THE NEW FIRMAN’S SERVICE STATION CHANGES OLD NAPIER BRICKWORKS INTO ATTRACTIVE AREA
On Wednesday, May 1st, a project started in 1960 by Firman’s Service Stations Ltd., came to fruition when the company’s new Service Station in Hyderabad Road, Napier, was ofﬁcially declared open by the Mayor of Napier Mr. Peter Tait at a ceremony attended by about 150 loyal customers of long standing.
Situated on the main northern outlet to the city the Service Station is believed to be the largest and most up-to-date of its kind and has been planned to cater for every need of the travelling motorist.
With nearly forty years of mechanical and servicing experience to call on Mr. F. C. Firman, managing director of the company, was fully awake to the inadequacies of the station at Taradale Road where it had become increasingly difﬁcult to keep up with the growth of his company’s clientele.
Just how inadequate it was is graphically illustrated in the photograph below. The new station could handle this large earth moving machine with ease and without interference with the ﬂow of more routine trafﬁc.
Four Lane Access
A feature of the Hyderabad Road Station, which will be of intense interest to the traveller, and the business man to whom time means money, is the manner in which the eight high speed petrol pumps have been sited on the extremely large concrete “apron” to give four lane access. Coupled with the more than adequate staff attending the pumps from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the, week, “Firmans” are obviously endeavouring to “keep up with the times” in catering for their customers as men and women who haven’t got all day to wait for service.
An interview with Mr. W. (Bill) T. Ennor, 78-year-old bricklayer of V 177 Carlyle Street, Napier, revealed that the site of the new service station holds considerable historical interest. He recalled that. the bricks used in the original. St. John’s Cathedral, which was destroyed in the 1931 earthquake, had been supplied, hand made, by the old Dolbel Bros. Brickworks which was built “Long before my time, somewhere around the 1880’s” said Mr. Ennor.
Mr. Ennor is perhaps not so impressed with the modem new building as he might be, for he was one of a small group who fought hard to keep the brickworks going, and it was he who called a meeting when in 1956 the works looked like closing down. He was successful in seeing a group of builders step in and take over, only to be disillusioned by the continued unproﬁtable operations and the eventual closing of the works two years later.
First of Three
The ﬁrst of three brickworks to be built in Napier, and the last to close down, it had in later years turned out over 560,000 bricks a year and was at the time of the earthquake owned by Mr. Charley Morse, the then Mayor of Napier. To men like Mr. Button the tearing down of the old brickworks to make way for our modern high speed way of life will always remain a sad memory, but to the motorist of today who demands speed and efﬁciency of service, it is the acme of progress.
Mr. F. C. Firman is the man responsible for the “face lift” of the area which up to 1960 was the site of the old brickworks and who, as Mr. Peter Tait, Mayor of Napier, said at the ofﬁcial opening, “had taken. a brave step so late in life in building this modern. new building”, has had a long association with Napier and the motoring industry, having joined a Napier garage in 1928.
A large earthmoving machine dwarfs the old Taradale Road. station which had become inadequate for the needs of “Firman‘s growing business.
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