Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Judy Siers - Researching HB History and the Women's Rest

Judy Siers has been busy over the las few years involved in a lot of local history projects, one in particular was the "King George Coronation Hall" in Petane built in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George. Designed by world-renowned Art Deco architect, Louis Hay, the King George Hall has been an important part of the Bay View community since 1911. It has recently been renovated and painted and Napier City Coincil have commissioned her to write its history.

In her travels she noticed that Hastings have a coronation fountain and monument as a tribute to King Henry in Cornwall Park. Mayor Viggor Brown had a Coronation Hall built in Napier.

Judy Commented on how she is still finding information on James Walter Chapman Taylor.
She showed us 3 painting she had found Turama, Tauroa, and Frederick House he built for his parents all watercolours.

The Womens Rest

The history really started back in 1885 when members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union movement who were recruited to come out to Nz Australia and help women and families.

by the end of 1885 there were 15 branches established in New Zealand including one in Napier.
The WCTU was organized by women who were concerned about the the destructive power of alcohol and the problems it was causing their families and society.
They met in churches to pray and then marched to the saloons to ask the owners to close their establishments. These activities are often referred to as the "Women's Crusades" and their success was both the forerunner and impetus for the founding of the WCTU.
The most famous member and second president of the WCTU was Frances E. Willard who served from 1879 until her death in 1898.

One of the most famous WCTU members was Mrs Lovell-Smith the wife of Hastings photographer Herbert Lovell-Smith who was instrumental in getting the Hastings Branch of WCTU up and running in 1903. The white Ribbon "For God Home and Humanity" was worn by all members. By 1904 Napier Branch had large membership and funds they built the "Willard Institute Building for the WCTU named after teh founder in America.

Ruth Lovell-Smith moved to Hastings in 1918 was always pushing Council to build a "Womens Rest". Not taking no for an answer she set about opening a "Mothers Rest" in Heretaunga Street to prove to Council that Hastings need one. It was so popular and drew the attention o the media. Ruth then got Council on her side and things started to happen. The Garnett Family agreed to sell their timber yard to make way for roading and a "Women's Rest" Mrs garnett said she would give back 750 pound to Council when the Women's rest was built.

Sir George Ebbett who was the incoming mayor continued with the project clearing land and finally laid the first stone of the Women's Rest on the 23rd March 1921.

Plunket were also keen to see a Women's rest established and were also backing the movement

lead by Ruth Lovel-Smith. The Plunket have been part of the Women's right from when it opened.

The Hastings Municipal Women's Rest, built in 1921, is likely the first example of a women's rest built exclusively and separately for this purpose in New Zealand. Funded largely by private contributions and administered and constructed by the Hastings Borough Council this rest took over from an earlier rest room in the area that had been furnished and administered by the Hastings branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.The building is a very good example of the Californian bungalow style of architecture, a domestic building normally associated with residential dwellings. The building exhibits many of the distinguishing features of the style and remains in remarkably authentic condition after 85 years in the same use. The building also demonstrates what Cooper et al refer to as a shift from 'public lavatories' to the elaborate buildings of 'rest rooms' designed to accommodate mothers and workingwomen. Located in the central business district in the city's civic square, the Hastings Municipal Women's Rest provided a centrally located rest room space for women and access to other facilities, such as the Hastings branch of the Plunket Society. From the beginning, the rest room facilities were widely used by women from out of town, women who worked in Hastings, and mothers who were visiting Plunket. Since 2003, the building has also been used as a base for the Heretaunga Women's Centre. It continues to be used as a space for women today. As an early example of a women's rest room and most likely the first women's rest built exclusively and separately for this purpose the Hastings Municipal Women's Rest merits Category I registration. The history of the Hastings Municipal Women's Rest assists in showing not only the struggle of women to obtain these services in their community and the evolving provision of these services by volunteers and borough councils, but also touches on the work of organisations of high significance to women at this time such as the WCTU and Plunket. The integrity of the building and its aesthetically pleasing surroundings assist in the telling of this story. The Hastings Municipal Women's Rest is also socially significant within the Hastings region as it has been patronised both by local residents and visitors from the country for over 85 years.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Judy Siers - Researching HB History and the Women's Rest

Judy Siers will talk on researching Hawke's Bay history, with special mention of the Hastings Women's Rest building.
Tuesday 10th August 2010
Hastings Central Library