Museum’s long search for a home

Hopes for new premises for the Bedplate Press Printing Museum on Wellington’s waterfront have been dashed with the decision to allow the Herd Street Post and Telegraph building to be turned into apartments and offices.

The museum had hoped the Wellington City Council-owned Wellington Waterfront Ltd would allow it to set up within the Art Deco heritage building, but the company has just sold the development rights along with a 125-year lease to Saint James Group.

A proposal to establish part of the building as the Herd Street Art Centre, along with two other societies, was put to the council’s waterfront committee in 2001.

The museum’s president, Bill Nairn, says that while they are very disappointed at the decision, there is still a possibility a home may be found somewhere on Wellington’s Massey University campus.

He says the university is still looking at the possibility of giving the museum space in association with its school of art and design in the former national museum building. It read of its plight in New Zealand Printer magazine’s August issue last year.

“We are still looking at that option and while progress is slow, we’re hoping Massey will find us some space,” he says.

In the meantime, the museum continues to be housed at the Silverstream Christian Centre in Reynolds Nach Drive, Upper Hutt City and will hold an open day on June 22, during Heritage month.

The museum has a collection of printing memorabilia including the restored hand-operated press used by Blundell & Co to print Wellington’s first issue of The Post which became The Evening Post.

The 1852 Albion is the museum’s oldest exhibit and the biggest is the 1919 Cossar flatbed reel-fed press used until 1993 to print The Northland Age in Kaitaia – weighing in at 17 tonnes.

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