Replica façade of old Feilding shops greets visitors to Coach House Museum
A project to enhance the entrance to the Coach House Museum with a replica façade of two early Feilding businesses is now a reality. 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 from this 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. 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.
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.