2011.