Stewart Dawson building

The Stewart Dawson building, situated at 222 High Street, was built in 1918 and designed by the architectural firm, Collins and Harman. 

High Street, 13 September 2008
Jean Jones in Stewart Dawson building . Photographer (pht): Cafe Cecil, Contributor (ctb): Cafe Cecil. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The Stewart Dawson building was situated at 222 High Street, on a parcel of land consisting of part of Town Section 836 with a right of way on Town Section 834. The previous owner, John Henry Stringer, had purchased the site from John Buckland Way and Arthur Colville in 1914. Initially a wooden building, consisting of a ground floor shop and offices on the first floor, had been situated on the site which had frontages on both High Street and Cashel Street. The prior occupant of the building, James Henry Parker of Parker and Co., a clothing and mercer business, had leased the building from John Buckland Way in 1909 for a term of seven years.

The jewellery business, Stewart Dawson and Co., purchased the property in 1915 with the intention of constructing a new building. In April 1916, tenders were advertised for the removal of the former wooden buildings. Collins and Harmans, the architectural firm selected for the project, advertised tenders for the construction of the building in October 1916.

The building, which was designed to fit the triangular footprint of the section, consisted of a basement, four floors, and a penthouse. While the ground floor was purposed for commercial use with display windows, the upper floors were Classical in appearance, with a façade facing onto Cashel Street and a façade facing onto High Street. Each façade had two windows per floor, set within pilasters which, apart from the middle pilaster separating the two windows, were rusticated. Set atop of these was an entablature, topped by a balustrade. A continuous oriel window, from the first floor to the third floor, accentuated the corner.

From High Street, an entrance provided access to a vestibule with a lead lighted domed ceiling. This vestibule offered access to the shop on the ground floor and to a staircase leading to the upper floors. A lift also provided access to the basement. The first floor was originally a show room and an optical department. The second floor was designed to accommodate a dentist, while the third floor was for general offices. The penthouse on the roof, with a skylight, was designed to house a photographic studio with a dark room.

Stewart Dawson and Co. moved into the building in January 1918. In 1919 the first floor was occupied by Herbert Kirk McDougall, a solicitor, the second floor was occupied by Nino Di Somma, a watchmaker, and Albert Sydney Williams, an engraver. The fourth floor was occupied by Walter Clegg, a photographer.

Stewart Dawson remained in occupancy until 1992 when Jean Jones took over the ground floor premises. Over the decades, the offices on the upper floors were occupied by various businesses. In the early 2000s, NZEAS Education Centre was situated on the first floor. In 2010 the ground floor was occupied by City Chic.

The building was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and was subsequently demolished.