Good Plaques

Pieces of History

Much of the recycled material used in the building process dates back to the beginning of European settlement in Canterbury. Like an episode of antiques roadshow, Martin and Lisa scoured the cityscape and countryside for buried treasure and aging homestead alike. In some cases, these starry-eyed quests yielded significant structural pieces and, in others, maybe a doorknob. This arduous process was a small price to pay relative to the satisfaction derived from preserving and showcasing the fine craftsmanship from days gone by. Have a look through The Laboratories finest elements, immortilised by plaques throughout the building.

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Floorboards
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Floorboards

A Christchurch icon for well over a century, Lane Walker Rudkin was the clothier of choice for generations of Cantabrians. These narrow Rimu floorboards would have been quite “en vogue” during the early 20th century, and came into the possession of The Laboratory after the woeful and scandalous collapse of LWR in 2009. Fortunately, the floorboards bear no trace of the misdeeds perpetrated by their former CEO. 

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Bricks
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Bricks

In the blue collar beginning days of Canterbury, there were a number of brickworks that called the garden city and surroundings home.  Among these moulders of clay and earth were individuals with immortal Canterbury names, such as Deans and Wigram. These pioneers individually pressed and stamped their bricks, meaning each brick would carry its creator’s distinctive style and signature. Have a look around the courtyard fireplace at some of these genuine pieces of Canterbury history. These particular bricks, around 17,000 in all, come from the paved areas of the old Addington Saleyards, adjacent to South Hagley Park. As they were pulled up from the ground, they are free of the lime cement staining that usually marks recycled bricks. As a result, they look like they’ve been living down by the Liffey since the days of James Edward FitzGerald, himself! 

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Trusses
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Trusses

The Laboratory’s wooden trusses have thus far enjoyed a historic career in the brewing industry, and are only getting started.  In their past life, they held the operation together, literally, at Wards Brewery on the corner of Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. Word has it that the demolition crew laid these vintage Oregon Pine trusses aside post-earthquake, not able to bear the thought of burying such quality workmanship in a landfill. Much to the satisfaction of all involved, the architect of The Laboratory spotted them in 2011 and made them a centrepiece of The Laboratory’s design. They were installed in July 2014 and anchored by steel supports, which are now covered in brick on either side of the dining area. In acknowledgement of Christchurch’s first brewery, we are very fortunate to have these distinguished Trusses on board as supervisors in our craft beer laboratory!

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Corrugated Iron

Why go to Resene and shell out a fortune for a weathered effect, when Mother Nature will do it for you? In fact, if the outside of our kitchen looks like an old rugged farm shed, you are not far off the mark. We sourced this corrugated iron cladding from The Pump House salvage yard in Linwood, after it was recovered from an area farm. In the days before galvanisation, the original farmer dipped the cladding in tar to keep out the Canterbury rains. With the addition of our fully-regulation waterproof interior membranes, this piece can now focus on keeping the smiles wide and the glasses full!

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Weatherboard

A century’s worth of sunny afternoons and sideways gales have etched themselves into this vintage rimu timber.  You can imagine the satisfied, if maybe a little skeptical, smile of the Rakaia farmer upon hearing that his Grandfather’s weatherboard was destined for a new life in Lincoln. Luckily for us, with the help of the good people of Silvan Salvage, these boards said goodbye to giant salmon and hello to barley and hops. 

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Toilet Doors

Long a canvas for poetry and sordid revelations, the toilet doors have been honourably discharged from duty at the swimming pool changing rooms of St. Martin’s Primary School. All attempts have been made to rub off swear words with pencil. Former aspiring writers from there should see The Laboratory staff, for assistance with alleviating sorrows.

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Brewery Doors

In the 19th century heyday of Christchurch’s textile industry, these doors would have opened and closed like the beat of a heart to allow for the passage of goods and materials. This tradition continued when the Twisted Hop Real Ale Brewpub opened in Poplar Lane. After a full year of post-earthquake uncertainty, CERA allowed us access to the red zoned site to retrieve infrastructure and equipment from the soon-to-be demolished building.
Now the fate of these sturdy gateways to the world has come full circle, as they take their rightful place in the new brewery.  As a reminder of a former life, the liquor licence from the old Poplar Lane location still hangs for brewery staff’s inspiration. 

