A wall of history

01:11, Jan 03 2014
The Exide Battery sign on the old Watts and Grieve building in Invercargill.

Upon my latest holiday visit to Invercargill, my father pointed out a painted advertisement that has been revealed on the back wall of the H & J Smith building in Esk St as the old Watts and Grieve building is being destroyed.

I found an article on the Stuff website which discussed stories of what it was like working there.

What is not mentioned is the old Exise Battery advertisement which is still visible on the brick wall.

It shows a man and woman looking at a scene with a small sports car of an older period under a tree. 

Intrigued, I researched the advert online and by sheer luck found a copy of it on the top of an invoice from 1935.

It is amazing that the painting has survived at all and is a fascinating insight into that time period. 


Does The Southland Times know if the advertisement is to be preserved?

It may be the only advertisement of its kind to have survived worldwide. 

It's well worth going to have a look.



H & J Smith chief executive John Green replied:

The Exide Battery sign your correspondent refers to has attracted a lot of attention since the demolition on the old Watts & Grieve building and has no doubt brought back a lot of memories for those familiar with the premises and the brands of yesteryear.

A new single story building is planned to replace the old with construction due to start in the new year. 

While the mural will remain untouched, it will be largely obscured by the façade of the new building and remain only visible to visitors to the ICC offices.

Anyone wanting to photograph or view the mural is advised to do so in the coming weeks.