By properly and logically establishing the signiﬁcance of a historic port, plans can be laid that enhance and build on that signiﬁcance and that incorporate difﬁcult heritage buildings and structures.
–Simon Thurley, English Heritage
Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust registered the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area on 4 April 2008 (List No. 7767). The historic area takes in properties at 25, 31-33 Thomas Burns Street, Birch Street, Fryatt Street, Fish Street, Willis Street, Cresswell Street, Tewsley Street, Wharf Street, Roberts Street and Mason Street.
The Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area is made up of the core of the port operations and associated businesses surrounding the steamer basin at the Upper Harbour in Dunedin which had developed by the first decades of the twentieth century. It includes a major portion of the land in Rattray, Willis and Cresswell Streets which was reclaimed by the end of the nineteenth century. It also includes the Fryatt Street and Cross Wharves, including the wharf sheds on Fryatt Street Wharf, as well as the former Otago Harbour Board Administration Building at the Junction of Birch Street and Cross Wharves, the former British Sailors’ Society Seafarers’ Centre, and the former Briscoe’s Wharf Store and Works on the corner of Birch, Wharf and Roberts Streets [since lost to fire], and the walls and bridge abutment on Roberts Street which are the remnants of the bridge which linked that Street to the city.
█ Read Registration report here.
Dunedin City Council has refused to list the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area in the District Plan.
### ODT Online Sat, 15 Mar 2014
‘Potential new harbourside developments ‘exciting’
By Chris Morris
Excitement is growing about the potential for fresh development of Dunedin’s harbourside, including a new marine science institute featuring a public aquarium being considered by the University of Otago. The Otago Daily Times understands university staff have already held preliminary talks with Dunedin City Council staff about a possible new marine science institute in the harbourside zone, on the south side of steamer basin. The Otago Regional Council has also met Betterways Advisory Ltd, which wants to build a waterfront hotel in the city, to discuss the ORC’s vacant waterfront site, it has been confirmed.
Historic ports are places that need intelligent interrogation before we start to reinvent them for the future: understanding their heritage signiﬁcance is the ﬁrst step.
On the waterfront: culture, heritage and regeneration of port cities
HERITAGE IN REGENERATION: INSPIRATION OR IRRELEVANCE?
By Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage
I had better come clean at the start. I live in a port. As it happens, it is a port which was, in its time, and on a different scale, as successful as Liverpool was in its heyday. But that time is rather a long time ago now, in fact over four hundred years. In 1600 my home town of King’s Lynn was amongst Britain’s leading ports, bigger than Bristol in numbers of ships and with trading tentacles reaching into the Baltic and far into the Mediterranean. Lynn’s position as a port was destroyed by the railways and although it still has working docks today the tonnage that passes through is very small. Yet anyone visiting it can instantly see that this was once a port; the customs house, the old quays, the merchants houses, the big market places and the ﬁshermen’s houses all add immeasurably to Lynn’s sense of place.
We not only ask developers to build new structures that respect the old, but we also require them to incorporate old ones that have value.
It is this sense of place, this character, that we at English Heritage will always say that needs to be understood. For us the ﬁrst and most important thing is that any developer and the relevant local authority should have a full understanding of the place in which major change is are planned. Various tools have been invented over the years to try and help that process. These include characterisation, historical studies, view studies, urban analysis and more. But does this actually make any difference? What happens to the richly illustrated historical reports produced by consultants? Are they handed to architects who then use them as their bible? Are they taken up by the planners and turned into supplementary planning guidance? Or do they just get put on a shelf?
There can be a broad consensus about what constitutes successful development that preserves aesthetic values. The trick for planning authorities is ﬁnding a way to capture it.
The answer is that normally it just gets forgotten because for most developers and many local authorities heritage is just a hindrance. If a report on heritage is commissioned they will have ticked off a process that they need to say they have done, but once completed it can be set aside and everyone can get on with the business of making money. Ipswich is an example of this. Like many ports, it has refocused its commercial hub away from the historic centre leaving a lot of land in the historic trading heart for regeneration. The city decided to prepare what it called an Area Action Plan for the redevelopment of the historic port. This included some work on the history, archaeology and development of the area: all very useful. The process was then to take this forward to create a series of planning briefs and master plans to inform individual developments. This would reinforce general points in the action plan about storey heights, vistas and through routes as well as issues about historic character. Regrettably, this latter part was not done and what Ipswich got was lots of poorly designed high-rise ﬂats built on a budget. And they got it with the heritage studies still sitting on a shelf.
Liverpool World Heritage Site
Liverpool was inscribed as a World Heritage Site as the supreme example of a maritime city and its docks are testimony to that claim. Jesse Hartley’s Albert Dock, opened in 1845, is the finest example of a nineteenth century wet dock in the world while the nearby Canning Graving Docks and Waterloo and Wapping Warehouses are also of note. North of Pier Head with its magnificent ‘Three Graces’, Stanley Dock, Victoria Clock Tower and Salisbury Dock lie derelict, awaiting re-use. Link
█ For more, enter the terms *loan and mercantile* or *harbourside* in the search box at right.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr