Friday, 25 December 2015

The Spring Street Ladies’ Rest Room

Corner of Willow and Spring Streets, c.1940s
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-807
The Women’s Representative Committee had agitated for a rest room for a number of years without success: there was difficulty in agreeing on a site. It was not until 1936 that the committee obtained a loan of £593 from the Borough Council so that building could commence. Work began on the rest room in Spring Street on 1 June 1937, the Foresters’ Hall having been shifted to allow for construction.

Post Office, corner of Grey and Spring Streets, c.1940
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-1287
Harry Leslie Daniel West (c.1887-1937) was the Borough Architect at the time. He started in partnership with his father in Timaru, but moved to Opotiki in about 1914, to Whakatane in 1921, and finally to Tauranga in about 1934, just three years before his death. Many of his buildings in the Bay of Plenty still stand; sadly the Ladies’ Rest Room is not among the survivors.

The rest room kept a visitors’ book, now in the archives of Tauranga Library. If this book is to be believed, the Rest Room had some famous visitors. Miss G. Garbo, of Hollywood, pronounced it “stunning”, and Miss D. Durbin was similarly impressed.

Note: Stephanie Smith has been unable to locate a photograph of the Ladies' Rest Room itself and would be delighted to hear from any readers who know of one.

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