|Image from Postcard collection, Bartley Family Archive|
Edward Bartley was at the peak of his career in the late 1890’s and into the first decade of the Twentieth century.
In early 1899 he came to Whangarei where he was engaged for Mr Bentley, whose premises had been one of several destroyed in a catastrophic fire.
|NZHerald 30 Jan 1899|
Edward Bartley was experienced as an insurance assessor as well as an architect. Both the land owner, Mr Mann and Mr Bentley were fully insured. A full clearance was ordered and a new design drawn up for the site in Bank St, next to the BNZ building. In discussion with his client, another fire resistant brick building was decided upon.
Tenders were called within days of the fire.
|Northern Advocate 28 January 1899|
There was keen interest from both Auckland and Northland builders. Building began promptly in March of that year.
|Northern Advocate 25 February 1899|
Bentley was a pharmacist and stationer. The two storey building which opened in September 1899 showed a sophisticated frontage to Bank St. The detailing in Portland cement and plate glass windows were complemented by interior fittings which reflected Bartley’s long experience in designing for retail pharmacies in Queen St, Auckland.
Designing in the Classical idiom for which he was well known, Bartley placed three arches above the verandah line, with fluted columns delineating the outer edges of the facade.
Premises were let to a dental practice on the upper floor,
which were reached by a separate entrance and ornamented stairway from Bank St.
Additional space on the ground floor was occupied by medical practitioners, accessed
through the pharmacy.
In total, the enterprise offered Whangarei residents a
modern, purpose-built medical centre.
|Bank St, image from Postcard collection Bartley Family Archive|