Replica façade of old Feilding shops greets visitors to Coach House Museum
A project started three years ago to enhance the entrance to the Coach House Museum with a replica façade of two early Feilding businesses, came to fruition, with its opening last night.
Project Manager Dennis Inkpen said from 100 photos of old Feilding shops the selection came down to one, that would fit the museum entrance wall, and the two doors going into and out of the museum.
A 1909 photo of the M Belfit saddlery and harness maker, and E Feek’s tobacconist and hairdresser on Manchester Street was chosen. A model was built, then started the massive project of scaling up the model to fit the entrance wall.
The problem was where to build it, and yet keep the museum open. That was solved after the two year wait to build a new shed.
Over the past three-four months, between 25-30 volunteers had spent 900 hours in the shed building the façade in four sections – some of which only fitted into the museum with millimetres to spare.
Inside the museum it was joined together, painted, and furnished with wares from yesteryear from the museum’s collections.
While most of the work was done by volunteers, the street scene project was grateful to funds from the Arnold Curtis estate, which has allowed this project and others at the museum come to fruition.
Arnold Curtis (1939-2016), was an artist, model maker, restorer, display designer, friend and supporter of the museum. For many years he was window dresser for Cobbe’s Department store winning a number of national competitions with his displays. He went on to have his own display business and dressed many other windows.
Arnold’s sister Kathleen Moore and other family members, along with grandson Phoenix (four) were on hand top cut the ribbon, opening the museum. She was very proud of the work done, and said her brother would also have been proud of everyone involved.
The façade has used recycled timbers from other local buildings. Display window and entrance door were built from Tanekaha and Kahikatea wood; wood in the display shelves came from an old workroom at Feilding High School; and heart rimu square verandah poles came from Ford Central garage in Kimbolton Road.