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Telephone Box Doors

As steeped as the new brewery is in Canterbury lore, these ‘telephone box’ doors are a firm nod to The Laboratory’s British roots. Flaunting the “currant red” colour and finely paned windows of the traditional British telephone box, these doors are to serve as a portal between the bar and the courtyard spaces. They were salvaged from a Christchurch school, and are also notable for their uneven dimensions and wheelchair accessibility.

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Bi-fold School Doors
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Bi-fold School Doors

Imagine 3 p.m. on a warm spring day. The school bell rings and these doors swing wide open onto the veranda, dousing you in sunlight and warmth. Summer is almost here!  For thousands of Hallswell Primary School students, these doors signified just that. They are of classic 1950s style, with long, wide openings, and flatly folding doors. You might say the doors have advanced into a science degree now, as they are to open into The Laboratory’s ‘classroom’ space for beer education and other assorted gatherings.

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Staircase
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Staircase

If we only knew of the sensational tales that this staircase has heard! After a fair bit of detective work, it has been discovered that this staircase is from the old boarding house at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. This beautiful piece of wood craftsmanship left such an impression on us that we designed the rest of the building around it!

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Sarking

It is 1915. Massey is Prime Minister, and the world is at war. Meanwhile, in the cosy Christchurch suburb of Papanui, residents are keeping calm and carrying on with the devout work of building a bible school for their children. Nearly a century later, the Canterbury earthquakes get the best of this revered building, leaving this noble Rimu sarking without a home. Always eager to oblige, we were happy to incorporate such pedigreed material into our own modern chapel, of sorts. 

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Bar Counter
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Bar Counter

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you a certifiable Hororata icon. No, it’s not a pie recipe. This horseshoe shaped bar, displaced in the September 2010 quake, was the star of the show at the old Hororata Hotel. The identity of its original craftsman remains one of the great mysteries of modern man, despite all attempts made by The Laboratory’s proprietors! You can imagine the excitement when this item came into the fold in a 2011 auction. This feeling was followed closely by the realisation that it needed to be disassembled and cleared within 48 hours. (A few pints were shared after that mad dash of a weekend.) The industrial engineers among us might raise an eyebrow at the old horse shoe design, but we like to think that more than a few yarns will be spun from across that bar. Next time you find yourself weaving a tale about the bad old days, rest easy knowing that your drink is proudly standing on a true piece of Canterbury history.

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Bead Shop Doors
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Bead Shop Doors

Our dark Rimu doors to the library green are as mysterious as they are grand. Rumour and speculation trace the origin of these doors to what used to be ‘The Bead Shop’ on Manchester St. This particular building was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake. Regardless of where they used to call home, these doors have certainly survived in remarkable condition, from the bevelled glass to the lustrous varnish. Perhaps you have an idea where these exceptional wooden doors once lived?

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Pressed Tin Ceiling
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Pressed Tin Ceiling

As another indication of the changing times, most pressed tin ceiling is now manufactured in bulk with stock-standard patterns and finish. Determined to locate tin ceiling of the old, more expressive, style, Martin and Lisa searched in vain for years. In a tremendous stroke of solidarity, GT and Debs at Silvan Salvage were kind enough to part with some personal stock from their lifetime’s collection to make this dream come true. To state this gesture another way, these ceilings went generously from one family’s personal “When I build my dream home..” collection to another’s “When I build my dream brewery…” reality. Please raise your glass, accordingly. 

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Windows
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Windows

Liz, at Musgroves Salvage, was kind enough to keep an eye out for anything that might be of interest to The Laboratory. Without a doubt, she was not mistaken when it came to these Double Hung Sash windows. Interestingly, the windows are all of slightly different dimensions, but manage to integrate themselves seamlessly into the flow of the building. You might say that epitomises The Laboratory’s general philosophy, in a way!