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Union Steam Ship 1909


Union Steam Ship Building, Customhouse Quay and Johnston Streets, Wellington, 1909
Alan Bulleyment Collection
Architects: Crichton and McKay.

With a construction cost of £45,000 we believe this was the largest project undertaken by Crichton and McKay at the time (the previous largest was the 1905 DIC at £33,000). The drawings are signed for the Union company by James Mills (managing director and founder of the company) and A Cameron (director). For the builders the drawings are signed by William Mitchell and Frederick Arthur King.

The building had a structural steel frame with brick infill. This was a new method of construction that had been developed for the rebuild of San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. The facade was altered after the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake.

The drawings are unusual in that they are diazo prints (at the time all other contract drawings were hand drawn originals). As such they pre date the next printed contract drawings by about nine years. The paper prints are adhered to a fabric backing and are becoming very brittle.

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