Heritage Properties NZ have exposed the foundations of the first brick building in Invercargill, which was constructed in 1863 under the former ASB building on Esk Street. An Archaeology investigation is currently taking place.
The brick walls are part of the first brick building erected in Invercargill. Merchants Calder Blacklock and Company built a warehouse at this site in 1863. Early twentieth century photographs show the warehouse with a rendered street frontage and striking Gothic features such as arched windows and doorways and decorative buttresses. The New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company occupied the warehouse from 1876-1885, followed by several smaller merchant firms until the Nichol Brothers took over the lease in 1896. This successful Invercargill merchant company occupied this building until 1929 when they tore it down and replaced it with a new premises that stood until demolished for the current redevelopment project.
New Zealand Heritage Properties archaeologists Victoria Ross and Julia Lewis found and exposed the feature over the course of two days. They were not expecting to encounter anything like this. Nichol’s building (the one just demolished) replaced an earlier building in 1929 and records indicated the earlier structure had been completely demolished.
The feature was recorded (photographed and drawn) and samples of the bricks collected and was then removed to make way for the new development. Retaining the feature was not possible in this case. Some of the bricks will be on display in the Information Hub.