'Charming nutter' saves Shands Emporium

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 25/12/2013
Shand's Emporium
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

RELOCATION: Heritage-listed Shand's Emporium will have a new home in Redcliffs.

Peter Croftf
Howard Keene
PETER CROFT: "A charming fellow" and heritage lover.

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One of Christchurch's oldest commercial buildings looks set to find a new home in Redcliffs.

Peter Croft, a 67-year-old Redcliffs man, will spend the best part of one year and up to $250,000 restoring Shands Emporium.

Canterbury rich-lister Antony Gough has been on the hunt for a new home for his beloved Shands for more than a year.

The Hereford St property - built in 1860 - has recently been moved to the back of its existing site to protect it from excavation works on Gough's neighbouring $140 million Oxford Tce development.

The flamboyant developer has spent about $70,000 weather proofing and straightening the building since the earthquakes and would also foot the bill for its relocation.

"It really doesn't make financial sense but that's not the point . . . I wanted to see it go to a good home and Peter was the only person who ticked all the boxes."

Gough said he wanted to gift the building to a heritage lover who had the passion, time, and the money, to restore it.

"Peter is a charming fellow and totally nutty . . . it's perfect."

Shands Emporium would not be the first heritage building Croft had taken under his wing.

In the late 1990s Croft restored what is believed to be the second oldest commercial building in Christchurch, known as Mother Hubbard's or The Red House.

It was relocated from Armagh St to Main Rd, Redcliffs where it now houses an interior design firm.

Croft hoped Shands Emporium could find a home either next to Mother Hubbard's or over the road from it.

"There's something appealing about little old wooden buildings and I think they would look very complimentary close to each other."

However, where Shands ended up would be dependent on the outcome of the Christchurch City Council's master plan for Redcliffs and "council cooperation", he said.

He hoped car parking would not be reduced in the area else there would be "no point" of relocating Shands to the main drag of Redcliffs.

Croft used to own the Redcliffs pharmacy and said he had long been concerned with the welfare of heritage buildings in Christchurch.

When asked how he would fund this venture he said: "I've worked hard all my life and I've saved hard too."

The relocation is expected to happen in February or March next year.

Meanwhile, archaeologists from Christchurch firm Underground Overground Archaeology examined the Shands site last week but discovered only two wooden posts and the remains of a drain.

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- The Press

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