Hop Kiln Building

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From Bob Masters, April 2013 –

The hop kiln was built in the 1880s for drying the hops grown on Havelock Rd beside the Riverslea Drain. It was built by Hastings pioneer Thomas Tanner, who had planted the hop garden. In 1884 he bought Frederick Masters out from the village of Appledore in Kent to manage the hop garden and kiln business.

Mr Tanner later sold the business to Frederick Masters who grew hops until the end of the Boer War in 1903 when his son, Sydney, came home from the war.

The hops were pulled out and replaced with fruit trees and the Masters family became fruitgrowers. The disused hop-business buildings were later sold to the Anglican Church, who used them for services and Sunday School.

The distinctive brick kilns at each end of the building were destroyed by the Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931. Bricks from the kiln are now a garden wall at the Gordon family’s Clifton Station homestead.

The building stood for another 21 years until 1952 when it was destroyed by a fire believed to have been caused by faulty electric wiring.

The Anglican Church built a new church called St Barnabas, which was used for services and Sunday School. In 1965 St Barnabas was moved to Ada St and St Peter’s.

The land where the hop kilns were in what was then known as Selwyn Rd and is now Windsor Ave, and now has flats built on it.

People in the photo are: Fred Masters on landing at left, Sydney Masters centre top, Frederick Masters right landing, Robert and Emily Masters on ground

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