I happened upon a 1967 photo of the National Bank building in Wainuiomata and was delighted to discover that the Google Street View image from 2009 is taken from pretty much the same angle. Let’s compare and contrast life at 15 Queen Street, Wainuiomata:
Spot the difference
1. The entrance has been moved. Instead of a bold corner opening, the door has been shuffled around the corner. I suspect the move happened to make the bank accessible for oldies, people with disabilities and parents with prams – none of which would have been a huge concern for a bank in the 1960s. I’ve seen Mad Men. I know how things were.
2. But all the young mums, seniors and disabled shoppers could have got inside Diana’s Coffee Lounge, which appears to have previously taken up two-fifths of the building before being kicked out to make the new street-level entrance. It looks like a proper old fashioned coffee lounge, complete with net curtains to give the diner a bit of privacy. I mean, you don’t want people to look at you when you’re trying to enjoy your ham sandwich and filter coffee. I bet it also had racks to slide your tray along and those flip compartments with the sandwiches in them.
3. The “National Bank” sign on the building is gone. This was probably removed at some point because it didn’t fit with the current branding of the bank. But if you look at the bank’s name on the awning signs, written in a jaunty script, that didn’t match the name on the building either. It was just a building name – an appropriate building name. But if the National Bank hadn’t removed it, the ANZ would have been up there with a crowbar soon enough.
4. In 1967 the bank was on the corner of a gravelly street with nothing much happening. Today the bank is on the corner of a pedestrian street that’s part of the Wainuiomata Shopping Centre and slightly more is happening. Whereas the original shops were an emulation of an ordinary high street, eventually the call of the mall was heard and the next expansion was a great big enclosed mall. It has a ‘W’ shaped awning because it is in Wainuiomata.
5. Next door is Eddy and Gray Furnishings Ltd, no doubt providing giant brown furniture for the postwar young families making Wainuiomata their home. It’s now gone but the name lives on as Eddy’s On Queen Street Bar and Cafe. Well, that’s a substitute for Diana’s Coffee Lounge. I bet they do a good nachos.