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One of our most flourishing local industries is Messrs Baker and Brown’s coach factory in Havelock street This now extensive concern affords yet another instance of what can be accomplished by business tact and enterprise. In the month of June, 1877, Messrs Baker and Brown purchased a coach-builder’s business of a man who had endeavored unsuccessfully to establish himself in the place. The premises consisted of a small wooden shanty at the rear of the present factory. Here the new firm commenced business as coach-builders and repairers. At that time the repairing was the principal work done, and the two partners were fully able to do all that was required without employing any assistance at all. For a long time it was uphill work for the new firm; but they never lost confidence in the place, or doubted that it must become one of considerable importance, and the result of their foresight and ability, let us add, is that they are now thoroughly well established, their premises cover half an acre of ground, they keep ten hands constantly employed, and turn out on an average five new vehicles monthly, besides doing an enormous amount of repairing, etc. And now let us take a glance at the new premises, which

stand on the site of those destroyed by fire six months ago. The principal building is two-storied, and has a frontage of 40ft to the road. It is built of substantial red brick, and the quantity of glass employed gives the warehouse or show-room ‘ on the ground floor a very light .and pleasant appearance, while a neat ; verandah in front of the building, covered with thin sheets of corrugated iron, protects the show-room from the glare of the sun, and keeps it cool and shady. The latter room is 40 x and is filled with an assortment of wellfinished buggies, dog-carts, and other vehicles. At the rear of the showroom is the body-making department, 40 x 10, where a number of traps wer£ in course of manufacture at the time of our visit. A rather steep stairway, leading from the show-room, communicates with the upper floor, used as a painting and trimming shop. At the rear of this room is a large sliding door, and from either side of its sill two stout beams run slanting to the ground, forming a tramway, up which the buggy, on emerging from the body shop below, is drawn to undergo the painting varnishing and trimming processes. This arrangement, in fact, admits of vehicles being drawn up or lowered down with equal facility. The new factory was designed and erected by the firm without the assistance of either professional architect or contractor, and they have certainly succeeded ; in building for themselves premises 1 which answer all their requirements: At the rear of the main building is a large shed, devoted to the smithy and certain other branches of the trade; But we understand that it is "in contemplation to shorllyerect a much larger building in place of this shed, which will include the body-making department The latter will thus be removed from the main factory, and the space acquired by the change thrown; into the show-room which will then be 40 x 20. The yard is occupied by a numof vehicles, more or less damaged arid . dilapidated, awaiting their turn ‘.to undergo repair. The firm’s goods are now very well-known, orders being received by them from all parts of the colony. As a proof of the excellence of the articles turned out, we may mention that at the Christchurch Agricultural Show of 1877, they secured a first-class certificate (no medals were awarded at the Show), and took three first-class silver medals at the Ashburton Agricultural Show, in 1880, ons ■ being awarded for a single.seated buggy, another for a town cart, and the third for a Whitechapel cart, English pattern. At the Ashburton Industrial Exhibition held in March last, the . firm Wa& awarded a certificate of merit for their double-seated buggy. The firm have been large exhibitors at the various Agricultural Shows, and. have always carried off honors. They were prevented from entering at the last Agri- . cultural and Pastoral Show held in Ashburton, in consequence of the fire which broke out at their premises, but a short time previously, and which upset all their arrangements. The Whitechapel carts manufactured in Havelock street are a speciality of the firm's, who are the only makers of the article in the colony. These vehicles are built of cedar and English white ash, and are exceedingly light and elegant in appearance. Considering the quality and the workmanship displayed in them, the

excellence of their finish, and the price at which they are sold, we are not surprised to learn that there is a large and increasing demand for them. We may mention that Mr Charles Brown is about to sever his connection with ■ the firm, having determined to re-visit England. The factory will henceforth be in the hands of Mr J. W, Baker, who will retain the name of the old firm, and conduct the business on the .old principles.

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Bibliographic details

MESSES BAKER AND BROWN'S COACH FACTORY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 529, 9 January 1882

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MESSES BAKER AND BROWN'S COACH FACTORY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 529, 9 January 1882

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