Imagine a time when life was so certain that when you built a building for your business you were confident enough in the future that you put the name of the business into the very fabric of the building.

This is not a time of mergers and takeovers of globalisation and restructure, this is when life was more local and certain.

There are a number of such buildings around and so this blog is an attempt to record some of them and more importantly a bit of the history of the business which by and large are no longer with us.

If you know something about any of these business please add a comment. You can do this without having to sign up for anything and can be anonomous if you prefer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Austin Motors (Otago) Ltd

This is Jervois Street, Dunedin

Remember these ? The Morris Minor made by Austin Motor car.

Not the one in Jervois Street they were just the agent for the British company. Not only did they make their mark on the building but in the pavement as well

The tricky bit is that this sign is on the other side of the road and on the corner. However a look at the greater building on this side of the street reveals this at the other corner and while it doesn't have any brand name it does say Motor Sales and Service.

I suspect this was the showroom building and probably offices, whereas the other building was the actual workshop bit, or alternatively once they were succesful they moved into the larger grand premisis from the humble original building.

Either way Austin Motors was part of Cossens and Black

Cossens and Black Limited were a firm of engineers and iron and brass founders established in Dunedin by Thomas Cossens and Alexander Black in 1874. The firm was incorporated in 1899 and operated in increasingly expanded premises facing Crawford and Jervois streets. It eventually employed over 100 staff. They manufactured and sold farm machinery, drain-pipes, brick-making machinery, windmills, and Howard reapers. Later they built mining plants, dredges and dredge equipment.

In 1916 Cossens and Black entered the retail motor trade by securing the agency for Dodge motor cars. Later they ran Austin Motors (Otago) Ltd. After the Second World War the company imported Austin and other British Motor Corporation cars, Studebakers, and commerical vehicles. John Black (the son of Thomas) retired as managing director in 1969. The motor vehicle assets were sold to the New Zealand Motor Corporation Ltd and the engineering equipment to Fulton Hogan Ltd.
Cossens and Black moved into marine equipment and became chart agents. The company closed in 2003 (from 'Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago and Southland Biography')

When I took these photo's I thought the building was about to be demolished, fortunately it turns out they were just putting on a new roof.

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