Day 89: St Kevin’s Arcade, Auckland, Aotearoa NZ
Today was our first day exploring K Road, the site of my latest Augmented Reality project: Finding the Ghosts of K Road. We met up with K Road historian, Edward Bennett, who has generously shared with us much of the local history of this part of Auckland.
We had coffee at Alleluya, a wonderful coffee shop in St Kevin’s Arcade. St Kevin’s is a lovely 1920s arcade with many of the original shop fronts, complete with lead lighting windows, which feature lots of fab recycled fashion and secondhand goodies.
St Kevin’s was originally the site of a mansion which was the home of Lawrence David Nathan. Here is some of the history of the original site as documented on the K Road website:
In 1845 the merchant David Nathan built a house for himself on the Karangahape ridge with a view of the fledgling town of Auckland (which at that time extended no further than about Victoria Street)…In 1916 the Nathan family gave a 20ft right of way along the eastern boundary of their St.Kevens property to serve as the entrance to Myers Park from Karangahape Road.
The Nathans were possibly already contemplating moving from their house, as indeed they did around 1918. Their house, St Kevens, was demolished around 1922 and as a result of their gift part of the site was redeveloped as St Kevin’s Arcade in 1924.
St Kevens certainly was an impressive building and the image of the dining room shows the elegant life that the Nathan family had in this house.
It is really exciting to be finally discovering these places in the flash, rather than through old photographs and Google Street View. After our coffee, Edward took us for a walk around some of the places that are explored in Finding the ghosts of K Road. I feel like I have only just scraped the surface of this fascinating place in my project and hope to learn more over the coming days.