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Hoffman Oblong Continuous Kiln (c.1904) (5) | by PhilBee NZ (social historian)
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Hoffman Oblong Continuous Kiln (c.1904) (5)

615 Featherston Street, Palmerston North.

 

(06 October 2014) After a heavy storm, the kiln building roof collapsed.

 

The Hoffman Kiln (built in 1904) was used until 1959 and is a fine example of industrial architecture. The structure known as the Hoffman Oblong Continous Kiln, is a rare and late example of a 'Belgian'-type Hoffman Kiln designed by W Secombe of England.

It is one of few left in NZ and the only one still in the North Island. It is registered as category 1 under the Historic Places Act 1993.

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The site comprises the kiln itself – a large two storey building (40m x 10m) consisting of a red brick foundation and matching corrugated iron building structure and roof.

There is the former brick and pipes showroom office on the Featherston Street frontage, the northern wall of which has been removed and patched with corrugated iron.

Other building remnants on-site include a substantial concrete 'Brick and Pipes' sign, which was removed off the former showroom building after a fire.

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Mr R D Edwards originally operated the kiln until Brick and Pipes Ltd., formed in 1919, took it over. That company amalgamated with Mr W Mouldey and Trevor Bros.in 1929.

The kiln site was used for manufacturing bricks and ceramic tiles between 1904 and 1977, and later for an asphalt operation between 1971 and 1977.

Many of the buildings in The Square were constructed with bricks manufactured by the Kiln. Brick making was the predominant activity until the late 1950s, when the manufacturing of pipe and tiles increased. These products were all produced from clay, obtained from the adjoining pit, and fired on-site. The pit property is now developed as a unique community park called Edwards Pit Park, after the entrepreneur and brick maker, Robert Edwards.

In 1983, Brick and Pipes Ltd ceased trading.

Heritage NZ 's website has a good description of how this kiln operated: [www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/194].

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In 2012, the City Council sought to develop the site, calling for innovative ideas that would sympathetically incorporate the kiln, one of the country's leading historic industrial buildings.

And Heritage NZ had recently approved a $40,000 grant for urgent repairs and strengthening.

But on 06 October 2014, after a heavy storm, the roof of the kiln building collapsed. This puts the preservation of the kiln under a cloud...

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Taken on September 9, 2013