1/2-202743-F, Crown Studios Ltd negatives and prints, Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: Photographer unknown (Crown Studios)
Published in the Capital Times, 7 March 2012
The old underground men’s toilet at the Courtenay Place/Taranaki Street corner has just been demolished. It was the state-of-the-art when it was built in 1910, so perhaps the disappearance is worth noting, even if it has been closed since the 1990s.
Courtenay Place has always been a centre of Wellington drinking and a urinal was certainly required. A file at the City archives includes a 1910 complaint from the publican of the nearby Terminus Hotel that men were using his walls, “making a general convenience of my premises for their personal comfort.” After the introduction of six o’clock closing in 1917, the Council received complaints about “undesirables” congregating there to continue their drinking after the pubs had shut. No doubt there are other disreputable stories to tell, amidst its many years of worthy public service.
This photograph shows it about 1930, modestly draped in foliage. The main photographic interest, though, is in the Black and White Express Company vans buzzing in all directions. The Company was the main taxi and delivery firm in Wellington at the time. Presumably this was a photo opportunity to show off the firm’s brand new fleet.
Permission of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.
Wellingtonians: From the Turnbull Collections contains revised and expanded entries, and some new ones too. This high-quality publication is available for just $29.99. You can pick it up from from good bookshops or get it straight from the publisher, Steele Roberts.