Sunday, May 20, 2012

A postcard from Auckland Girls Grammar


Came upon this postcard the other day -- showing the rear (north facing) side of the 1909 main building at Auckland Girl's Grammar, Howe Street in Ponsonby.


Judging by the King Edward VII stamp, and what can be seen of the postmark, I'd estimate the card to date from c.1910.




Katie, the writer, was in the thick of exams at the time.

Auckland Girls' Grammar School, Howe Street, Auckland, ca 1909 Reference Number: 1/1-002925-G. Exterior view of Auckland Girls' Grammar School, Howe Street, Auckland city, circa 1909. Auckland Star photograph. Alexander Turnbull Library.

The first Auckland Girls’ High School in Auckland began in January 1877, but it was always seen as merely a temporary measure by the Auckland Education Board. In 1886 the Government gave the Education Board the land in Howe Street where the current school is located, along with the then-ramshackle former immigration barracks there. The school however had no land endowments to maintain it, so in 1888 it was closed and amalgamated with the boys’ Grammar School in Symonds Street.

In 1906, plans were made by the Education Board to separate the girls’ school from the boys’ grammar school. Plans were drawn up, designed by architects Goldsbro’ & Wade, and W A Cumming. The foundation stone for the new school at Howe Street was laid by the Hon. George Fowlds, Minister of Education, in December 1907. The project was described at the time as the building of “the most commodious and best-equipped school of the kind in the Dominion.”

Work proceeded over 1908-1909; the school was finally opened in February 1909, and formally opened in April that year. The builder was John Davis. According to Heather Northey in her book on the school’s history, Auckland Girls Grammar School the First Hundred Years 1888-1988, “The move to new, roomy premises came just in time, and the girls revelled in their bright and spacious classrooms after the cramped, cold conditions at St. Paul’s. The red brick building was an imposing sight, even though it was still surrounded by mud and clay. Perhaps most impressive of all was the School Hall, a lofty, beautiful place, large enough to hold the entire School.” 


Auckland Girls' Grammar School, Howe Street, Auckland, [ca 1916-1920] Reference Number: 1/2-001195-G. View of the school and established grounds. Shows an ivy-covered front facade and entranceway. 
Photograph taken by William A Price ca 1916-1920. Alexander Turnbull Library.

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